ESSEX-BORN Jay McAllister, aka Beans On Toast, has made a name for himself as a folk singer with a comedic touch. He tells JOELY MCEWAN about his new book and upcoming tour

HIS fans might not want to believe it, but it’s been nine years since Beans On Toast released his debut album Standing On A Chair.

Starting in Brighton, Jay McAllister’s new tour will see him revisit the sprawling, 50-track record as well as read stories from his new book Drunk Folk Stories.

The collection of short stories is unsurprisingly based around the musician’s life on the road, with all the character development and drinking that comes with it. The first chapter in the book, for instance, is about Jay’s first time at the Glastonbury Festival – “which pretty much set me on the course I continue to be on at the moment”.

Elsewhere, he reflects upon his upbringing in suburban Essex in the 90s. The book spawned from Jay telling the stories at shows and the warmth with which they were received by his fans. “I was touring in Germany, on the train for four hours every day, and I needed a project to be getting on with or I’d be watching a lot of crap TV on my laptop,” he says.

This will be the first tour Jay has performed to purely seated audiences, but he says that won’t affect the atmosphere. “I don’t want to say it’ll be calmer or more serious,” he explains, “but it’ll be deeper into the songs perhaps.”

He will be supported by his old friend Boss Caine for the dates, and Jay says he hopes their special bond will be evident at the gigs. “I met Boss on my first ever UK tour when I was playing in York,” he says. “He’s a good drinking buddy and it just seemed appropriate.”

Talking of drinking, Jay has sampled many kinds of ale on his travels but his favourite has become Helles Beer from Germany. Given that Standing On A Chair was released in 2009 it’s a bit premature to be embarking on a 10 year anniversary tour to celebrate the milestone. Before Jay realised that, though, everything had already been planned.

“I just sat up straight in bed once I realised, but I laughed,” he says. “The button had been pushed and we had arranged the tour. When I told everybody most people’s reaction was to laugh.”

Jay speaks highly of Brighton and especially the city’s successful hip-hop artists such as Ocean Wisdom and Jam Baxter. “They’re lyrical wizards who have managed to do hip-hop and keep it angry.”

The singer is hoping that starting the tour in Brighton will herald the star of summer: “I’m sure I’ll go to the beach – get cheeky with some stones and the seagulls.”

Standing On A Chair has songs with unusual names like MDM Amazing and Flower On A Council Estate, and Jay admits that he’s changed a lot since 2009 – in a number of ways.

“I have a song called **** The Smoking Ban because I used to be a heavy smoker and was fully against the ban,” he says. “I couldn’t fathom the idea of people smoking a cigarette in a pub now.”

Beans On Toast

Komedia, Brighton,

May 2, 7.30pm, For tickets and more information visit or call 01273 647100