Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Hatstand Doolally.


I was saddened to learn of the death of Ivor Cutler, legendary Glaswegian eccentric, poet, and entertainer.

I’ve always held the firm opinion that a sizeable proportion of the UK and Ireland, while not strictly sectionable, are certainly not entirely right in the head. I certainly know of several of my own acquaintances who would make interesting psychiatric case studies, and that’s when they’re sober.

I’m not entirely sure why loopiness is so general among our population. It may have something to do with the perpetual drizzle, the idiocy of our politicians, or the lingering depredations of an obsession with class that makes the Hindu caste system seem like a model of good sense and dignity.

I suppose we shouldn’t complain too much. The chances of being stabbed to death by a psycho are thankfully slim, and it is rather entertaining to listen to the queues of gibbering mutterers in the Post Office. In any case, the flipside of eccentric nuttiness is an intense creativity. Spike Milligan may have been a manic depressive who attempted to strangle Harry Secombe, but he was also surreally funny.

Funnily enough, Ivor Cutler and Spike Milligan were both members of the Noise Abatement Society. I’m sure that much of our endemic madness is caused by juvenile twats in Vauxhall Novas driving around with their windows open blaring out shite music on their zillion megawatt speakers. Perhaps if more of us had access to bazookas, and license to obliterate the knobheads, Britain would be a happier and saner place.

Ivor liked to hand out sticky labels to strangers containing the sage advice: ‘Add 15 inches to your stride and save 4.5% of the insects’. That’s sense that is, in a mad kind of way.


Alex M said...

He had a good run, so I suppose we can't complain really, but the world is a slightly sadder place for having lost Ivor Cutler.

Sniffy said...

Never heard of him, but your observations on the eccentricity of the people of the British Isles is interesting.

I don't know why so many of us are quite so odd and I'm not sure whether it's the nature of the people here that is just simply perculiarly accepting of fruitcakes. Do they have fruitcakes in France and Germany? Probably not in Germany, it's not allowed there I don't think.

I think there's always been a refreshing "just ignore them" attitude with the British. So long as people are doing no harm, no matter how bizarre, let them get on with it. It's like what Victoria Wood said: "I took the train. Next to me, there was a drunken Scottish man making a model of the Forth Bridge out of empty lager cans and opposite me, a woman was eating an individual fruit pie by sucking the filling out of the hole on top. I didn't mind her picking her nose; it was putting a bogey on one side to save for later that I had trouble with. A couple were having sex. Nobody said anything. It was only when they lit up a cigarette afterwards that somebody pointed out "Excuse me, but this is a no smoking carriage.'"

garfer said...

Germans don't do eccentricity, apart from lederhosen and genocide.

I've met plenty of eccentrics. There is a fine line between an eccentric and a mentallist.

I like Patrick Moore.

total nerd said...

Tina, that quote from V. Wood made me smile. A perfect description.

There seem to be a lot of eccentric and interesting people in the UK blogsphere as well.

I tend to visit UK, down under and US blogs mostly (in addition to a few Canadian). There is a big difference in culture, humour, language. Its interesting. I enjoy the UK humour the best. Maybe its from all the influence of the Queen and the BBC on us Canadians.

Arabella said...

Oh... Thanks for passing on this news about Ivor Cutler. It would have taken an age to filter through to California. Makes me sad but I remember some great John Peel sessions and gigs. Oh..."gruts for tea.."

Fuckkit said...

Also not sure who he is but Spike Milligan? Fooking genius.

I think at least 50% of the nations nutters live in Oxford.

Gordon said...

Eccentrics are a funny bunch. But not inherently.

Betty said...

He was a bit of a one off, Ivor, like Spike Milligan or Viv Stanshall in their own ways. Not that someone like that would get into the public eye these days. We live in an age of bland, charisma-free celebrities.

I know someone who lived near him. He was a bit of a grumpy bugger apparently. I don't blame him.

becca said...

While thinking of our future offspring, Alex and I always thought it would be a good thing to have an Ivor Cutler day, and listen to his music about the house..."I'm going in a field to lie down"....

Alex M said...

Speaking of Patrick Moore, looks like he's not too well either.

garfer said...

Viv Stanshall was a genius. I think he died by setting fire to himself. It's not wise chainsmoking while quaffing brandy by the bottle. His beard caught light.

First Nations said...

a good nutjob is a terrible thing to lose. anyone have any ideas about who's up next in line to replace these folks?
spike was a demigod among men.