Tina C has been reinventing herself of late.
Born into poverty in Open Throat Holler, Tennessee, the country music singer climbed to stardom with inimitable songs like No Dick’s As Hard As My Life.
Her light-hearted humour has also proven popular at Mardi Gras festivals over the years.
Now the creation of British comic Christopher Green has her sights set on higher duties -“ as she’ll tell audiences at her Manifesto show at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival this week.
The conceit is that Tina is setting out her manifesto for running for US president in 2008, Green explains.
Tina is a political creation and always has been. But in the early days it was more sexual politics.
What’s happened to Tina post-9/11 is that she’s woken up to America’s global position and decided that she has to wake up to her global position. Since 9/11 she’s been travelling the world as an official ambassador for America.
As always, Tina C will treat audiences to a typically upbeat musical repertoire including Suicide Is Painless and If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Weren’t You Dead When I Met You?
But she acknowledges her political role demands a harder edge.
Tina has got a harder edge [now], which may be summed up in the line, -˜They say Islamic jihad. Well gee, we had enough too,’ Green says.
So does Tina support controversial US foreign policies like the invasion of Iraq?
She wouldn’t see herself as being that political. What she is is the embodiment of what Condoleezza Rice is calling -˜soft power’, which is basically cultural power, Green says.
Basically saying [adopting girly Southern accent], -˜I’m nice, I’m pretty, I’m successful, I sing beautiful songs and I look real nice, so what should you hate about America?’
When not on stage as Tina C, Green will perform as the wacky Ida Barr, an ageing bingo host who raps.
I was actually researching in the British Library and heard this old music hall album recorded in the 1960s, which was the real last gasp -“ that was when they were all dying off, Green says.
I heard this woman Ida Barr and I thought, -˜Oh my God, she’s fantastic,’ and I don’t really know why but I decided to resurrect her.
It’s a strange idea to pick a real person, but I’m intrigued by people who are not A-list, not massively, massively famous, and yet still had a really good career and a good life.
There always have been and there certainly are now a lot of really great artists and performers and writers doing really great work but because they’re not celebrities -¦ or they lack that particular gene for self-promotion, they slip below the radar.
Green isn’t bringing Barr or Tina C to Sydney this time round, but local fans can look forward to seeing them soon.
I did a big Christmas show as Tina C in London last year and all I’ll say is that’s what I did last year, so who knows? Green says.
If I don’t come [to Sydney] for Christmas, then I’ll definitely come for Mardi Gras next year.
Tina C’s Manifesto and Bingo With Ida Barr play at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival from 9 June. Book on 131 246 or at www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.