Friday, 8 November 2013


Apologies for the dreadful canned laughter - a noise that turns mild indifference to one's fellow man into murderous loathing. But this short clip is worth it: Spike Milligan and John Bluthal take on Wagner. Apologies also for the brief and intrusive advertising that appears to be tacked on willy-nilly to everything these days.

I saw Milligan live on stage just once - on New Year's Day in a West End theatre. I forget which, but perhaps the Duke of York, and it was in the early 1980s. He was on sensational form, appearing to ad-lib most of the show, which was ramshackle, unrehearsed and mostly brilliant. One routine I remember vividly was about a family waking up in the middle of the night and realising with horror that all the food in their fridge is about to go off ('sell by dates' were a new thing in supermarket packaging). The family is herded by a panicking father to the chilly kitchen and wordlessly bolt down all they can, as fast as they can. The dog has to eat a jelly. All seems to be going well. "Then! On the stroke of midnight!" (and I can hear him say it) "a snot-covered sausage-roll comes leaping out of the fridge and has him . . .  by the throat". He mimed the life-or-death struggle. The band on stage were all helpless with laughter - a reliable confirmation that something is new, and perhaps unique. 

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