Rawlinson End

By Vivian Stanshall

 

A tale of everyday country folk from the extraordinary mind of Vivian Stanshall.

An episodic radio serial that spawned CD's, a film and a book

 

The story so far.

Towered and turreted, feudal and reactionary, the great house of Rawlinson End endures, as does its master Sir Henry Rawlinson. Its chambers and dusty corridors hung with portraits of Rawlinsons and Maynards past now gaze down on many grotesque inhabitants.

The grounds, laid with its womanly lawns, contain a lake and a Great Maze or Pickle designed by Incapability Brown, which has long since overgrown and collapsed upon itself. Those who now enter are never seen again, this included a local vicar brought over to consecrate it. It is now the domain of the last living dinosaur, a diplodocus Sir Henry has named Plunch. There is a family cemetery, the Victory Garden, where Rawlinsons and favoured servants are buried upright to save space and better fertilise the vegetables.

Less than a mile North from the house as the crow flies, longer by road along Gibbet Fork and up the Oxbrake Road, is the village with a newsagents, grocers, and the local hostelry, the Fool and Bladder. The pub stands on the banks of the River Riddle (therefore called the 'Jimmy') , there the locals can enjoy a pint a scrumpy or three. The public house faces Sensible Green, a molehill blighted cricket pitch. Other nearby places includes the hamlet Wankers Grunge, the town of Idlewater, and the dreadful encroaching Concreton.

Just beyond Rawlinson End, on the arterial road to Concreton, is the municipal sewerage works. Sir Henry makes clandestine visits here, finding relief from his chronic lumbago by bathing in its mud pools.

Concreton with its tower blocks and winking lights can be seen in the distance.

Sir Henry says it is the future and it hates us. It seems to get nearer all the time.

Regardless, the launderette has its uses, so does the local tattooist.

 

 

Cast of Characters

Sir Henry Rawlinson Master of the Great House at Rawlinson End, aged, blustering and suffering from chronic lumbago.

From his reminiscences we know of his colonial service in Africa in the thirties, India, Burma, and Indonesia. Burma gave him a taste for curry, and Indonesia some hardwood teeth. Then there was the campaign against Rommel in the Kalahari

In idle moments, gazing into the fire, he likes to relive the bombing of Dresden (February 1945).

Passes his time drinking, shooting, thwarting escapees from his private POW camp, and being important.

   
Great Aunt Florrie Henry's wife, Lord Portly's sister. Aged but still beautiful. Spends her days sipping tea and knitting an interminable beige thing.
   
Hubert Rawlinson Henry's brother, in his mid forties and still strange. As a character he started as Hubert Maynard, variously described as Ralphs brother-in-law and uncle.

He dreams his days away, entertains dinner guests with bird impressions and plays a ukelele. Has a game leg he can unscrew.

His bedroom contains a collection of rotting fruit which leeches into the dining hall below, this leads Henry to wear a souwester indoors.

   

Humbert Rawlinson

Henry's dead brother. A big man, a ladies man, Henry describes him as a satyr. Florries real love.

He was accidentaly killed by Henry in a drunken duck shooting incident. He was making an escape, trouserless, from Seth Onetooth in a boat after a bankside tryst with Rosie Onetooth.

His moleskin trousers now hang like a hunting trophy over tha bar of the Fool and Bladder, while he haunts the Great House because a son of Rawlin cannot be seen dead without trousers.

   
Henry's mother A woman Sir Henry thinks a lot of, and wishes he didn't. She sported a large moustache which made the goodnight kiss of childhood a nightmare experience.

She attended Humberts funeral, now, unknown to Florrie, living in a distant chamber at Rawlinson End and hasn't eaten any of the food for years.

   
Sir Hillary Rawlinson The cheerful old master of the house. Father of Humbert, Henry, and Hubert in that order. He returned from Cairo in 1888.
   
Ralph Rawlinson Dashing young Ralph, pronounced Raif. Sporting, known to play horseback snooker and cricket.
Gerald Rawlinson A loathesome teenager with a squint and acne. He hates everybody. He likes to deface gnomes.
Candice Rawlinson Observes the goings on in the house from her hideaway in the Round Room.
Peregin StJohn Ponsonby Rawlinson His time is mainly spent at the gentlemans London club, the Dorian Gray. He still hasn't done it, but he's been close.
   
Timothy and Laticia Maynard A couple of near children with a prurient interest in vivisection. At that difficult age (wanking).
   
Lord Tarquin Portly of Staines and Lady Philippa Portly of Staines Family attenders at Rawlinson End Eatings. He a lisping chinless wonder, she a wattle necked, turkey legged soak. His money keeps the estate going.
   
Doris and Boris Hazard Card playing partners who lubricate themselves in Rawlinson company. Boris is sometimes referred to as Harold.
   
Mrs Radcliffe A dreadful American woman with gorgonzola legs. Sexually liberated.
   
Old Scrotum The crack throated wrinkled old retainer. Has cared for Henry since he was a child.
   
Mrs E The housekeeper of the great house. A martyr to her aches and pains.
   
Seth and Rosie Onetooth Landlords at the Fool and Bladder. Seth was once the face jumping champion of the village. They also run a business as poultry suppliers using the motto ' Turkey to the Gentry, Poultry to the Lowly'..
   
Reg Smeeton Local newsagent and human encyclopedia.
   
William 'Buller' Bullethead Local spiv
   
Dick Gruffly A local ruffian and cause of the glove tax.
   
Three Waistcoats LeFevre Fool and Bladder drinker.
   
Rodney Bladderknot Fool and Bladder drinker.
   
Doctor Hatringer Fool and Bladder drinker.
   
Nipper Tewkes Can be found bashing the joanna in the Fool. Lost most of his fingers rescuing the horses from a fire in the stables. After physiotherapy his 'nippers' became so strong it was not a good idea to shake his hand.
   
Mr. Stumpy Loosening up after seven pints will play the arrers over his shoulder.
   
Grampus Kipple Local, troubled with flatulence.
   
Ben Quakebuttock The blind old poacher.
   
Teddy Tidy and Nigel Nice A couple of resting theatrical artistes who lodge at the Fool and Bladder and run a mobile house cleaning business called 'Nice and Tidy'. A right couple of pairs.
   
Doctor and Dulcie Headstuffing The doctor reluctantly mans the stomach pump at the festive Eatings at the house and treats the blistered for Sir Henry's Blemish. .
   
Reverend Slodden Clergyman defrocked, ex Broadmoor, excorcist. Has a wooden leg and is thinking of becoming a vegetarian.
   
PC Gibbon The local bobby of West Indian origin.
   
Cumberpatch Snr The old groundsman now buried upright in Victory Garden. Hated wasps, always wore bicycle clips when mowing the lawn.
   
Repentance Pimple Also buried in Victory Garden due to his unusal ability to tup sheep using his remaining three front teeth.
   
Mrs Bladderknot Lives in Wakers Grunge. A cat lover.
   
Mrs Stretch Lives in Wankers Grunge, earned Mrs E's eternal loathing for marrying the late Jack.
   
Mrs Giraffe A male(?) plumber,maintainer of the pipes at Rawlinson End and palaeontologist.
   
Bonzo A Whelkhound who can usually find the lady
   
Plunch A diplodocus with two brains and a squeaky voice
   
Gums The bulldog,now stuffed and mounted on a trolley. He has three pedals to operate his jaws, wag his tail, and cock his leg which empties the bladder. Humbert takes him walkies.

 

 

Aunt Florrie Remembers From Giant Whelks At Rawlinson End Part 21

Recorded 16 October 1975, broadcast 27 October 1975 on John Peel
including Trail of the Lonesome Pine, The Unbridled Suite / In the Final Analysis, Aunt Florrie Remembers (from Giant Whelks at Rawlinson End)


Vivian Stanshall (guitar, euphonium, pipes, dum dum, talking drum, percussion), with Pete Moss (bass, piano, accordion, violin, cello), Mox (harmonica) and

Bubs White (guitar, banjo, ukelele)

The episode includes Sir Henry singing the family song

and Old Scrotum's Darnin' Socks.

 

The story so far.

Sandra still smells and Hubert has been sick. Bengie has tapped his briar out on the back of his neck and Hubert has told him off about this as they are ballooning over Worcestershire. Peregrin is still trying to order on Cathartacles Curry and Kebab House. Ralph is also still in South America sweating out the filthiest swamp fever in a hut so small even the rats are hunchbacked. Gwen and Maureen are now fully professional wrestlers, whilst Great Aunt Florrie lives on and on and on at Rawlinson End remote and aloof as Miss Haversham.

Hearing of the girls magnificent win at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon, in a tag match against two shaven bears underwater she tartly retorted "Oh bottom, my Ralph could play billiards on horseback before he was eleven."

Now read on dot dot dot dot dot.

It was breakfast time and when the Rawlinson family broke a fast you cursed central heating and double-glazing. Aunt Florrie thrust her turkey head from it’s private orifice, which action by dint of practice and Vaseline over the years was not now too difficult. She was overcome by the vapours and withdrew into the room, one nostril clutched to her breast handkerchief. She smoothed the now greying hairs back from her temples and tucked them neatly under her flying buttresses.

Betwixt bites of Oxford marmalade she glanced across at old Sir Henry.

"Thank Clapton" she thought "that John’s early death precluded him from knowing what kind of swine his father really was."

She sighed deeply and her mind strode back some thirty years on sensible brogue feet.

Henry in uniform, the first night of the wonderful Jewish musical Oklahymie.

Then after to dance the night away at the Synagogo, but more, much more than this, they did it Oy Veh.

What foolishness now it seemed to a woman already in the twilight of her autumn. She left Sir Henry chuckling over the obituaries in the Times and slipped away on leopardette slippered feet and drifted into the vast dusty music room where great brown spiders traced their quiet geometric impudence on the chandeliers and crouched. Ignoring this, Florrie wiped clean the piano stool with her moist lavender hankie, and seating herself at the Beckstein played a little something that had once meant a great deal to her, but now, sadly, rather arthritically…

(plays Florries Waltz)

And the room would seem again to glow. The blink of brass buttons, the gaiety, the silvery roars of delicate laughter. My goodness what a lot of balls she’d seen in her time. And Henry, glass in hand, legs impertinently apart showing the whites of his flies, roaring for a see.

"Do You See blast you."

What a kind man he’d been.

She remembered the time Mr Cumberpatch had fallen badly in the orchard and broken his leg. Why Henry fairly raced back to the house for his pistol. He couldn’t bear to see even the lowliest of creatures in pain.

"Do You See."

A chorus or two of the family song.

We’re Rawlinsons and Maynards

Completely self containards

It’s said we’re bulletheads

But we’re a much much nicer class

We’re Maynard sons of Rawlin

Our manners quite appallin’

If you haven’t got a country seat

You can stuff it up yer suburban semi-detatched,

mortgaged up to the hilt blleh

Perhaps Henry would call in Old Scrotum, the wrinkled retainer, for a couple of the cups that cheer and talk the old fool into singing a song.

"Up on the table with you."

What was that rubbish he used to bray? Something about knitting or socks.

Darnin’ socks, darnin’ socks

For your man

Darn darn darn

Big toes through again

Darnin’ socks, darnin’ socks

Darn darn darn

Darn, there goes the doorknocker

I bet it’s Mrs Brown

‘Allo dear, come inside

Have a cup of tea

Hope I’m not intruding

You know me

Ever so humble

Still we mustn’t grumble

Looking round

Can I help?

Anything at all

Matter of fact yes you can

Come to think

I’ve got a lot of socks to darn

Never mind the stink

As one is a farming

Farm farm farm

They say a bit of muck never did no folk no harm

Out in his gumboots

Plough plough plough

Muggins here got a field big fat sow

She asked me in the morning

Turnips do they grow

Get the breakfast down me and out you go

Just one comfort ‘fore I lie inside me box

The Lord wears trousers

Jehovah never mentioned socks

And if an angel asks me

For a little hole to fill

Darn darn darn darn

Darn, I'll go to hell

And while he was at it, eyes closed and swaying, waggish Sir Henry would pin a fox’s brush to the old chap’s coat tails and then send him back over the fields to the village still clutching his tankard.

"Give him a couple of minutes for a good start" then they’d unleash the hounds

"now we’ll see if the beggar can run hahaha." How they yelped.

She heard the two speed Black and Decker start horribly up in the downstairs bathroom and the high pitched screams of Henry doing his own fillings. Curious how the Rawlinson family distrusted dentists. She remembered the night of Arbuthnot’s honeymoon in Vienna. He knew he could never face his new wife without an immediate and immense extraction. And so he fastened a length of string about the tooth that pained him and the other end to the door of the cage like lift, and waited. But to no effect, the lift ascended, and nothing happened.

Tearing open the iron door Arbuthnot immediately threw himself down the shaft.

Few men would have had the intelligence to do that.

There was a scuffling at the door, a sound as though a hot water bottle were stifling a yawn, at that instant young Tarquin burst into the room, red cheeked and breathless.

For a few moments he lay on the carpet panting like a great hound, or, for a few moments he lay on the hound panting like a great carpet. Then with a spring he was on his feet and suddenly ejaculated

"I say Aunt."

Florrie turned a cold eye towards him. Normally he didn’t like Arabic food but that day he was so excited he swallowed one and managed to keep it down.

Next week.

But wait, Arbuthnot, in a small dingy, earnestly Hemming his way out to sea is in trouble at a place called Dead Man’s Point.

You will see, dot dot dot.

Christmas At Rawlinson End Part 1

Recorded 2 December 1975, broadcast 22, 23, 24, 26 December 1975 on John Peel
Christmas at Rawlinson End, parts 1-4;
including

Aunt Florrie Recalls, Convivial Vivisectionists,

The Party's Over, Uncle Otto, Roar of the End, A Half for Chuck

Vivian Stanshall, with Julian Smedley (violin, mandolin)

and Andy Roberts (dulcimer)
"..Henry dismissed this as malicious truth and the gathering outside the Fool & Bladder was swelled by elephantiasis and gossip. Splendid in his hunting pink, he straddled the lively strong-made turret of his tank and with a stirring blast from a recent curry, read on ...." The episode ends with the song The Party's Over.

Christmas at Rawlinson End part one.

Cannibalism at the Synagogo or You Can Have Your Kike And Eat It.

The story so far.

Henry has been reading Home Doctor, and with his characteristic generosity to the under privileged, offered his converted garage workshop and newly acquired expertise to the needy villagers. Those owing rent to Rawlinson End invent all manner of disease for Henry’s ready knife, well actually a well-honed sabre sterilised with the breath of a rabid dog.

Great Aunt Florrie turns her hand to lobotomy, high-botomy, and occasionally medium-botomy which involves going into a trance with the patient. Lobotomy is misunderstood by some of the illiterates and Florrie’s horrified when presented with several rude country bums.

Old Seth Onetooth actually stood on his head, or tried to, because he had a boil on the back of his neck.

"I don’t want to seem morbid, but did you see his face before he died?" asked Gerald.

"Horrible, looked as though he’d died of fear".

Ralph is mid Atlantic and Sandra still smells.

Now read on dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot..

It was true, Ralph is coming home. For the first time in twelve years; and the idea of seeing Roxanne stirs and excites him. Roxanne, her young breasts like hunting dogs straining at the leash. He wondered if anything had changed. A dozen years it had seemed only the day before yesterday when clear eyed spruce and eager, or Bruce eyed drunk and Frank Ifield, he’d left for South America.

He stared down moodily at the green scaled flying fish skipping and fluttering over the waves.

A po-faced steward lay under the bed. A po-faced steward reminded him that second sitting for luncheon was already well entrenched in the entré.

The man had the simian posture and cerebral stature of a pygmy.

Ralph wasn’t hungry.

A middle-aged drunk in a Bavarian hat belched on to the deck and offered Ralph a swig from a greasy bottle of Entre Deux Legs. When Ralph declined he tried to kiss him. Ralph refused so the man bit his leg. It was extremely painful. And after some minutes Ralph said "Oh alright then", but the man seemed to have lost interest and started yodelling over the rail, some curious song about talented tortoises.

Oh please dinna torture my tortie,

it is nay his fault at all

he may seem a teeny bit naughtie

but he's played at the Albert Hall

He's nay good with things

mandolins, violins

he just can't fret the strings

but sometimes he sings

and it's no that he's naughtie

piano's his forte

‘part from that he can't play buggerall

He then told Ralph an obscure joke about a giant octopus that left awful squid marks on the seabed. Ralph didn’t get it.

Meanwhile, back at the Great House, Hubert Maynard arrived.

Dear, dear, Hubert. In his middle forties, and yet, he was still unusual.

He would throw himself naked on to the lawn in a northerly direction parallel to the Earthly axis and lying on his back, with that loathsome Roman clockface tattooed around his lower and private parts, tell the time, with astounding accuracy if he thought about Jean Harlow.

"Look no hands Auntie" he would screech "now check that by dialling TIM ha".

In the winter he tried with a candle, but it hurt, and he was invariably hours late anyway. So he contented himself by standing in the main hall and inviting visitors to stand on his feet. He would then tell their weight in a dreadful monotone, and at the same time present them with a cigarette card depicting steam engines or early flying machines.

Henry tried with him, and spent a whole afternoon persuading him of the future in hat stands. But when Henry mentioned the umbrellas Hubert told him where to stuff it. Naturally as an Englishman Henry stoutly accepted. Anyway he told Hubert that if he didn't’ put a sock on the sundial business he’d soon be singing soprano.

In Southampton Ralph had docked. He expected Timothy and Laticia to be there.

What strange children they were. And that nasty friend of theirs with the squint, Gerald.

Clapton knows what went on behind the locked nursery doors after they chummed up with him. Always bringing pets into the house. Must be healthy for the children d’you suppose?

But that thing they’d made, a horrid hybrid cross between a gorilla and a parrot, and they’d let it loose in the maze. It was feathered, huge, and immensely strong, and would spring from the privet at odd moments and grasp one round the neck and ask "who’s a pretty boy then?".

Still it kept the tramps off the premises.

Then there was that weird chant of theirs.

Arms linked and to the rhythm of knives, something about poodles and chopping.

We are three vivisectionists

We go out at night

With big brown sacks

Commandeering little cats

They sometimes bite

They sometimes scratch

But in the end

They meet their match

With a

A poodle of little

Or no consequence

Secreted at night

As he peed up a door

The poor little

He was somebody pet

But with scalpals and needles

No more

We’re convivial vivisectionists

We take out animals brains

We prise them out of deep inside

And

We put them back again

Ho hum. No welcoming committee. But ironically he was closer to family than he knew for his brother Arbuthnot was nearby.

At first earnestly Hemming his way out to sea in a dinghy, but now in trouble at a place called Dead Man’s Point. The currents there were strong treacherous and unpredictable. He was soaked to the shirt and his sandwich tin floated in the scuppers.

Dead Man’s Point. That name. A memory chord strummed softly. Of course.

He remembered the accident, then darkness, and the soft probing hand of the doctor.

At least he said he was a doctor.

"Looks like a bad case of Alice" he said

"We’re not sure how it gets into the bloodstream but er Christopher Robin went wiv it".

It was then that Ralph noticed the tiny boat and heard his brother’s screams for help.

Tossing down his suitcases, in moments, with many powerful strokes Ralph combed his hair and smartened up a stray cat. This was unusual because Ralph hated combing his hair.

Then he gouged and bullied his way towards the rank and got into a taxi.

Tomorrow the fate of Arbuthnot.

The feet of Sandra.

Won’t you come home Israeli.

Uncle Otto gets blotto.

Three Cohens in a fountain.

And rabbis keep falling on my head.

 

Christmas At Rawlinson End Part 2

Uncle Otto Gets Blotto

During the night the snow came and mattressed the vast acreage of Rawlinson End.

The windows clouded and icicles hung crystalline and lovely from Old Scrotum’s nose.

From the drive a jingling, and barking of giant schnauzers heralded the unexpected arrival of Uncle Otto who, with his lederhosen, boots, and shoulder length moustache looked faintly distinguished. He yodelled for a while taking constant swigs from a hip flask of schnapps and began biting things while his men in sombre grey with red white and black armbands unloaded the great trunks of sausage.

Sir Henry stared at Otto’s knees and frowned. Otto’s knees were tense and muscular, not unlike the face of a landlord when you have to explain that you’ve run out of grant and could he possibly wait till next term.

Otto goose-stepped up the drive and raising his right arm barked "Heil Carpet Chewer" then rudely brushing passed Sir Henry he kicked the door, which was open anyway, and with the assistance of three of his men and a tape measure, began immediately to measure the servants’ heads.

Now read on dot, dot dot, dot dot, dot, pop, dot.

Arbuthnot snuffed it, but nobody know that yet except you and I. So lie doggo for a bit and with any luck we’ll ruin the lunch.

There was a terrific crash and a brick had smashed through the window of the family chapel. About the brick was wrapped a note, which simply said "Hello, I’m your new neighbour".

Henry was plainly delighted. "Seems a decent enough egg" he grunted "at least he didn’t have the impertinence to present himself at the front door."

But who was he?

Hubert was out on the icy tennis court practicing serves with a neighbourly hedgehog, which didn’t do the rackets much good as the hedgehog, new to the game, kept dropping one.

Meanwhile, in Soho, snug in Cathartacles Kahzi Kebab and Curry House, Ralph’s unnatural cousin Harold Maynard was stiffening up to order a real barbed wire bum burner.

"I say, what say, we say just for starters Tandoori coypu, sag gosht, that’s a 36, 47, and a spot of 69 if I can get enough gin down you hm hm hm. A chap merits a good Bombay Duck what, after taking a chapess out for a blow-out."

He smirked at the porcelain young thing he was so desperately trying to impress.

"Hahaha" she "Hahaha"’d and wondered opaquely what this was going to cost her in terms of flesh.

"Stand up the fellow who hasn’t got an Arthur Rackham pinned on his blasted wall eh?"

Porcelain thing remained mute.

Perry knew lots about art. Manny and Monny the Jewish boys, Pissarro the Irishman, Van Gogh who lent his name to a wine by canvas, Pickarso who suffered from piles, Mac-Iavelli the amazing Scottish Italian impressionist. Bird impressions, he ate worms. People impressions, he ate birds. Etsettera, he ate badgers.

In Southampton Ralph was going through Customs. Mostly nasty sticky stuff you pick up in the tropics, the one involving the ritual use of goitres was especially horrid. The tropics, damn them, murderous yet curiously magnetic. Already he missed them. Collecting and studying the myriad corrodorous catfish and their legion barbeled brothers in the steaming waters of the Orinoco was scarcely work for a milksop.

He smiled grimly and his shorts flapped majestically over his blunt, honest knees. Those whiskery rascals. But getting hold of the blighters, he’d swam rapids, wrestled anacondas, and she’s a big girl, and still came back to the bar covered in gore dressed as John Wayne to ask

"Where was that blasted Eskimo woman he had to skin, question mark."

Through sheer brute understanding he’d forced the affections of savage head-hunters and their wonderful families.

Cravat high in rivers shimmering with piranha, swift vicious fishes that can reduce a man to a Giacometti skeleton in seconds. The leeches, the mosquitoes, David Attenborough, he shuddered to think of it. But here he was, he got through, and yet even in the liners tiny blue- tiled swimming pool he still carried a great curved knife in his excellent teeth for his daily plunge. Often reeking, and sometimes causing compulsory acupuncture amongst the water wings and floating couches.

Meantime young John has discovered some ancient poppadoms that Sir Henry had brought back from Bombay and insists on playing them as loudly as possible on the wind up gramophone. But Otto has put a stop to that, the acoustics in the bathroom were außergewöhnlich and Otto spent a lot of time practising his tuba technique in preparation for the grand lunch.

Tomorrow, Arbuthnot’s fate revealed, Sandra’s feet reviled, the arrival of Candice.

Otto discovers My Lifeboy soap in a downstairs bathroom and Henry starts a fish war. Ralph arrives and Justine thinks of a novel and amusing way to inflate balloons.

Also more about … than usual.

 

Christmas at Rawlinson End Part 3.

Ralph heaves to.

The story at once.

Sir Henry has put so much brandy into the pudding that, much to Great Aunt Florrie’s chagrin, it has thrown up over the side of the bowl and has to have a lie down on the kitchen floor before being put into the oven to be cooked. Timothy and Leticia have made the mince pies which smell very meaty. Stefan has groped Ellie but promises to play at the party, so that’s alright. Meanwhile Henry has had his Christmas trousers steamed and pressed. They are 18 inches too big about the waist and Henry says, as always, "Burst ‘em or bust".

Sandra still smells. So what do I tell the Pentagon?

Now read on dot dot dot dot dot.

"Tomorrow, tomorrow and"

"Tommyrot" interjected Ralph.

"Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of the infant" breathed Great Aunt Florrie, her wells filling with tears.

"What the deuce do you expect, the birth of an adult rhinoceros?" chortled Sir Henry already the worse for sobriety.

"Funny you should say that Sir" ventured Gerald "I’ve already popped down to St Barclays and rearranged the crib in anticipation of your wishes."

With the arrival of the exceedingly beautiful and wayward Candice, four husbands and a broken affair behind her, celebrations stopped. Candice was a notorious liar, and also something of a seer and would stare for hours into cousin Otto’s false eye dressed in a seamless gown of silver and blue. Candice herself wore a white nightie.

Poor Otto lay on his back with his glass eye taped open.

At least it didn’t interfere with his sleep. In fact Otto refused strongly during the daytime. "Hrrr" he would spit "it is lying on me to be all the time on the billiards table and a schreckliches incense. Also the chanting going on I am not enjoying. Why the Führer himself when he has a few moments alone with his euphonium and Miles, an elite division of the SS, from Tager of course, on backup vocals keyboards und synthesizer, can sing the Carpet Choo Choo Charter, the Reichstag Bomber Rumba, und so weiter. This for me was a Kristal Night Christmas, but you, you expect Silent Night without so much as a curfew."

Candice made a splendid entrance, her freakishly long legs harlequined with wisteria and pendulous begonia. Her stride, why anyone could pass between, and having passed, pass out with maddening intoxication of her fragrant wafts.

She intoned "Frater Otto Otto Otto, completely blotto, a feat beat thy motto Otto Otto Otto. To me reveal the numbers, we have here a full house. Louse and stoat bring obedience, and from one throat (Bingo). All must dance, clickety click, clickety click, clickety clickety click, click click."

The house was daily nuisanced by cousin Willy and his seemingly meaningless morning yell at the Sun. "Hail to thee who art Ra in thy rising, and in thy lying down, and also when you’re out doing the shopping. Ra Ra Ra, Ra Ra Ra."

Willy insisted on being addressed as Frater Omnia the Brink and even before going to the toilet would throw chopsticks about and peer into, or consult as he put it, a book called Itching.

Florrie suggested calamine lotion to stop it, but Willy insisted it had nothing to do with excema, and anyway it was pronounced Yie-king. And Henry said it sounded like something a gentleman would do behind a handkerchief.

There was a startlingly loud chorus of Why Is Bacon So Tough played on tuned car horns which seemed to come from Rhonda’s womb, er Wanda’s room.

"She always makes that noise when going into a trance." said Arbuthnot, who was dead.

"Why the deuce she had to go to India to learn yoga I can’t imagine. Not that I like the stuff, but the milkman’s quite happy to deliver it. Same with chickens except that they keep dropping the bottles and well, frankly, its makes me sick. Filthy beggars. Not that I’ve anything against the lower orders but dammit they don’t even use paper to wipe their bottoms. Crikey I spent years out there in the service teaching them by example the value of rubies, slave labour, and the export of hashish. But turbans and independence aside, I don’t mind bowing but beggared if I'll shake hands."

Next week. But wait, who made that smell? Who made that smell in the studio? Who let Sandra in, or has John been at the red cabbage again?

Next time Aubrey catches a nasty, Otto donates his trousers to a flea circus, and the beginning of the assault course luncheon. Gerald chooses Sir Henry’s gout stocking to hang over his bed and there is a bit of a to do.

Also, all jugglers must have Latin American music, why?

And they grin and look surprised, at the music?

Christmas at Rawlinson End Part 4

Boxing Day and a right Royal flush.

Together Rawlinsons and Maynards made a pretty impressive lump. Defiant and impregnable. And it took Old Scrotum and some strong lads from the village with turpentine and fork to separate them. Incest was rumoured, but it was mainly Old Spice and the crooked cheroots that Ralph had brought back from South America.

There was talk. Typically Henry dismissed this as malicious truth and the gathering outside the Fool and Bladder was swelled by elephantiasis and gossip. Splendid in his hunting pink he straddled the lively strong-made turret of his tank and with a sterling blast from a recent curry,

Read on dot dot dot dot dot.

Alone he took a mere machine gun and wiped out a whole sett of badgers.

"Hah, that beats philately" he chuckled.

Meanwhile Algie was tackling a murmuration of starlings.

All of this was fine if Ralph, who had mastered horseback billiards at the early age of eleven, and not having access to a full size table since his return from the tropics, was not to be persuaded playing South American snooker even during these sessions, which made the invocation of Horus on the part of Candice rather difficult, and slumber on the part of Uncle Otto almost impossible. Because despite the constant cracks on his immaculately shaven skull every time Ralph shouted "Pot Black" Otto would stiffly wake up and grasping a cue squint horribly along it until he was convinced they were all dead and that the Iron Cross with oak leaves would be his before the dawn. "Beng beng beng" he would shout until he was tranquillised with a blue ball to centre pocket from Ralph.

It was always a pleasure to see Doris, until she opened her mouth, which, considering her ivory teeth and needed daily attention with a dilution of nitric acid, was not so much of a pleasure.

To his pleasure Gerald has been given a lovely new scalpel and had offered to make the cranberry sauce. He does, and it’s very good. But Nigel is worried and spends most of the lunch under the table looking for his corgi Leo.

All the way from the village there was a torchlight procession from the ruddy-faced workers.

But why didn’t they move?

Bash the tables

Fill the glass

Stuff the turkey right

Sod the neighbours

Sing out strong

Tonight we’ll all get tight

Right the home with red balloon

Green the mistletoe

Logs must crack when fire burns

Rawlinsons are law

Sing upstanding while you can

Or bellow from the floor

Hang the tree with village lads

Toss ‘em scraps of meat

Now bring in the village maids

While we’re still on our feet

Break your wind

And loose your stays

Ladies first do start

Gentlemen together now

Let us hear you shout

As was customary Blinkers O’Connor the blind poacher was there, and he clambered on to the table amidst the noise of snoring, and mistook two blancmanges for a woman. This resolved he clambered up on top of Sir Henry elevating himself some four feet. Blinkers was renowned in the village for he’d entered field intent on snatching and encountered a bull which he’d wrestled with and won, and had afterwards boasted at the Fool and Bladder that if he’d got the blighter off his bike he’d have murdered him. This said he threw back his head, caught it, and let loose with a song which Otto, were he not snoring in his steel helmet, would have loathed.

Hear now the sad story of poor Edward Walsh

Who thought all religion was just so much bolsch

Brought up as a Catholic he tried so hard

Genuflecting, confessing aloud. Aloud

He tried

He spoke with an old man who’d been in the war

Who carped, but recalled all the things that he'd saw

The gunpowder grey of Gallipolli’s sea

The died, and when dying with poor humility (?)

He cried

The old man was kind, and he said to young Ted

There’s many what’s living, they’re already dead

In the Great War my son I was RSM

I spent four years telling lies to the men

Over and over and ever again

Over the top you go

Over and over and ever again

Over the top you go

Over and over and ever again

Over the top you go

Over and over and ever again

Over the ….

It was Bertie’s turn to sing

The party’s over now

The dawn is drawing very nigh

The candles gut out

The starlight leaves the sky

It’s time for little girls and boys

To hurry home to bed

For there’s a new day

Waiting just ahead

Time is sweet

But time is fleeting

‘neath the magic of the moon

Dancing time may seem sublime

But it is ended far too soon

The thrill has gone

To linger on

Would spoil it anyhow

Let’s creep away from the day

While the party’s over now

Night is over

Dawn is breaking

Overhead a town is waking

Just as we are on our way to sleep

Lovers weep and dance a little

Cadging from romance a little

Souvenir of happiness to keep

The music of an hour ago

Was just a sort of ‘let’s pretend’

The memories that charmed us so

At last have ended

The party’s over now

The dawn is drawing very nigh

The candles gutter

The starlight leaves the sky

It’s time for little girls and boys

To hurry home to bed

For there’s a new day

Waiting just ahead

Time is sweet

But time is fleeting

‘neath the magic of the moon

Dancing time may seem sublime

But it is ending far too soon

The thrill has gone

To linger on

Would spoil it anyhow

Let’s creep away from the day

While the party’s over now

 

 

 

An Absence of Whelks

Recorded 21 March 1977, broadcast 6 April 1977 on John Peel


Rawlinson End, part 34 - An Absence of Whelks;
including Aunt Florrie Recalls, Dan, Nice & Tidy

Sir Henry: "Now you squids, prepare for whacks!"

 

The story so far.

Loathsome Gerald has been caught observing the sun through a telescope and his squint is now permanent. Great Aunt Florrie has gone shopping in Concreton and will be away several hours as she must stop at the launderette to thaw out some chickens in the spindryers. At the same time Hubert Maynard, in his mid forties and still unusual, and his brother-in-law adventurous young Ralph Rawlinson are playing cricket on Sensible Common. But Ralph has disgraced himself at the crease and stopped the game and is now alone on the pitch determined that in atonement he will rid the club of moles. Meanwhile Hubert and the rest of the team enjoy the break with a chilled glass of parafino in the shade of the pavilion.

Now think on’t dot dot dot dot.

Hubert polished his trident with the sleeve of the white pullover carelessly wrapped about his waist.

"You could see everything from the top of that bus", he said, "we were in Regent Street and I was looking right into Broadcasting House. I could see them all running around inside catching diseases and giggling. My father leant across to me and he said you’ll be in there if you don’t stop playing with yourself".

Through the intestinal smoke of Hubert’s pipe the sweat spangled face of Reg Smeeton, eyes straining with mad intensity behind glasses the shape of Ford Cortinas, shuddered with the ungovernable maelstrom of information, inessential infantry and endless that constituted the grotesque furniture of his mind. Filing cabinets unlocked, thesauri fell agape, data danced in strict formation quick quick quick-quick-quick, puzzles fitted, it all added up, niggling self edited tumbling with creaking impatience, cross referenced, and erupting and all gathered berserk fierce, heedless and torrential on his springboard lips.

(Reg:) "I find that truly engrossing Hubert broadcasting the business of converting sounds into electrical impulses and of distance to faithfully translate correct me if I’m wrong and amplify for the listening pleasure of the untold millions approximate, information communication more information. Guggly-ol Elmo McCart - Marconi 1874-1937 Italian, extract of Bolognor population 280 fo- famous for its leaning towers and pasta".

"He died of chrysanthemum poisoning", said Hubert sadly, "They had to kill all his plants.

Did you know he was the real author of A Pictorial History Of Gargling? A very great work".

Mr Smeeton, frozen like a red setter. His conversation of the you speak, I wait, you pause, I pounce, variety lent exaggerated ear.

"They strapped a bloom to his back, and it came up all blotchy, that’s why he drank, it was Brasso mainly, he was a very humble man".

Raising high his trident Hubert struck an odd heroic pose.

(Reg:) "Paradoxically speaking I’m rather proud of my humility, a virtue perhaps best embodied in the person of Saint Appolonia martyred in Alexandria 249 AD. Before this aged Christian lady was consumed by the flames, see combustion, chemical action accompanied by light and heat, her tormentors pulled all her teeth out. Her last wishes for a bit of peanut brittle being thus cruelly denied her. This incident very well attested and I’m prepared to personally vouch for its veracity. It would take but an instant to hasten back to my shop for a speedy cross-reference from my ever-ready at my fingertips filing system".

(Hubert:) "Look, there’s Ralph" he said with rare insight.

With practised effort Mr Smeeton behaved outwardly as he knew he must and screwed his eyes Hong Kong to the distant figure microscopic and lifelike shimmering on the pitch. And all this merely token courtesy towards the catatonic Hubert, for in Smeetons mind the connotations of Ralph raffia Raffles, Sir Stamford 1781-1826, jostled, assembled, and howled for outlet.

"He boiled roly poly puddings in old socks", said Hubert dreamily. "But it was the chrysanthemums and Brasso that got to him".

In his creamy flannels Ralph lay atop the molehill like a poultice on a pulsing green boil.

Trembling to the wild scrabblings of the blind beast beneath his damp stomach.

"Gods teeth", he muttered, "if these thing bite one will be singing soprano".

He knew that giant African grasshoppers enjoy eating human hair, that rats can’t be sick, and that the elephant shrew is without teeth but can give one a nasty suck.

However of the doings of moles he knew little save that they made a muck of the cricket pitch and this stiffened his resolve.

In the pavilion Uncle Hubert and the chaps were looking on. His knuckles whitened as he gripped firm his bat, for them he had to do this bloody thing, this bloody necessary bloody thing. "And I’m not going to eat it or wear it, Brigitte Bardot will hate me, perhaps I’ll just wear it for a bit".

The wind in the willows ruffled the gold hair of a long long slumbering child within.

The wind in the willows, the will in the windows, wails of the widows of furry dark soft overground underground tiddly-pom comfy and cosy tucked in for the night.

"Mummy my teddy’s st-stopped breathing".

Click. "Its alright darling".

A great heaving halted this train of thought at the level crossing of rude heart stopping panic. Violent shakings, horrid snufflings of Poes worst imaginings, the brute beast surfaced, snout flailing claws and bristle. Reason fled shrieking from Ralphs thrilling mouth. Aghast, dry throated, he drank in that which his mind could not comprehend, the thing was grinning with savage glee. Soiled and horrid about its shuddering torso was a Capital tee shirt and in its paw it brandished a microphone. Spasm, had this nightmare and swoon the beckoning void unsilence and danger dan dan dan dan aah aah aah aah.

Back at the great house affairs were of a more tranquil stripe. With glass in hand and monocle at ease, Sir Henry Rawlinson, having spent the morning chuckling over the obituaries in the Times, was in expansive mood.

"Well I could play blow-football with me back to the table when I was a youngster".

Old Scrotum looked up from the ironing board upon which he was picking the egg and porcupine quills from his masters trousers. "Aar, but these folks be musical Sir".

Sir Henry swatted and stamped on a rather beautiful blue butterfly.

"Wop festival, a wop festival you say, deuced if I know what those blighters have got to be festive about. I-tiddly-eytie island for the weekend eh phwoar. I can smell those filthy piazzas they eat already."

Scrotum shook three cocktail cherries from the turnups.

"They’m saying a couple of the organisers‘ll be popping over with complimentaries and .. "

Sir Henry stiffened.. his drink. "Well I’ll see ‘em off the premises personally. The hounds are all fagged out from yesterdays Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we don’t want blood all over the lawns again."

The room darkened as a hang-glider passed across the sun. "Seems a novel enough way to commit suicide" observed Henry, "pass me my pistol and I’ll see if I can’t bring him down into the lake". With a weapon in his charge the master of Rawlinson End was apt to be very sporting and unpredictable and the wrinkled retainer took cover behind a leather armchair, peeping through his fingers and clutching a rosary.

"What are you doing cowering down there" roared Henry.

Scrotum tugged furiously at a long vanished forelock. "Er it be out of respect Sir"

"Well you’re supposed to love me you vile jelly (f/x biff) take that".

Mercifully Henry hit him with the soft end of the pistol. Scrotum sprawled on the parquet flooring. Then with a kindly pat on the head and a paternal grunt Henry strode back to the window and took aim at the hang-glider now several hundred yards past the lime trees and fast diminishing. In April sunshine, with the air full of wasps and himself full of pink gins and half a bottle of Entre deux Legs, it was an impossible shot. And in a fit of blear eyed pique Henry emptied the gun into the tyres of a custard yellow van parked in the drive.

Like the shock of fondling a raw sausage blindfold at a gay party the significance of the van was made clear. In a florid scriptiform on the side was painted the following: Nice and Tidy, and in brackets, Both A Right Couple Of Pairs, Just Relax And Let Us Do It, and in the right hand corner a crude drawing of the masks of tragedy and comedy labelled Before and After.

The gentlemen owners of this vehicle lodged in the village at the Fool and Bladder and did contract housecleaning but they purported to be resting theatrical artistes. Both were given to striped blazers, orange pancake, obvious wigs, matching handkerchiefs, shaven legs and musical comedy which they visited on the drinking fraternity of the Fool and Bladder with unceasing enthusiasm, until that is old Seth Onetooth put a stop to it claiming "I’m going as daft as a mahogany frying pan".

Great Aunt Florrie’s premise that all musicians were "nice people" had prompted her to place the music room at Rawlinson End at their disposal. And they confessed themselves to be "terribly touched". Henry’s reaction to their presence now was primarily of apoplectic astonishment, after all you don’t expect decent folk to take you up on an invitation, its just downright rudery. "Grrreat Thing" he bellowed "those simpering nancy boys are in the house, get up you stinking blancmange, quick go lock the piano pacey pacey before the.." but it was too late. There were loud theatrical chortles from across the hall, a hint of Cologne, and

(Duet - Nigel Nice and Teddy Tidy)

Nice and Tidy

Tidy and Nice

That’s the way that we leave your hise

Upstairs downstairs wherever we do

We guarantee it will be tickety- boo

You put your feet up or go off to the shops

Just point us at the buckets and mops

Washing up or wiping down we are the tops

We're Nice and Tidy, we're Nice.

And Tidy, Tidy and Nice

I'm Teddy Tidy

And I'm Nigel Nice

Cleanliness is clearly an obsession we share

You too will think we're both a right couple of pairs

We'll hoover the mats

Or neuter your cats

To you, dear housewife

We waise our hats

We leave your home so clinical

Your friends will say that's

Nice and Tidy , that's nice.

This impertinent jollity in the middle of an English afternoon left Sir Henry shivering with a red passion. His eyebrows like limp bats, and his face a crumpled tissue upon which a lobster might well have wiped its bottom. "All crime" he declared "is due to incorrect breathing".

Grim faced and cold Henry snatched from the wall the sickle sharp boar tusks he used for defacing Reader Digest, and in moments crossed the hall and flung open the doors of the music room. Startled, Nigel Nice, banjulele held fol de rol, mince mince minced across the room. "Sir Henry, nice to see you, to see you…." Henry’s glare throttled his hypocrisy at birth.

"Do you know what a palmist once said to me? She said - Will You Let Go.

Gentlemen I am a bulldog and you will know my bite is worse".

Teddy Tidy held the piano stool before him. Nigel Nice in an attempt to look invalid put on his glasses and blinked. Stamping in frenzy Henry bellowed the war cry of the Zulu "Whoo Shoo Foo" and adjusting a serviette about his throat "Now you squids prepare for whacks".

Suddenly a half-thawed chicken caught him in the back of the neck. (f/x thud)

Next week Hubert Maynard, ever the gentleman, offers his seat to a lady in a public lavatory. There is considerable misunderstanding.

 

Spades Balls and Sausage Trees

Recorded 11 May 1977, broadcast 23 May 1977 on John Peel
Rawlinson End, part 35 - Spades, Balls and Sausage Trees;


including Wheelbarrow, Aunt Florrie Recalls
Vivian Stanshall, with Zoot Money (guitar, piano, vocals)

and Barry Dransfield (violin, cello)


This episode begins with the classic intro from the film/LP version...

 

 

English as tuppence, changing and changeless as canal water,

nestling in green nowhere, armoured and effete, bold flag bearer,

opsimath, eremite, feudal reactionary Rawlinson End.

The story so far.

Margot has decided she "Just cant GO ON".

Beethoven is a terrible dancer and Josiah Wedgewood had only one leg. Doo dah, doo dah.

Florrie has prepared cocktail sausages and cheese dips for a middle aged spread as Doris and Boris Hazard are coming across for a Whisky Drive.

The Mayorcans have landed, and the warts have disappeared.

It is lunchtime and like leviathan, bibulous Sir Henry surfaces from the blackness.

You’ve snuggled into your cosy bed and your toes have tried each cold pockety corner when a something comes sneaking into your head and stops the cosy.

A dark cracky picture that isn’t quite clear that you quite sort of know but don’t want to remember.

"Filth hounds of Hades". Sir Henry Rawlinson woke hot and fidgety fuss fuss bother and itch.

His conscious mind coming up too fast with the bends through pack ice, thrubbing seas, boom sounders, blow holes, harsh croaks, and blind men tip tap tocking for escape from his pressing skull. "Whelk". With a gaseous grunt he rolled away from the needle cruel light acupuncturing those fogged pickled onion eyes and focused them with key bending will on the cold trench Florrie had left on her side of the bed. Tongue like yesterday's fried cod, mind over batter, yuch. "Tongue sandwiches eat what, but it's been in somebody else's mouth".

"You'll eat it and like it".

"But why can't I have.."

"Because I say so".

The Blind men were now thrashing with their canes.

"Gods teeth do I need a dare of the hog. Nothing like a morning cap to kiss goodbye to the day". He reached across for the bell rope to summon the housekeeper. But with most of his huge top stiff from the wallop he'd received on the back of the neck from the half thawed chicken, he discovered himself, with his nighty round his waist, stunned, turned tortoise on the rug. The paralysis lasted scarce a blink, then he bellied his unwilling hulk to the wardrobe. Cold comfort as he yanked out the shotgun. Good stock, rollover, one action commando stuff, cock over, safety off, left and right both barrels through the ceiling. Stunned shock unsilence and then Henry's eruptive bellow "Mrs E".

The plaster had not settled before the housekeeper stood lurcher backed and coughing at your servile Sir in the room "yeth" she said.

"I don't know what I want but I want it now".

"I don't know how I got out of bed this morning I had it all down one side and when I put my foot down ooh it was like plugging it into the mains". Mrs E had trouble. "It shot straight up and I came over all giddy and I thought oh no I'm going, I’d breathed my last and it started swimming before me. I could smell the wreaths, oo I had such a good cry, it was lovely, I just wanted to lay back but I couldn't, Of course I can’t recline, he's put me on tablets and it’s a constant fight to relax, Last Sunday I was, I was heating up a drop of liniment and I bent down to pull up my surgical stockings when ooh it slipped out again, I was that busy I didn't have time to straighten up, of course I can't sleep not since Mr E passed away, It's like having your leg off, you think it's still there in the bed, I mean you think it's still there, 33 years on Thursday and I still can't get used to his snoring, it's in the mornings; he used to make me a herbal infusion".

"Mrs E, Dismiss. I will come down. Help me up".

The table was still laid for breakfast and when the Rawlinson family broke a fast you cursed central heating and double-glazing.

"Awkward beasts winkles" grunted Henry squinting and stabbing at his plate,

"your uncle Hubert uses them for earplugs". Ralph had heard it all before. He smiled bleakly across at his father.

"Turns my belly to see him to see him to the mornings fiddling about in his lugholes with a pin; blessed if I can see why he bothers he never hears anything I say".

To some extent this was true, Henry's rhinoceros tyranny had only the most peripheral and incidental effect on Hubert's life, and he spent his days softly and dreamily, without any direction, quoting and reliving his times with his dead father. He was harmless but as Florrie put it, "unusual".

"I remember shrimp teas on a gingham cloth, shiny brown bowls and crusty bread and a little boy who wouldn't eat mummy shrimps with all their precious grey pink eggs".

"Stuff it Hubert".

Henry went up to change. Florrie, wanting to make impression spent a long time checking the bathroom and family for tide marks. And when she'd done it was evening.

There was a screech of tortured wheels, a bump, a loud splash, and a bubbling sound.

"That sounds like Doris and Harold now" said Florrie.

"Get them out of the ornamental pond. Scrotum.. gaff the neck, hang 'em over the radiators and I'll set up the card table myself".

All was now expectancy as the soaked Harold Hazard entered the house. "Oh Gad" he yelped as he bumped his head on the door, "Yikes" said Doris tripping over the attractive boot cleaner and getting a warm coconut matting welcome stamped indelibly on her face. They joined Henry who was in the library drinking and being important.

"Mind you those jungle bunnies weren’t without their own peculiar brand of decency.

Give you an example, they wouldn’t kill a chap while he was asleep, had to wake him up because, one of ‘em, charming feller, lips like inner tubes, told me under torture naturally, that should the victims spirit be out of his body at the time of death it would on its return be so outraged it would pursue and torment the assassin for eternity like the er Greek Harpics of mythology. Understandable if you believe that sort of guff".

Doris Hazard yawned behind her hand, and her dentures, ancient yellowed and imperfect, locked. With her cavernous mouth wide open she could only "Uh, uh, uh" And Henry understanding that she was gaping with wonderment at his yarn gave her a boozy wink. She was too polite to leave the room. And Henry, now refuelled with several great gulps of Southampton Red Rum, a brainstorming cocktail involving port, vodka, dark rum, and horseradish sauce, continued.

"These are the only spirits I want tormenting my body. Personally when you're dead you're gone, afterlife aftershave don't hold with any of 'em". He glared at great aunt Florrie who was of quite a different opinion and almost chandelier with Pisces, St Christopher, crucifix, rabbits foot, and lucky whales teeth about her neck. "I don't give a toss what you do with me when I have shrugged me mortal coil. Shove a bit of flex up my back passage, stick a light bulb in my mouth, and stand me in the hall. Mind you if you're using electricity you'll have to dry me out first".

Florrie had once mentioned instant karma to Henry but he thought it was some kind of tranquiliser there was really little point now, he was too far-gone.

"Consulting a book called Itching before she goes to the lavatory, Good God what have I married?".

"Now about these chaps, they put a hand on your chest to wake you up see, one chink of reality and you’re gone. Slit your throat or gouge your eyes no compunction. I remember I was alone in my tent when I felt it. I was alone cos I’d left the hounds back in Blighty. I was enjoying a fitful rest when suddenly I felt it. Nuisance was I was so full of cold mackerel pie I knew I was going to blow off, you can imagine the fix"

Boris Hazard arising from the settee attempted to hide the body of his wife’s Pekinese.

"I was at bursting point when this thing jerked into my face, turned out I’d been lying here with a bloody great frog on my chest for an hour. Well I hadn’t the heart to kill it, but I twisted its arm something rotten hah".

"I, I was in Africa" began Boris Hazard, "I don't want to talk gibberish but I I spent quite some time in the land of the Gibber and believe me those Gibros could get a budgerigar to phone Harrods. I I made a poem of my experiences".

Henry glowered and introduced himself to another glass of Southampton Rum.

The heathen Mahdi in his tent

Thus ordered his bestial blackamores

This night go steal to the regiment

And silence put to their Christian snores

Old Chuck kept watch in a roomy cloak

His clean teeth clamped on a short stemmed briar

Rough tongued he was the kind of bloke

Who’d never flinched under musket fire

But furthest by far from the slumbering camp

Lay a lad scarce seventeen

Who oft jumped up his feet to stamp

and sing God Save Our Queen

Through the sharp grass bent on wrong

The savage rascals slid

Wind borne they heard the young lads song

"Hey Jimmy lend us a quid" said Henry frowning down at his watch.

It was a lovely evening and Florrie took the interminable beige thing she was knitting into the garden. About her were perhaps 200 gnomes.

Sitting in a sunken garden.

Pinking in a sinking sun

Thinking of a summer long ago

When one was twenty-one

Naming all the flowers so friendly

Shouting at the shrubs so thick

Lo, behold, Lobelia

One bite and the Bishop was sick

How nice to be in England

Now that England's here

I stand upright in my wheelbarrow

And pretend I'm Boadicea.

Shy goldfish shady in the green weed

By gad'flies giddy in the haze

Here I sit; I knit knit knit

Miles and miles away

How nice to be in England

Now that England's here

I stand upright in my wheelbarrow

And pretend I'm Boadicea.

Florrie noted that the garden gnomes seemed a good deal more obviously masculine than before and they were doing things.

And she now knew why Gerald had spent so much pocket money on plasticine.

There was a yell from the Great House "Turkeys gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble" and she rose to see Henry stuffing Doris Hazards protesting mouth with tobacco.

She dropped her knitting and began to hurry back as Old Scrotum the wrinkled retainer wheeled a gigantic pie into the reddened room.

Suddenly the pie burst open and with legs of Gorgonzola and an insane grin that dreadful American woman Mrs Radcliffe sprang naked into the company.

 

The Road to Unreason VIVIAN STANSHALL

Recorded 24 August & 14 December 1977, broadcast 19 December 1977 on John Peel
Rawlinson End, part 37 - The Road to Unreason;


including Aunt Florrie Recalls, Three Vivisectionists,

Mrs Radcliffe (The Beast Inside)


Vivian Stanshall, with Zoot Money and Mox (harmonica, flute)

The story so far.

Hubert is growing mustard and cress in his left ear, and performs even the most intimate of office with his head inclined to one side. Sir Henry’s neck has healed nicely, and Mrs Radcliffe has been banished from the house.

Now read on dot dot dot dot dot.

Loathsome young Gerald having now been discovered in the upstairs tiniest room one too many times with a sporting magazine though, protesting "This is high art. Look how many times I’ve watched Sir Kenneth Clark Civilise Acton" has had his hand and botty smacked very eye-wateringly.

Bubbling up from God-wots, Nemesis clutching her wrath took house in the snivelling imp and the wretched boy, eyes glaring yellow caves of hatred, stalked off to Concreton where in cahoots with a tattooist had every pimple on his weasel face permanently marked from 1 to 126 making the magic nine. And thus disfigured would appear each morning, these numbers heavily linked and inked with biro, to present his horrid visage aghast with swastikas or shifted faces, which with deep frowns and nasty use of his tongue and squinty eye he could make so horrid that breakfast guests would be quite sickened.

Soon, fierce scrubbed by great aunt Florrie, he must eat alone until, fat chance, the spots clear up. His ciphered face seeming like a housewife effort at painting by numbers before she remembered a rice pudding left in the oven. Gerald also had taken to wearing safety pins through his eyelids because "he didn’t trust no one" and wanted to be wide-boy awake just in case it came to something. Over his door he scrawled, if you see something you don’t understand smash it.

Florrie shuddered, Geralds ghastly tattooed face would doubtless rank him even higher in the perverse estimations of Timothy and Letetia Maynard, which pair of near children would surely be visited on Rawlinson End for an extended daymare before the holiday ended.

She remembered their last Christmas efforts at mince pies that had tasted so uncommonly meaty, and poor Nigels concern about his missing corgi. Pray Jesu they’d lost interest in chemistry and dissection. That thing they’d let loose in the maze, crackling with wires, smoking, roaring, and pouncing on the staff. A cross between a gorilla and a parrot it would grip one round the neck and ask "who’s a pretty boy then?". And those hateful songs to the rhythm of knives behind locked nursery doors. No no, not again surely.

We are three vivisectionists

We go out night with big brown sacks

Commandeering little cats

They sometimes bite

They sometimes scratch

But in the end they meet their match

With a croak snort

We’re convivial vivisectionists

We take out animals brains

We prize them out

And peep inside

And…….

We put them back again ha ha

(f/x knocking on door)

Hubert half doze-dazed in his bath and a real live duck paddled to him with a bar of soap in its bill which it deftly deposited with the pumice stone on the side. It then clambered up Huberts arm and began pecking at the mustard and cress peeking green and inviting from his master’s ear. Hubert dreamt of a waterbed he might have had made. A circular job with guppies, neon tetras, two angels, and a red tailed shark "how restful". He had many moneymaking schemes for interior decoration. During the sunny months he kept his windows covered with several sheets of blotting paper because he believed it trapped and absorbed the energy of the sun. And each night, with proper thanks to Ra, he would take it down and squeeze "a little bit of cosy into the room" before retiring. "Hail to thee Ra, and ta ra boom dee ay"

After a bath he liked to play polo with the tortoise, but human milk prevailing he would always stop the game every twenty minutes or so and have the old thing treated for shellshock. A great lover of all sports, catching the javelin, heading the shot etc, he could unscrew his gammy leg to reveal a shooting stick upon which point he could perch parrot.

Through the steamy windows he noticed young Ralph all togged up with towel, woollen trunks, and flippers, off to break the ice on the chill lake. But behind him the hunched figure of Old Scrotum the wrinkled retainer scurrying. "Master, young Master, heed well the ancient rhyme".

Do not bathe in the lake dear one

The deep lake of Rawlinson

Swim elsewhere, say at Epping

The Lido close by the Rising Sun

Yes the chlorine there will claw your eyes

And the horde guild cheeky and winking

Will taunt at first

But fleet their thirst

Like their privates will be shrinking

Do not venture into the lake my son

Great pike will have your alls

And I need potent sons of Rawlin

To throng our Rawlinson Hall

Disappointed Ralph strode back to the Hall for a few frames of horseback snooker.

Candice made note of all this from her hideaway in the Round Room.

"The trouser Seans in the herring tree run up a pretty banner in a blast. And shavings of porcu-knotty pine are queer stuffs for thrice wise magi beards in a cold twist".

She murmured and lowered her sibyl eyes and made curious mime with her slender hands.

In the bitter cold Old Scrotum repaired the barbed wire about Sir Henry’s small but daunting prisoner of war camp.

In a London club Peregrin at 28, now the dread side of 30 sighed. Thirty, the big O. All the twos twenty two, two and two, two little ducks, eight and eight two fat ladies, three O blind thirty. But blind what. He sucked in the cheeks and raised the eyebrows of the reflection in the Percy Room of the club Dorian Gray. The Dorian Mode. The signs were etched deeply now in his moosh, roadmapped out, David Frost icicles twice as sliced bread pallid, ordnance survey cheeked, Grand Union Cannalettos, A A Milnestones about his throat, time for pause especially on the nose. Finger and thumb instant spaghetti by Derma of London of course. "Must start playing squeeze, no squash, oh it comes to the same".

It had been a good idea joining the club hadn’t it? Classy and an affirmation of maturity.

The Urethrian Club, Pall Mall, London. No ladies, this is where the big fellows hang out ha ha. But five hundred smackers a year to sit around in leather armchairs and lie to each other about actresses with knockers like onion sacks. Well I lie too. Still it was something to do, somewhere to go, it was. Cripes is this all there is, looking for something to do? And also, painfully as well, he Peregrin St John Ponsonby Rawlinson hadn’t actually, in factually, done what the big boys do, but he’d come close. Dry cleaning, I should cocoa, it was all over the pl… Heavy petting. "Naturally dear boy, she was seventeen stone in her negligence".

Perhaps his porcelain young thing would never actually come across. Perry had been seeing her now for nearly four years. Thrice headed hound of Hades he’d been chatting her up for bloody yonks, but he really liked her, it wasn’t just.. That.

Did he though, like her? She said nothing. But there must be something in there. Just a glint now and then. Was that coquetry or a nervous twitch? Never checked her family. Liebe Gott, bring a cretin back to Rawlinson End, its in the blood you know, you can never be too sure.

That evening he took her to Cathartacles Curry Kebab and Khazi House. It was exactly just one year since their first frightened dry tight-lipped kiss. They held hands over a bottle of Chateau Tilbury until Hans said "Der wein ist now room temperat, uncork me" and in the candlelight they could scarsely see what they were eating.

"Here we are poppet, on the entrees already, but not to worry, with any luck and a bit of wire there’s no chance of you reaching the pudding club". Porcelain thing didn’t understand but smiled anyway.

There was a distant gurgling, a horrid throaty ululation, and outside a gang of street urchins quite suddenly last summer pressed their pinched cold faces crude against the window. Peregrin stared at the lolloping tongues, questing snouts, and dead dead eyes, and then with blanch cheeked automaton efficiency he loaded his napkin with butter. Porcelain thing kept her lovely eyes on her kebab as Perry crossed the restaurant and smeared the glass obliterate against the pressed ham and pressing heads. "Eating is a very private thing" he said to the manager.

With all the unfolding drama of a Sikh unwrapping his turban, he picked his nose. "Art for arts sake, but money for Christs" he said and sat down. Perry knew lots about art, with a capital F. Manny and Monny the Jewish boys, Pissarro the Irishman, Rococo the clown, Mac-Iavelly the Scottish Italian genius, and Perry squandered many a lunch voucher at the Bernard Buffet Bar in the Strand.

[All artists are just talking to themselves, I do all the time but I always get my own way in the end, that’s a sure sign, just because you’re enduring this tripe, tuned into your tranny or homed into your tuner, because you’re paying for it it’s alright.

But if I came and did it in front of you you’d think I was a loony, yes you would.

Oh well maybe you wouldn’t but he would and so would she. I know, I used to try it all the time, try smiling at people they freak.

The only difference is is that I’m comfortably here and you’re comfortably there, you’d better switch off till the music comes back at least you don’t have to understand that.

Uncle John will tell you what’s okey doke and then who’s he? No disrespect but did you really choose him or me or anything ever, did you? You’re right. Revolution. I’m going to shoot everyone starting with myself. Bang. Cult hero, sickening isn’t it. But what statement. Network. Did you hear that chap shoot himself on the radio last night? Nice one. Better get back to Rawlinson End or we’ll all start and then we’ll communicate

and that’s dangerous… and embarrassing.]

The gutters leaked like secrets and the rain rain rained like rain at Rawlinson End. In the library a log fire spat tracer over doomed Dresden and Sir Henry, well tanked up, lolled in a cockpit leather chair.

(blues harp in background and leads into song Mr Hyde In Me)

Eeeaaaaooow, boomph kuk dan dan , dan dan dan dan, dan

Yes I love you Mrs Radcliffe with your Gorgonzola legs.

Remember the first time we met it was a warm summer’s night, suddenly it all changed.

I wanted to. I needed to possess you.

I wanted to tear down those fleshly barriers between us and know the real you.

Nirvana, sweet enchantress of shy forest things.

Oh I tried, I tried and tried

To stop (f/x glug)

The beast inside of me

Cos Ms Person,

Bracket, Mrs Radcliffe

Oh I knew

When I’ve had a few

The Mr Hyde in me

Two gins will set him free

That’s how it will be

Forever oh oh oh oh (f/x.gargle)

Please oh please

Don’t let me unleash

This beasht inside of me

Ooh Ooooh

I’m changing back

I’m changing back

(voice) er Professor I don't understand this

He glanced over his shoulder to make positive he was alone.

"Of course there were troops in the city. Thousands massing for counter attack. Deaths head fanatics the lot of ‘em. Heads like peanuts, arms like tractors. Boom, dan dan, dan dan".

Hubert entered the room soft and silent as a smelly one.

"Can I play too Henry? I like taking orders."

Henry nearly exploded with the shock.

"Don’t don’t, don’t you kamarade me you you Quisling" he spluttered snatching the sickle sharp boars tusk he kept for defacing Readers Digest from the wall.

"You’re not in uniform and it’s dark" roared the master of Rawlinson End.

"But I’m in pyjamas and I’m your brother" said Hubert backing off.

"This is going to be an understandable mistake" said Henry blowing strongly on a whistle.

And with a nasty grunt he was over the top, stamping on the settee.

Next time Ralph has his upper lip pierced so he can see where he’s going whilst whistling.

(whistles along with the theme tune)

 

Fall of Felt Hats VIVIAN STANSHALL

Recorded 29 March 1978, broadcast 5 April 1978 on John Peel
Fall of Felt Hats Rawlinson End;
including Florrie's Waltz, Fool & Bladder, Interlewd, Smeeton
Vivian Stanshall, with Julian Smedley and Jim Cuomo (clarinet, recorder, celeste, leg)

 

The story so far.

The hapless and unusual Hubert, having unhappily chanced upon Sir Henry reliving the bombing of Dresden, has received a terrific thrashing and a crippling kick in the fork. He is now in disgrace condemned to his room.

The body of Doris Hazard’s pekinese, unwittingly asphyxiated under her husband’s bottom, after a ritual two weeks in the Rawlinson refrigerator, has been given over to Old Scrotum for indecent burial under a giant marrow. This marrow is Sir Henry’s pride and on his instructions the vegetable is daily drip fed with a powerful laxative so that "if some rascal runs off with it and eats the blessed thing it’ll give ‘em the runs for weeks".

It was a chilly but beautiful morning and summers green heralds thrust defiant from the window boxes of nearby Concreton and the woodlands about Rawlinson End. A pale sun poked impudent marmalade fingers into the kitchen and sent the shadows scurrying like convent girls menaced by a tramp.

Great Aunt Florrie, toast crumbs specking the fine hairs on her upper lip, teacup half empty luke warm in her lap, dozed in a cosy Chippendale settle. An elfin tissue curdled her mind with muted chimera. Through dancing dark neon-bright eels behind the eyes, gauzes of filmy Fellini, glimpses further than the rocket sees, rhythmic fading and in unending procession.

Outside Old Scrotum the wrinkled retainer scrunched up the gravel whistling a dirty song. And Florrie, gentle corset prisoner of the flesh started, and was composed and alert as a skinless eye, when the old man, his russet burned country face smiling in wreathes, pushed open the back door.

"Mornin’ ma’am" he coughed "I filled in the grave".

Florrie nodded and indicated the sink. "Perhaps you’d care to wash your hands" she murmured.

"Ar no thankee ma’am, I already did that up against a tree afore I came in here har".

Florrie took a careful purse lipped sip of cold tea. "Very well" she said dabbing the corners of her mouth with a lavender scented hanky. "Now I’d like you to set up the card table and put down some sawdust in the smoking room. Lord Portly and Lady Philippa of Staines are coming over this evening".

The wrinkled retainer hung up his greasy fez on a peg, and with joints crackling like the screwing up of plastic egg cartons, hacked and wheezed his way through into the hall.

Alone again Florrie’s eyes focused on the copper gleam of the coal scuttle, clouded, and in seconds had surrendered to Erewhon. Peacefully on tip-toe through the grey spheres where shade had substance, whispers walked, and Maya reigned. Wistful and lovely are walls with wisteria, clematis clambers on time pocked walls white. Stranger than larkspur or lupin, hydrangea many headed bright nosegay tongue-tied, fancy flight.

There was a face jumping competition at the Fool and Bladder. This ancient amusement involved leaping on to volunteer’s heads, lightly touching, and then springing off. To draw blood or squash a nose meant instant disqualification, and this was the skill of it. The normally phlegmatic Seth Onetooth was unquestioned champion of this unusual sport and he stood huge dark and work stained outside the old pub explaining the rules and recalling past triumphs to Reg Smeeton, the village newsagent and self-styled human encyclopaedia.

A large red faced farm worker, stripped to the waist, paced out an enormous run-up before turning to thunder down on his grinning partner lying on the grass. "Eeh, he’s got no chance" said Seth smugly, "silly buggers wearing spiked running shoes".

Reg Smeeton, floccose red wig like a kipper nailed to his bonce, nodded with ill feigned interest. But the mad flexions of his face muscles and the nervous butterfly tick of his left eyelid argued the mental tumult within. Jigging, niggling, sale of the centipedes, and the quacking going up to five pounds, urging datum and fervid facts, chattering in Stockhausen tongues warring for outlet from his springboard lips. "Drawing from my vast, though admittedly unresolved catalogue of general know-it-all, facts of interest etc., corroborated, corobbaree a sacred or warlike assembly of aboriginals, and cross referenced, may I remind you of the exploits of one William Barker of Manchester. In the 1890’s Billy cleared a canal 35 feet wide, making a running jump, jack-knifing into a second, to land perfectly quite dry on the other side. This was called Spring Jumping. Nothing at all to do with the period vernal equinox to Summer solstice of course".

Heedless of this babble Seth adjusted the strings about his knees and unnoticed a passing wood pigeon vacated on to Smeetons ploughmans lunch. "I ain’t so nimble now" said Seth, "but I used to jump in and out of barrels of eggs wi’out cracking a shell".

Smeeton, his mouth full of cheese, squinted fixedly at the sun. "Barrels, coopering, James Fennimore 1789-1851, Mohicans, the last of, Natty Bumpo, Prince Bumpo, bumptious, bumpkins, kith and kin, d’ye kin John Peel, peeler, Sir Robert, bobbies, baby, bibulous, bibles".

"I could clear a snooker table, full length mind, from a standing jump before operation" grumbled Seth, "I could have made a mint had I been a bit more shrewd".

"Shrewd, did you know that the elephant shrew never closes its eyes" remarked Smeeton.

At this juncture they were joined by Old Scrotum who, having no more duties until the evening, had slogged it across the fields in time for the finals and to down a couple of pints or three.

"Aar, waste of good drinkin’ time. I had to go up again and see if the old girl had finished her bloomin’ breakfast" huffed Scrotum crossly.

The old girl was Sir Henry’s mother, once a great beauty but now, unknown to Florrie, bedridden in a remote chamber at Rawlinson End.

"Well er, ‘ad she then, finished it like?" asked Seth.

"Course not. Nice bit of smoked haddock been there by the side of the bed getting cold for the last three years" said Scrotum taking a large slurp.

"By heck, three years. Does she do owt?" said Seth.

"Course not, she’m just lying there never saying nothing wi’ er gob wide open, catching flies and playing with the rats. Sir Henry says she’m not getting no more grub ‘til she’s eaten the last lot".

Reg Smeeton, smelling strongly of newsprint, patted down the back of his wig.

"Did you know there is no proper name for the back of the knees".

What was left standing of the village band slurred into voice and Old Scrotum, now flushed and enlivened with his seventh mug of scrumpy needed small press to clamber onto a bench for a lively, but crack-throated rendering.

Out in the fields them farmers boys are working hard Sir

Ol Sol scorches bumpkin leathernecks

Our Rosie’s pulling pints down at the Fool and Bladder

Where rustics will relieve themselves of aches

Last night dripping custard on our rhubarb crumble

Now we’re dripping sweat upon the soil

Wake up six and seven, still we mustn’t grumble

Weekends we forget about it all

Singing lay down your spade, draw up your will

Tomorrow comes too quickly

Whistling Mad'moiselle from Armentieres

A wise man know his onions are strong and pickly

Swill ‘em down with dear old Rosie’s beer

The village populace is

Jumping on faces

Catching the javelin

Heading the shot

By 9.30 that evening back at the Great House dinner was finished, and the Rawlinsons and their guests lolled over the blancmange or sprawled back blown out, picking their teeth.

"That was inedible muck and there wasn’t enough of it, blech".

The curry lay heavy on Sir Henry’s stomach like a royal corgi. "Buuuurp".

"I say, how dare you belch in fwont of my wife" squeaked Lord Portly.

Henry yawned. "Sorry old man I didn’t realise it was her turn".

This ungracious rejoinder left Lord Portly stupefied as Dr Watson and to cover his befuddlement he helped himself to a liberal glass of Entre deux Legs.

"If I had all the money I’d spent on drink" observed Henry, "I’d spend it on drink".

Do you know, though I say it myself, I can identify almost any wine from any part of the globe. Lady Philippa, herself already nicely irrigated with horizontal lubricant leered appreciatively across at her husband.

"Oh really" said Henry heaving himself to his feet "then there’s something rather special might like you to try. If you’ll excuse me I’ll just pop down to the catacombs". He left the company abuzz with expectation and in a few minutes returned with a brimming tumbler of amber fluid essence. "I’ve a notion this one’s going to fox you. He glanced meaningfully at Florrie and put his finger to his lips. Florrie understanding immediately went "blibblabbliblabibble".

Lord Portly took the proffered glass and sniffed with deep concentration. "Aah, unusual bouquet" he declared "decidedly not Fwench". He held it up to the light "Mmmh a twifle cloudy, it’s a very fwesh little fellow". Then, with closed eyes he took a large mouthful, swilling it noisily through his teeth, and swallowed. "Yes yes, very fresh 1978 and its… Good grief its… bleeeargh".

Lady Philippa looked aghast as Lord Tarquin Portly spat violently into his finger bowl.

"Well" said Henry, gleefully tugging at his jowl "now you know what it is old bean, question is whose is it ha".

After port they retired to the smoking room and settled round the card table.

"Do you mind if I smoke" asked Lady Philippa plucking an immense Meerschaum pipe and pouch from her crocodile handbag.

"Not if you don’t mind my wife throwing up" grunted Henry.

Nonetheless her ladyship stuffed the bowl with nauseous rum soaked shag called Perrique and lit up. For a leisurely few hours they cheated at cooncan, snap, bezique, bugger your neighbour, and Pope Joan, each five minutes pleasingly punctuated with refills of embalming fluid.

"You know if filthy fingers were trumps" nibbled Florrie "why Henry dear what a splendid hand you’d have".

At this totally unexpected raspberry Sir Henry took umbrage and with a snort he staggered over to the majestic log fire where he swayed with coat tails thrown back showing the whites of his flies before the blaze. He was pulling fearsome bulldog Churchillian scowls in the mirror when Lady Staines, an incorrigible gamester, proposed a hand of quadrille.

"Sir Henry" she burred "would you like to be the fourth man?".

Henry glared with dragon nostriled distaste at her wattled neck, turkey legs, and grotesque tumescent udders.

"My dear Lady" he intoned, crossing the room and leaning close "I wouldn’t even like to be the first man".

Henry set down his goblet and whistled to the great hound stretched on the rug, chewing on an old bandage. Tail wagging, Bonzo padded over and placed his huge grey head on the felt table. Henry chose, then dealt the animal three cards face down. "Good lad, now find the lady". The dog snuffled wetly at Philippa Portly, shook its head sadly, then without hesitation, turned up the Queen of Spades with its tongue.

"I say that’s dashed impressive" peeped Lord Portly letting drop his monocle.

"Balderdash" grunted Henry unkindly "silly old sod gets it wrong nearly two times out of five".

At that moment Hubert, shamefaced, ventured into the room. Henry glowered at his brother, but poor Hubert with all the assurance of a sleepwalker announced that to make up for his past behaviour he would "like to entertain everybody with a bird impression". He began hopping about on one leg. "Chirrup Chirrup Chirrup" he mimicked, winking at the ladies. He then produced a handful of worms from his trouser pocket and with apparent relish stuffed them into his mouth. Pop-eyed, chewing furiously, and flapping his arms, with the pinky tentacles writhing horribly about his chin he advanced "Chirrup Chirrup" to the table.

Lady Philippa opened her handbag, and with heaving shoulders, buried her head in it.

Next time Mrs E the housekeeper has one of her nasty turns and believes herself to be a chicken, but Henry refuses to have her treated saying

"Well, it’s always good to have a supply of fresh eggs".

 

 

Note: Back of the Knees

The proper name for the back of the knees is popliteal fossa.

Vivian Stanshall must have been aware of this as evidenced by this poem he sent Q Editorial Director, Paul Du Noyer:

Distinguished linguists languish

In language of English ease.

In hot pot de "Chambers Revised" they gandered

And butchered in bags of "Nuttall's Standard".

But no flic with the "Shorter Ox. Dic. Of Eng."

Will find an n. sing for the back of the knees.

Poplitic, popliteal: both are adj. for the crease.

The ham remains nameless. This is rather hard cheese -

For stuff without title, it is said, cannot be -

Therefore, necks we have napes, also backbone and bottom,

But back of the knees, friends?

So far - we ain't got 'em."

 

Cabbage Looking In Mufti Part 37

Recorded 18 July 1978, broadcast 25 July 1978 on John Peel
Rawlinson End (Part 37) - Cabbage Looking In Mufti; [NB: Part 37 again!]
including Ginger Geezer, Socks, Stripe Me a Pinky, Fresh Faced Boys, Aunt Florrie
Vivian Stanshall, with Julian Smedley and Pete Moss

 

The story so far.

After the worm chewing outrage, and Philippa Portly’s continued and hysterical nausea, Hubert has been declared definitely off his chump by the Rawlinson family with the sweet exception of Great Aunt Florrie who asseverates her brother-in-law is merely unusual, should be shown kindness "as after all he is well meant and quite the bearded epitome of kindness". He is however ordered to eat alone. Shunned, eschewed, sent to Coventry, and has his boots nailed to the floor so he can’t go out.

Now think ont; dot dot dot.

A baleful greed glint prodigal sun, cast doubt and drear into Concreton Estate, waking as though from the cheerless depths of a boiled cods eye. But in Rawlinson End towers, turrets, and each tiny nostril hair were gilded, as were Sir Henry’s teeth, save the two he’d had carved in Indonesia from hardwood inlaid with mother-of-pearl. It was very very early, and he lay back on his bed attrobilious and fidgety. "Get a shufti on will you?".

He pulled his face Quasimodo as Old Scrotum the wrinkled retainer more vigorously applied the boot polish to his master’s head with an old gout stocking. Working it in well down the neck and thorax almost to the hirsute and gargantuan belly.

"I still reckons would be smarter if Master would let I buff it up a bit. Shiny allus looks dandy".

"For the umpteemth time I’m supposed to be an impecunious jungle bunny not the bonnet of me Rolls".

Scrotum, deaf as a brick wall, hoarse as Black Beauty, grinned.

Don’t you’m worry none about ‘m roses master I’ve been creeping out nights when them aphids is breeding, throw a bucket of cold water over ‘em. They don’t feel like it ar’ter that.

Of the makeup there remained only the tufty wig and the eyes to do. Scrotum held a cork (of which Henry had a great and enjoyably planned supply) to a candle, and the room was sarabande with curlicues of sweetish smoke. Henry’s moustache pomaded stiff and upsweeping was almost Dalinian in corkscrew, his eyelashes and lids were now kohl-candle Sooty and Sweep and he clipped on a pair of huge cylindrical earrings while Scrotum applied a little wood adhesive to his forehead to fix a green sequin. Through the sheer of Henry Rawlinsons stockings his tumescent veins seemed stygian spaghetti.

"Gods teeth, you’ve bought another pair with a seam up the back. Legs don’t have seams". He took a hefty swig of Entre Deux Legs to steady himself. This morning he must remain tranquil as a yogi’s navel. Then he tugged on a lilac knee length tutu over his sandals, fastened it with a gay stomacher, slipped into his mirrored jacket, rammed on his turban, and was perfect.

"Hmmm, now creek off and check the library".

Scrotum wheezed out of the chamber and Henry postured before the glass.

"Mmmh hello Sahib, ooh ah Jam Jambo, Jambo Bwana. Am dis de correct inclination for the Gibberish embassy". He grimaced horribly. "Damn it I look like a, a half wrapped after dinner chocolate".

Scrotum made nine conspiratorial knocks on the bedroom door, and with a final glance to check his seams were straight, Henry padded heavily after the old man, down dusty corridors and close shut rooms wherein Rawlinsons tossed, snoozed, and dreamt of empty. Then down down the back hall staircase where heavy framed Maynards and Rawlinsons glared from time dulled oil, strange headed and fierce, past the billiards room and into the library.

Scrotum shifted a huge button-back armchair to the wall and standing on the arm reached up and removed three books from the almost top shelf. The weighty leather bound Pictorial History of Gargling, Dead Men Don’t Need Haircuts, and Personal Dental Experiences. These three revealed a lever, and with a pull a portion of the shelving swung protesting back to reveal a passage.

"I suggest you get this thing well oiled. If I can manage it every day I’m damned if I see why the doors should stay sober". Without even a cheerio Henry disappeared and was soon swallowed in dark. Lashing at spider webs with his cane, cursing quietly, and kicking at the bristly things scuttling snuffly and blind at his almost naked ankles. The tunnel gave egress in a thick wooded part of Bramblepatch, and after brushing himself off Henry uncovered a well-kept though ancient unicycle he’d stolen from Hubert. This hidden beneath a hide of gorse. It was then he noticed the ladders. Through his black stockings great rakes revealed corpse sunless white and mauve squid chilblain. "Blast". Henry fiddled with his suspenders, tore off the stockings, and from his shoulder bag produced a hip flask of parafino. A quick swig and, resentfully, he poured a little into his palm to make mud. This he smeared from toes to thighs, swearing horribly at the growing light. The mud was not dry before he checked the tyre pressure and balanced against a larch for the off cocked his leg over and with a deep grunt and a push pedalled wildly teetering, uncertain gyroscope rut route, duck, sway, swerve round rathole, heading for the new tarmacadam and evil smelling arterial road to Concreton.

Hubert didn’t bother with boots. Three pairs of socks, and his stilts were quite comfy. He had bells tied to the wooden ends to help him keep time as he strode. "I’m chasing models in the puddles at the poodle doodle doodled on the jigsaw floor. Thank whelks they all have heads of wood. I dread the day I’m understood". Though himself soft spoken it made Hubert laugh to hear other people shouting. This he considered not only healthful but might, if taken to its illogical conclusion, just do away with the hated telephone. So it was not only for speed, far seeing, and stature, that he habitually went on stilts, for also he affected an ear trumpet with the consequence that most stood on tip toe or boxes or jumped up and down to converse with him. Hubert all time craning, straining, cupping his good ear feigning non comprehension and muttering "Pardon", "Come again", "please speak up" and etc. at the same time uncontrollably giggling while his hapless companions empurpled and shrieked. Colloquy with Hubert was tough. He put it about that swans were really giant snorkels and that they betrayed dinosaur leviathans gliding cold-eyed beneath the lake. Even suspicious folk and poachers stayed clear of Rawlinson Pond.

And on sunny days Hubert went angling using tufts of his own hair or beard as bait. This he called Sassooning. He’d been told the lake enbosomed enormous barbels and this translated through his ear trumpet and giggles became anonymous barbers. He wondered how and why these hairdressers stayed submerged for so long and was determined to catch one. He spent painstaking afternoons painting maggots with red and white candy stripes, fixing the wiggly horrors stiff with hair lacquer, but it was a waste of time for white coated and deep beneath the mirror surface…

 

 

(a barbershop quartet sings Stripe Me A Pinky)

Hey ho, hey ho

God bless us

Stripe me a pinky

We will never bite

There’s been many a close close shave

But we slippery uncustomers

Stay safely here-cut dried and happy

Down here underwear

We blow wave perm shampoo

Game and set

Fly-cast away refracted fellow

Forget forget for..

Would you like to see the back of your head Rene

Magritte-ings to you

Bye Bye Bye

Few of Huberts activities went unnoticed by PC Gibbon, the long arm of the law. He had arrested and formerly warned him a few times, especially during Hubert’s genital sundial period, but concluded that (f/x peep peep on his whistle) "De poor man got de head screwed on wrong" and now turned a blind cheek, especially since Florrie had had a little chat with him and mentioned the degradation a conviction would bring down on the family. "De grade Asian" could only mean the notorious rubber runner, one-eyed Chinee Charlie. And although PC Gibbon was himself a West Indian and therefore theoretically a foreigner, he was nonetheless suspicious of Orientals.

He leant against his bike munching a curry goat sandwich and keeping the dormobile home of William ‘Buller’ Bullethead under surveillance. But he dozed off now and then and thought of the islands and Mass, and the pans throbbing, liming, snorkelling. Of his training in chill England, and the letters that dribbled sporadically less and less frequently from Jubilee. The training had been fun, but despite his colour, at six foot five he was unlike the rest.

 

A fresh faced boy in navy blue

Shaven and shorn with shiny shoes

Two O-Levels, five foot eight

The ideal young novitiate

Oh the morning run

Is lots of fun

Specially if it’s raining

We look real sports

In our knee length shorts

Its all part of the training

There’s bags of sweat

And lots of spanking "lots of spanking, that's very English isn’t it"

Oh there’s bags of spit

And lots of swanking

And bromide tea to stop you thinking about anything at all

These happy reminiscings were rudely stopped when Sir Henry, having discarded the unicycle and hidden it emerged callid and fuming from Bramblepatch and at the same time Buller Bullethead, spruce as a spiv, collided and accosted him.

"Hello moosh where’re you off to?"

"You impertinent lout do you know who I am"

"Course not, I tell you what you look like though. What’s your moniker?"

"I’m Sir Henry Rrr, er um I think I’m er Hughbliette"

"That’s nice, I’ll remember that. You some kind of artist?"

"Ye Ye yes. I’m especially fond of the the Michael um, Michael and Jello the two men responsible for the Cistern Chapel. Mike did the figures Jello did the setting. Aubrey Moustachely notorious for his illustration of Shallowmay, the Jewish play by Oscar Peterson. Caravannio the gypsy dauber. Like the moderns too. Jackson Polack the Polish abstractionist, er Avocado Da Vinci and so on. Albrecht Durex the sensitised German woodcutter, strange man made a pinhole every hundred of his editions. Anonymous Bosch the secret Nazi, Vincent vin Rouge, Paul Shazam the Captain Marvel of post impressionism, painted nothing but letters, postcards, parcels. I enjoy surrealism, always listen to Mrs Dali’s Diary etc. etc. Anyway I’m off, I must be off, I’m going to the the the sewerage farm in Concreton there to seek inspiration".

"What, in shit. Blimey you want to take a gander in my gaff, family’s full of it".

"No, this is to do with lumbago".

"Is he an artist and all? Hold on I’ll just roll an oily rag and I’ll join you".

"No no no no no, approach at your peril. I’ve got golly golly or beri beri, or trilby trilby".

"Listen moosh I don’t reckon you’re a proper sambo at all, for starters your bacons are streaky".

"What I I I decidedly is a sambo Sahib, regard these earrings".

"They look like cotton reels chief".

"Cotton reels you lick spittle toad, these are my ancestral eardrums. Listen to am (starts bongo drumming). There I’ve just sent orders to my cousin the Prince".

"Oh Yeah, what for?".

"Er Chateau Gratin, that’s um cat with cheese to you, and pilau rice".

"Are you elephant’s trunk or something?"..

"I am sober as a judge and since I am a magistrate enjoying fair play and punishment in equal and unflinching severity I’d advise you to watch your lingo ere I loudly reflect on your parentage er Bwana".

"Ah no I’ve got you twigged. You ain’t no Sambo. You’re Sir Henry Rawlin-me-blinkin-son sunshine".

"Balderdash I’m Hugh Blee er…"

"Tell you what chief, I’m a man of the world. Don’t suppose your type carry any ready bees in your trolley bag so just make me out a gooses for a monkey and I’ll say no more. Will ya?"

"What you rogue!".

"Then I can slope down the Chapel of Rest for a pigs ear and few mothers".

"You resort to knavery. Why, hear me, I have the strength to wrestle mastodons".

"And Mr and Mrs Dons too governor. But play the white man squire, I turned clickety click last Tuesday, done all me dole on the gollys, I’m boracic honest, spent the week stretched in front of the Marie Curelly without so much as a glass".

"You marble hearted fiend I’ll….". Henry raised his cane then thinking better turned his back on the lout, pulled up his robe and plucked a ruby from his navel, poked it into Bullers grimy claw and with a grunt stumped off. Buller made it to the rubber in moments.

 

Geezer, wot a Ginger Geezer

I nearly had a seizure

When I clocked ‘im in the frog

Spruced up in me piccolo

Me titfer an’ me daisies

Bowling down the rubber with me cherry china Fido.

Rolled an oily rag

Me cherry bread and cheesed

You won’t Adam wot I sees

Some geezer, an ooly ginger geezer

A geezer with a hooter I suppose

I really had to rabbit and pork

To this geezer

Eytie ice cream freezer

Ginger geezer sees y’ around

A diddly-idle-eye-die Geezer..

Some years previous Sir Henry, forced to ride side saddle like Her Majesty because of a painful Conan on the Khyber, with his dauntless trained whelk hounds in pursuit of a vicious servant, determined to apprehend and punish the rascal, fell from his horse near the sewerage works in Concreton. His riding topper blew into the muck and Henry, uncharacteristically, ploughed in high stepping over the revolving sprinklers to retrieve it. Although unhappy about the odour of the ordure he found later, to his surprise, considerable relief from his chronic arthritis and lumbago. So now a monthly visit, in disguise of course, was looked upon with an almost ritual relish.

He was back in the passage, and almost to the library’s priest hole secret door. This was the tricky bit. However the Rawlinson ghost, with its ferocious reputation came in handy if ever Henry was spotted. And his appearance augmented with howls, sent them all, Mrs E included, scurrying. He was musing happily upon this insurance when Henry, to some alarm, noticed a growing phosphorescence in the gloom, and discerned, to his horror, a pair of phantom trousers rushing towards him.

Next time costs four Hail Mary’s, three buttons, and potato crisps are served at communion.

 

Gooseflesh Steps VIVIAN STANSHALL

Recorded 11 December 1979, broadcast 24 December 1979 on John Peel
Rawlinson End - Gooseflesh Steps part 1;
including the Cracks Are Showing
Vivian Stanshall, with John Kirkpatrick (accordion, concertina, jews harp, backing vocals) and Pete Moss

Doctor Headstuffing held the winking scalpel aloft with the delicacy and firmness of a man who knows his job. The shaking had stopped and from the liver bared before the blade, to his noble mind, pulsed a ligament of concentration. He took a quick breath and made a deep lateral incision, skidding through the resentful tissue, slicing the kidneys, scoring the bacon, and puncturing the fried egg. Unabashed he watched the yolk puss swell and seep over the sunny side to skate on to the oily blue willow plate. "Swab" he barked.

Dulcie Headstuffing passed the toast.

Munching with surgeon precision, with a forefinger like a bludgeon he indicated the invitation card, silver edged and printed in haughty copperplate, which snarled at him from the table.

You are asked, it read, to an Eating at Rawlinson End. 9 p.m. sharp. RSVP.

"RSVP" queried Dulcie Headstuffing, "and shall you repondez if you please".

"I do not please" sighed the doctor, "and the abbreviated letters stand for Rawlinson Shall Violently Punish". He looked mournfully at his wife. "You don’t have to attend my dear, they only want me there to man the stomach pump and I know how much that sickens you". He pecked her an antiseptic kiss on the cheek. Tired as he was, his suit was still clean cut as cheese slices and the morning surgery had been unusually heavy. At least fifty villages suffering from Sir Henry’s Blemish.

It was the custom since old Sir Hilary Rawlinson’s cheerful time to reward the serfs with a Christmas florin. There was an arrow slit in the back wall of the great house through which the happy peasants traditionally thrust their hands to receive the kindness. This benevolence was in no way eschewed by kindly Sir Henry, but with one novelty. He ordered the coins made red hot in the stove. This made the bounty less fun to receive, and it was ruffian Dick Ruffly who hit on the idea of wearing mittens. Immediately Henry imposed a glove tax of two and threepence reasoning on the one hand a small profit and in the other at least some screaming to brighten the season of good cheer. But all too soon the mark became the stigmata of heroes, and at Christmas to wear a hand free of Sir Henry’s Blemish showed a weak heart notwithstanding some business sense for Dr Headstuffing charged a tosheroon for his soothing salve. So it set you back a tanner to display daring.

At Rawlinson End much of a postcard Christmas it wasn’t. No jolly coachloads, horses grinning at the bit, no crack of whips and heavy coated Robin Goodfellowes bringing the British sherry over the ice. Above a charcoal stick scape of wish wash and rain hues, clouds like a cough hawked threatening big spits and awful gobbing and any amount of unseasonal nasty, and this sky had teeth and gripped Rawlinson in dreadful jaws of frost. Hubert heard it.

The cracks are showing

The cracks are showing

Listen to the loonies who

While the Man in the Moon

That they left behind

Is rising in the East

Hey ha ho the way things are

The clocks are bearing their teeth

Tick grandfathers tock

Time for time to flash her dazzling dentures

Hey ha ho the way things are

The cracks are showing

The cracks are showing

The cracks are …

But preparations for the Eating were well underway. In the grounds deep trenches were dug with poles slung across and a choice of news- or sand-paper. And logs were hewn for the great bonfire by the lake.

In the house commodes, pos, pottys, and discreet piles of sawdust were dumped at strategic places in deference to the vast excretion and deluge of waste product to come. All this clanking, chopping, and whistling made something of a dent in Sir Henry’s slumber edition of Africa, and insect wire wine both horizontal and insistent in the negritude of cranial self, bone cavern of limitless egos, ears resisting epaulettes on the id, but noisy crashing intelligence’s found sphincter exit like cracked worms, yith yith yith.

"Mind you I spared the poor beasts from the endangered species list, ha, I shot ‘em, they’re extinct.".

For Sir Henry waking up was not a welcome way of beginning the day.

"Camped in the shadow of those old fierce Gods, camp fires seemed to make ‘em dance".

Henry yawned like a woman stretching. Bleary eye on tip toe to todayness.

"And then the golden stool of the Ashanti. Had to run for it ha ha".

Mrs E appeared in the doorway.

"Did I hear you mention stools dear?"

"What" Henry writhed in the harshness of now.

"You see I can tell a lot by looking. They should float dear, your movements".

"How can I move, shrapnel, bayonets, spear, poisoned arrow what what".

"Breakfast dear" sniffled the housekeeper "fried or fried?".

"Bring me meat burned like St. Joan and vicious mustards to pierce the tongue like Cardigans Lancers" roared Henry. "May God make you fart. Get out".

Mrs E withdrew like an embittered snail.

Henry ruefully examined his body, bruised from a rather clumsy night of the night before. It was then that he noticed at the base of his stomach, great swaddled hillock, what appeared pitched a perky throbbing tent. This was so unusual he at first feared rigor mortis, but madam memory’s five lovely daughters jerked him to rhinoceros attention. With gawping incredulity, nothing in the foetid tunnels of his body did he more abhor. He snatched a riding crop and thrashed his impertinent member into limp submission. It was then that he heard the creaking and the heavy feet of eventful Humbert, dead Humbert.

Henry woke up proper, and cold.

Humbert Humbert

How can he go out now

Henry doesn’t care a toss

Trousers jodhpurs

Easy breezes

Anything he comes across

Up jumped the trousers

And they ran around the guests

At least they didn’t make a smell

For that we must be blessed

Heave ho looking for our strides

If you barbecue your barnet

Chops suicide

And when I find a pair to fit my dreams

I’ll walk my dog

I’ll wow wow wow

On yer lamppost

And upright folk they will say

Maybe he’s me that dog

He was like me

Because the bulldogs stumped

Next time… Swinemanay, and you will know why Henry shot his brother,

and how the ghost of Humbert got laid.

 

Crackpot at the End of the Rainbow VIVIAN STANSHALL

Recorded 23 February 1988, broadcast 18 April 1988 on John Peel
Rawlinson End - The Crackpot at the End of the Rainbow;
including Florrie's Waltz, Under the Sea
Vivian Stanshall, with Pete Moss (piano, drums, accordion),

Kenny Baldock (bass) and Dave Swarbrick (violin, mandolin)

(Sir H) "Strap me to a tree and call me Brenda!"

 

For the last nine years Rawlinson End endured. But like the maze that grew before the great house its inhabitants were pickled, corkscrewed, maddened and without light. And in this sunless hole overweaning ivy’s reached, wrung their hands, and throttled wisdom. Tunnels of ignorance and fear closed in lucifugous clammy coitus. Only nightmare and dismay grew beards. But beneath the Indian arm-wrestling vines, in the embittered shadows good humour and song squeaked tiny green defiance, and as a blade of grass will crack the pavement the stench of "So What" rotted away like forgotten waistcoats, and here we are again.

Imagine a wanderer of the deep, cold, dulled, a crowsnest sailor stretching his vision over a limitless sea, lost through fog and sleeplessness, buffeted and hopeless, half dead, might imagine he saw, like a squinting mirage, landfall. Land Ho and home. Look down, now imagine you see through the dark and purple breasty waves deep, a hologram of fishes, deep, a swimming mirror, deeper, and in it the kitchen of Rawlinson End twilighted.

"He sidled up to me" said Mrs E "and he said he said I’ve got to keep rubbing up against things because of my disease. I said do you mind. He said he liked rubbing up against trees because the juice in the bark stops it from spreading. Well I’m an ordinary woman dear. Am I wrong? Well when he woke up in the middle of the night screaming to tell me that David Attenborough was walking through his chest hairs, well that’s how he explained the droppings, well he called them spore and fumettes, I said fancy names my eye, I said from now on we’re having separate beds".

The single shadeless light bulb was so stuck with horrified flies and fat it seemed to glow through a drunkards cheek. It salamied the table in red speckles and shone of cosiness, and it took the sharp edge off things and that’s nice. For if it were possible to buy a dark bulb, that is to say a bulb giving 60 watts of darkness, just strong enough to turn day into night, that would be the bulb, Mrs E the housekeeper of Rawlinson End, would prefer. She was peeling voles into a bucket and she fix eyed intently at a grimy manual entitled How To Cook Everything You Have Killed. "Christmas present this here book mmmh, got it from that nice old Mrs Bladderknot whats got that nice lovely cottage down in Wankers Grunge".

"Aar, hohum" agreed Scrotum "and she’s a kind woman too, she’m always uses luke-warm water to drown her kittens hohum". Mrs E nodded happily. Her companion Old Scrotum the wrinkled retainer hawked up a bouquet garni and lobbed it into the bucket. He sucked horribly at his pipe. "You sure you got to chew’em first?"

"It says so here dear. Books don’t lie. Can’t I read. Look hm meadow pot pourried hm".

"Aar Popery is it, well you’ll be needing a po for he and a po for she and a couple of spare pos just to be on the safe side ar’ter this lot. I reckon this muck’ll go through faster that a pint of rhubarb wine ha her hum".

A bell jangled distantly above and then through the speaking tube connecting the master bedroom to the scullery kitchen came Sir Henry’s morning bellow. "Mrs E". And Sir Henry’s morning breath. A dense yellowish gas compounded of rum, rollmops, and curried eggs burfed from the speaking tube in a throttling cloud.

"Pooh" poohed Scrotum and he struck a match, there was a blue explosion, a thud, and a scorching methane fire flashed up the pipe.

The Master of Rawlinson End, blear eyed and in a turmoil of troubled sheets and a quiz game of quilts managed to douse his burning moustaches in a bedside glass of Embalmers Infamous Whiskey, and he fell back on his smeared pillows scorched from lips to larynx. He concluded that either he was suffering "tremendous stress oh great thou art" or something had gone very bonko with the respiratory system of the house.

In the pipes

In the pipes

Scrotum had effected this wheeze several times in the past but Henry never suspected. And so when Mrs E slipper slivered to the door and thrust her unpleasant turtle head into the room, "yeth". Henry ordered a breakfast of kidneys, kedgeree, blood sausage, and a bottle of port without thinking and ordered Scrotum summoned. "Mmmh chop chop, and bring me a plumbous plumber pacey pacey mmmh".

That afternoon the wind blew stretchmarks on the stomachy water of Rawlin Pond, and the clouds moved like the glance of an expiring cod away from Rawlinson End and loitered over the grey stalks of Concreton Estate, window city, in the distance, blast it. The sun stuck its tongue out, had a little lick, liked it, and blew hot raspberries. Over the hazy blue fields Concreton responded in glints, its flasher tower blocks semaphoring filthy words, b-u-m, k-n-i-c-k-e-r-s, minarets in raincoats, and people lived in them, poor people.

We are indivisible

Totally ourselves

Oh its murder living next door

We are individuals

Totally ourselves

Mostly we do not agree at all

Listen to the neighbours

Oh its murder living next

Oh its murder living next door

The day had a burning foreign menace to it, and nothing to do with England. England cowered, it looked all wrong and embarrassed in that light. The vanishing air sneered.

Great Aunt Florrie, still beautiful, in a gauzy crumple of lace and a cream spilth of chiffon clattering with jet, stood sipping lemon tea in the conservatory. She stared through the inexplicably jam smeared windows, over the rockery, over the sloping womanly lawn, over the rusty chestnuts, southeastwards to the winking, flashing obscene minacity of Concreton.

"That is the future and Henry says it hates us. Oh dear."

(sound of distant gunshots)

At that moment a wild eyed man with matted red hair dashed across the lawn and El Greco’d himself before unflappable Florrie.

"Sanctuary Sanctuary" he implored. Florrie smiled sweetly through the glass.

"Oh I’m afraid the ground is too too cold and hard to consider a proper burial at this time of the year" she cooed. "Couldn’t you wait for the thaw, no? You could bury your face in your hands, it would be a start. And I’ve never seen that done hmm? It’s a pity you’re not a Hindu because I’m sure we could spare a few logs".

The man shuddered, his face corrugated in anguish, and he rushed sobbingly towards the lake tearing off his clothes. The unnervingly rapid thud thud thud of the rifle sounded closer now, and sharper.

"Tra la" trilled Florrie "Sir Henry Rawlinson fighting a courageous retreat against overwhelming rabbits". She yawned delicately and Mrs E nudged past her carrying a large wicker basket and a boat hook.

"You’re not getting enough sleep dear. Now my old man he was tormented tormented mmmh.

I used to massage his head, then I’d give him a high velocity shock, nothing nasty dear, its only the ‘lectric I’d say, you can’t see it. Well that got him off dear, one zzzzp and he was gone haha ooh just like child, lovely, no trouble, he was no trouble".

"Oh what need have I of sleep when all about me walk as in a dream".

"Oh you’re lucky dear, you’re out of your misery me whohoho Ooh I haven’t got the energy to fall asleep".

Mrs E grinned as maniacally sincere as a Muswell Hill estate agent and slithered out into the garden past a giant ornamental pyramid of sparking pink granite. The pyramid was topped with a large curious stone egg, like a seal with a beach ball. It was one of old Sir Hilary’s many follies, and if it had once any meaning it was now forgotten. Florrie poured herself another cup and followed into the garden.

Welthing, belthing with a great stamping of boots, Sir Henry appeared and staggered towards her. In that stark sunlight his topi and shorts looked marvellously correct. As usual he was shouting "SCROTUM". Lobster faced and furious Henry flung away his rifle and collapsed on a bench. For a long moment he flopped motionless breathing like an unsuccessful rapist.

"Good shoot darling?".

"Grrrrrrr" She rubber stamped a little peck on his slippery nose.

"rrr, rrrrr Well I culled the herd so to speak, but a lot of ‘em got away the buggers. You’d think all that brown ale they’d guzzled ‘d slow ‘em down but".

"Henry I didn’t know you could be so hard".

"All in a days work. SCROTUM"

Suddenly at that moment a trouser burstingly beautiful girl in bikini and rubber boots twitched and tangoed from the shrubbery clicking a savage pair of garden shears to her own private and moist rhythms.

"Henry you’re blushing".

"Nonsense, I’ve recently been upside down. Just the blood returning to my head. Um, Hello " mating-called Henry. The girl waved.

"What are you doing?".

"I’m into computers".

"Oh".

"Do you like computers?"

"Nope".

"You can do whatever you like with a computer".

"Hmmm. Damn". Why do these creatures have to speak. No. Did Aphrodite belch? No. Did Isis play the banjo? No…. Good Oh, carry on".

Scrotum appeared with three glasses of parafino. Henry drained the first at a gulp, then the second, and, like a giant refreshed "Who um er " he gestured at the girl buttocking, mooching, shimmer fleshed swaying past the pyramid towards the Victory Garden.

"She’m a student master. Put her up in old Cumberpatch’s Lodge".

"Hmm, well she’s very tanned. She got any Creole blood?".

"Ooaarrr, she keep a lot of bottles on her dresser. I dunno what’s in ‘em".

"Hmm".

"Speaking of bottles Henry dear, I do wish we could have the milk delivered".

"Gods teeth I don’t want to see any more fellers in white coats marching up the drive thank you very much".

In the harsh paralysing light, as stilling as striplight and searches like remand prison or in Sainsburys where it is always day, the garden was stock-still. The red-hot sun roared and bristled like an argument of goldfish and intensed on the pyramid, on the stone egg.

"Oh well, the equinox nosh tonight and the big Spring doo dah hohum"

"And Doris and Boris are popping over, and the Reverend Sloddon"

"Well it’s always a good blow-out. I love eating. And drinking. SCROTUM, so long as its curry again. Fear not, I have already several toilet rolls in the fridge. Is it curry?"

But Florrie was transfixed "it’s a secret dear, Shhh. I know I’m silly but will you look at that egg". The egg was shuddering. "I believe there’s something in it"

"Nonsense, its been there since my father came back from Cairo in 1888".

There was a humming then a very tall angular man gangled towards them, he carried a canvas bag that exhaled a breath of lavender and drains. "I am Mrs Giraffe come to see about your tubes"

"Good Oh. Carry on".

In the pipes

You get lots of nasty noises

In the pipes

But just then the stone egg began to rock, toppled, bounced on the side of the pyramid, and cracked open on the lawn. And from it, upright on two uncertain legs stepped a large green reptile.

Mrs Giraffe: "Mezozoicsaurian".

It turned its unblinking beaky head to the sun and opened its mouth, Kraaak. The creature was swathed in a pale yellow membranous cloak, and it shrugged and tugged at it until it ripped, and then was revealed almost the most beautiful thing Florrie had ever seen.

"Oh Henry it’s so pretty". The animal skin dazzled like magic carpet.

Henry roused himself to his feet "Well strap me to a tree and call me Brenda" .

"Scientific miracle" hollowed the plumber.

The reptile sparked in purple, turquoise, emerald, and gold, and thrilled with life.

Mrs Giraffe: "Its iguanadon, could be Jurassic"

Henry: "A Red Sea pedestrian, well that settles it"

Mrs Giraffe: "More likely Cretaceous"

Henry: "What, a ruddy Greek, the bugger, they’ll eat all the roots and berries you know".

Florrie: "Oh Henry"

"What, the tenants might starve"

Mrs Giraffe: "Iguanadon is extinct"

Henry: "And rightly so, egg stinking buggers, they’ll ruin an orchard, SCROTUM".

The creature was now alarmed by the shouts, turning its head and flicking its tail.

Henry: "SCROTUM".

Mrs Giraffe: "Sir Henry I don’t think you understand this animal lived seventy million…"

Henry: "I understand very well indeed. There is only room for one dinosaur at Rawlinson End, SCROTUM".

But the old man was already at his master’s side, his fez rammed tight, his face taught with anticipation holding out the rifle.

"Go on master knock him to Ballyheck"

"If I want your opinion I’ll thrash it out of you".

Mrs Giraffe, the plumber, was oblivious. Giddy with enchantment. Giggling.

"Its simply impossible"

"Oh I don’t know" chuckled Henry, "it’s a longish shot".

Florrie: "Henry No"

Mrs Giraffe: "No".

But it was too late.

(Bang).

Next time the fate of the very last dinosaur.

The secrets and the truth in the pipes, and a very great Eating at Rawlinson End.

 

 

The Eating at Rawlinson End

Recorded 9 August 1988, broadcast 23 November 1988 on John Peel
The Eating at Rawlinson End
Vivian Stanshall, with Pete Moss, Dave Swarbrick, Tony Roberts and Danny Thompson

In the blue wardrobe of heaven are many unused clothes, too tight fitting yet too beautiful to throw away. And in that wardrobe we hang our likenesses, yellow diaries yellowed with yesterday, thumb smeared with tomorrow. But the now, the present, like the hollow screech of ancient flamingos in search of shrimps, is still vibrantly shocking pink.

The afternoon was the colour of bruises and beneath it, like a wounded snail, Rawlinson End slept in a fretful tight-eyed knot. And yet, not a mile away, awake alive thumping and well after closing time, with unsmiling go-away windows, stood the Fool and Bladder. It looked very shut but it wasn’t.

Sitting upright and silent on the bum-smoothed benches drinking were Rodney Bladderknot, Dr Hatringer, and Three-Waistcoats LeFevre. But slumped and groaning over his scrumpy Old Scrotum the wrinkled retainer was unthawing, recovering from a freezing night in the graveyard of Rawlinson End spent uselessly on resurrection duty. But the dead of Rawlinson End, buried upright to save space, remained disappointingly dead.

"Waste of good drinking time" grumbled Scrotum "I thought one of ‘em had come back one night but it were a mole so I bashed him one. I thought it were old Repentance Pimple come back to haunt us but no".

Repentance Pimple had won the heart of Sir Henry, and a place in the family graveyard, for his remarkable ability to castrate lambs with his three remaining front teeth.

"Ha har, he was a resourceful man, grew his thumb nails long to get the maggots out of them as needed it arrr".

A crackling zazzle of dying sunlight starked the fields and fired the rusty tassel of Scotum’s fez.

"Ahchoo." Scallywagging back home the old man noticed tiny straggles of refugees and heard distant riflefire, and he knew that Sir Henry was already up and culling the herd.

"Oh gawd I’m late". And cock-eyed a leggity over a style he white rabbity tipsily towards Rawlinson End.

You’ll have a nervous breakdown

Sure as eggs is eggs

You’ll have a nervous breakdown

Sure as eggs is eggs

In the green dismaying shadows, dark furred night crouched like a jungle at the edge of uncivilisation then sprang and tore at the stone flesh of Rawlinson End. But in her soft turreted boudoir great aunt Florrie was gazing apprehensively towards the mirror.

"Would you mind peeking first my dear, just in case its already occupied" she said to Mrs E.

Mrs E glared boldly into the glass.

"Its quite uninhibited, its empty dear".

"Oh goody" murmured Florrie with relief "its its almost like prying isn’t it and I do so hate to disturb things, it can be thought very rude".

"Well its all clear dear", Mrs E slopped off down to the kitchens.

Florrie began to hum to herself

"Henry is such a goose, he has delusions of gander. Oh I must remember to say that this evening".

Appearances are so misleading

The loony bins would overflow

If everybody knew our secret

The quiet that the spider knows

Take your trousers off and soak ‘em

All the night in Dali glue

Can’t you see the laughing faces

Englishmen would form a queue

Quiet that the spider knows

It was a fine purple evening and for the great do the dining hall of Rawlinson End was decked with a festival emblazonry of Spring, and Rawlinson End being quite the quiddity of Englishness, a large unnecessary fire had been lit.

This night the company traditionally included a poor stranger sore buffeted by life, and this year the lucky devil was the sore buffeted Ben Quakebuttock the blind poacher. His crimes all forgotten on this day of rejoice. Somewhere in the house Ben, the whole top half of his head obscured with a fancy knotted rag, was very drunk and lost.

"Hello…Hello…I’m very excited … Hello…"

The dinner table boasted daffodils on green linen with artistically arranged clods of soil. The napery was shaped like a fig leaf and beside each rainbow-coloured plate was a potato shaped like a penis with a candle stuck in the end.

Great Aunt Florrie glided to her place at the foot of the table. In the quivering fidgety orange of the candlelight she looked very beautiful. She stared at her rearing potato. "Well what do you think Mr Sloddon?".

But the Rev. Mr Sloddon, clergyman defrocked, exorcist and ex Broadmoor, was transfixed staring at Henry’s younger brother Hubert who was plinking a ukulele and buzzing.

(Hubert plinks and buzzes)

Hubert, in his mid forties and still unusual, had plaited his beard with the sloughed skins of grass snakes and had sequinned his eyebrows in two green Gary Glittering arcs of permanent surprise. Hubert leaned close to Mr Slodden and said this.

In Tibet the llamas step

With ballerina toes

They only stop

When their heads go pop

Or if they need to blow their nose

Mr Slodden sneezed - tish.

Mrs E poured him another glass of port. "Do you suffer with stubborn stains dear?".

"I I keep myself as an empty vessel for God to fill as he will".

"Then you must like pond fruit" cooed Florrie "I used to collect it as a child. And do you too like boats Mr Slodden?".

"I do ma’am for as the Good Lord said it saves such a lot of walking. I know, I know a lovely hymn, I learned it on my missionary travels. I was telling this story of the crucifixion to a party of Mongolian bandits and.." gulping his drink Mr Sloddon, his false leg squeaking, hobbled himself to the harmonium and fumbled a few uplifting chords.

"They loved this one, er the bandits" he burbled. As he pumped the pedals his cassock rode up to reveal that his grey sock on the wooden leg was attached with drawing pins.

Hubert made up the words.

He’s walking on the water

Spreading his light

He raises up a dead man

Makes him feel alright

I can see him coming

Spreading his light

Spreading his light all about

When your ship is sinking

He’s the bung in your punt

When you can’t find your keyhole

Hooray for Holman Hunt

He even works at weekends

He’s never out to lunch

He’s spreading his light all about

In a nighty made of poplin

Spreading his light

The shepherd played Scott Joplin

All through the night

Squeezing on his organ

Spreading his light

And clinging to his old rugged cross

Get that good mans hair cut

Spreading his light

All you can say is there

but for the grace of God go I

I can see him waiting

For you to say goodbye

Spreading his light all about

Mr Slodden confessed himself taken a "trifle short" and, wincing faced with the shortness of it, he asked if he might visit the laváttery.

"The laváttery? Gods teeth man, call it the bog and be done." Ahchoo. With a tremendous sneezing Sir Henry yawped and roared into the dining room "Whoa. Blast".

"Zebras master" called Scrotum.

Henry put his arm about Mr Slodden and leered kindly. "Huh, I like to vacate the premises myself before a blow-out. I’ll go with you". Henry snatched up a candle from his huge potato and held it aloft. "It’s a bit tricky in the dark but where there’s a willy there’s a way. I say, you don’t want to toss the caber do you huh? I should think not. Well, follow on to the "laváteries".

Soon throaty flushings reverberated through the house, and shouts. There are communal toilets or laváteries, at Rawlinson End. Six privies with no privacy at all, no curtains, no shyness, all in a draughty stone-flag cellar.

It was, Sir Henry said "a great leveller" but no more of that.

When Henry returned, his arm still about the trembling Mr Slodden, he had in tow poor blind Ben who was "very excited", and was followed by the mournful hound Bonzo who was adorned with a toilet roll round his neck like a mountain rescue dog.

"Generally speaking" said Henry sitting down heavily "when I’ve eaten something I don’t want to see it again". He wiped his hands down the sides of his coat. "How about yourself Slodden? Fussy are you?" Slodden winced. "You look fussy" burfed Henry. Henry looked at his nails "Brrrr, will our rivers never be clean?"

Slodden, with the drained face and palsied hands of a self-abuser, gulped at his port.

"Refinement is a thing of the past really. Scrotum pass the er…"

Scrotum pushed a dimple-mug brimming with whisky to his master.

"Thank God for the English Channel. Build more ships and more ships, fortify Dover and"

"Fortify wine" croaked blind Ben who was displaying a thirst quite as vacuum sucking as Sir Henry’s. "Blowed if I know. But I’m very excited."

"Zebras" said Scrotum knowingly.

Henry sneezed. Ahchoo.

"God bless you" remarked Mr Slodden.

"Don’t bless me yer damned druid. I know where I’m going when I’ve shrugged off my mortal coil and it won’t be up there. Properly embalmed every man may be his own statue and monument."

"Oh Henry" said Florrie sharply "sometimes I think there’s something wrong with you."

"I’ll tell you what’s wrong with most people. They are not like me. That’s the problem hmmm."

But Scrotum was innocent of metaphysical insight and he thrust his quarried old face close to his masters. "Do you remember this’m master. When you’m was a lad I used to put a drop of dark rum in your milk and sing you’m to sleep arrr."

The old man took off his old fez and raised his red old eyes.

I would pick the locks of heaven for you master

If they tried to close them pearly gates on thee

For my time in purgatory would go faster

Knowing you was in the club where drinks is free

For I'd serve unswerving in your service I would serve

Knowing you was on first names with Nazarene

You’d say JC now what’s yours

He’d say Sir Henry let me pour

And he’d keep you topped up for eternity

Ha har

"You weepy ingratiating old fraud take that (f/x biff). Such loyalty is rare in these degenerate times."

Hubert stuffed his pockets with cheese from the sideboard and left the room.

(Hubert plays the ukulele )

In his own quarters he was the curator of a grand mouseum.

With the master now seated the first course was, of course, soup served in china beakers. It was called spring consommé, a cold greenish soup with live tadpoles swimming in it, and everybody had to wear blindfolds.

It was fun to let them wriggle on your tongue before swallowing ‘em.

"Haw haw (gargle) mmmh, I’ve got a lively fellow in me hahaha mmmh".

It was fun too that Old Scrotum traditionally popped a great diving beetle or somesuch into at least one of the beakers to lively things up a bite.

Then came the main course. And I must say that with a garnish of wild flowers strewn on the steaming top of it the meadow pot-pourri looked rather delish. It was fun too to guess what you were eating.

"Good God, parts of these ferrets are crunchy. What’s up with you old man, not eating?

Not a ruddy vegetablarian are you?".

Mr Sloddon looked positively saintly, like a condemned man taking his last naked bath under the beady scrutiny of warders, saying farewell to his precious body, scrubbing the sins of the world from his innocent obedient flesh. "I am thinking of becoming a vegan" he murmured.

"Well you certainly got a vegan expression on your face haha. Pass the hot African sauce.

You’ll you’ll you’ll um have some salad then" said Henry lolling as gracious as Nero.

Reverend Mr Sloddon eyed a perfectly innocuous bowl of greens and nodded eagerly.

"Hope you like garlic" breathed Henry with a breath that would make pine stripping a thing of the past. "and a little dressing of course". He snapped his fingers at Scrotum who pulled the cork out of a nauseous looking bottle of dark rum.

"Pour it on McDuff, hah no need to toss a Rawlin salad" chortled Henry. And he was right for in seconds the salad began to heave violently, and to Reverend Sloddons horror dozens of large caterpillars made their maddened escape from the lettuce, throwing themselves onto the table and whooping off in all directions. Some of them were screaming help me, help me. Reverend Sloddon fainted and slumped into his curry.

"Damned alcoholics, they can’t hold their drink you know, they just drink it".

Henry unpocketed a large tin of Wrigleys patent footpowder from his waistcoat and snuffed a great pinch of it. (Cough)

"Just hope he doesn’t burst into flame, lot of ‘em do that you know, alcoholics".

"Spontaneous combinations they call it Master" grinned Old Scrotum.

"Poor Mr Sloddon, but we’d put him out wouldn’t we?" said Florrie.

"Aar we would too ma’am" said Scrotum happily, fingering his expectant trousers.

(Music - bridge)

Next time much more eating at Rawlinson End, more of resurrection duty and the bursting of the coffins, plus the late heavy arrival of Doris Hazard and her heavy husband Boris wearing a scenic shirt. Also blind Ben Quakebuttock mistakes two blancmanges for a woman with horrible results.

(Music - Theme)

"I’m very excited"… "help" …."I’m very excited"…

Cackling Gas Capers

Recorded 6 April 1991, 29 May 1991 broadcast on John Peel
Cackling Gas Capers;
including Octavio, Tour De Farce, Achmedillo, Peristaltic Waves
Vivian Stanshall, with Dave Swarbrick, Tony Roberts, Danny Thompson, Rodney Slater, Roger Ruskin Spear, Henry Lowther, John Megginson and Les Cirkel

Exhausted egg yolk sun yawned and hoisted itself through the smug green smog wafting from telly-fuddled Concreton Estate. It split dawned, smearing the sky like the yellowy stain round the bathplug. Resentful the early frost faded like a sour faced wedding photo from the sullen snoozing face of Rawlinson End and elfin sunshine danced, gilded each wart and wrinkle on the back of its neck.

But the beard of the house, the Pickle or great maze was in deep shadow. The Pickle commissioned by old Sir Hilary had been designed by Incapability Brown, and its scratchy intricacies would baffle a rat. Of hawthorn, boxwood, chokecherry, blackthorn and dogwood it had long ago collapsed upon itself or overgrown to form lightless tunnels, and folks began to say that folks had died in there. They had.

Sir Hilary arranged for a priest to travel from Idlewater to consecrate the ground, and this gentleman entered the Pickle with holy water, hosannas, a corned beef sandwich, a terrier, a supply of aniseed and a ball of string. He was never seen again. After Brown’s death the maze grew even more ominously scruffy as none could be persuaded to enter the Pickle for the trimming of it. Years later when Sir Henry became master of Rawlinson End the only sign kept fresh painted on the estate was This Way In at the entrance to the Pickle. And Sir Henry was at his ingratiatingly persuasive best when exhorting creditors or relatives to take "the pretty route" to the house.

And it was here too, in the Pickle, that for the first few months of its monstrous lonely adolescence the dinosaur Sir Henry had shot hid until it was strong enough to limp into the woods fringing Rawlin Pond. The creature grew and grew. This time Jack really did sell the cow for five magic beans. At first it consumed only plants, but as its size increased it trampled shrews, rabbits, old dogs, and the odd unfortunate sleeping it off peasant. They were squidged. Women shivered by the hearth waiting for their men to come home, their men never did. Only the sad roars of the sauropod informed them that a fiend, other than Sir Henry, was loose in the grounds.

And the fear of fear crouched vulture, knowing, impatient, hyena wary and waiting. And terror hung like black kites draped on the breathless thermals. In this shocked greenhouse only the drug companies and breweries flourished. As in any battle, be it of nerves or knives, for so fast as Dr Headstuffing might prescribe a kindly word and a tranquilliser, so Mein Host and hearty Seth Onetooth could dispense a twiceness of scrumpy in a twinkle mug, with a rough laugh.

It was from the Archimedian sprirals and cul de sacs of the paralogic Pickle that Hubert got the good idea of being, at least part time, a mole. His bedroom on the first floor at the back of the house peeped over the feminine green lawns to the chestnuts, and if he craned to the right, in the distance floated the fabulous grey flat threat of Concreton Estate.

Concreton did always seem closer, Burnham Wood come to Dunsinane.

Hubert: "Veni vidi vempi, I came, I saw, I concreted it all over".

Hubert didn’t crane often. He was pinning sheet of blotting paper over his windows because he believed it trapped and absorbed the energy of the sun. Each night he would take down the blotting paper and squeeze a "little bit of cosy" into his room, then he would snuggle into his hammock and dream of being invisible and asleep. He never slept. Hubert was unusual.

Mrs E was staggering back from the village with a bathtub of milk when from out of the springy thicket Scrotum flicked a thingey. "Har" "Eughh, what is it?".

"It’s a thingey ma’am hahar".

"Well I don’t like it, and you can laugh, there is a thingy in Rawlinson End. Half of the village is out of its wits".

"What about the other half?"

"The other half, they’ve gone to see Sir Henry, reckon he’s got the ‘ealing hands, just got to touch ‘em".

"Gawd, you should take an holiday or something, go stay with that nice Mrs Stretch down by Wankers Grunge".

Scrotum stuffed the thingy into his pipe and sucked up a moist poo of shag. "Aarrr hmmhmmm".

"Stay with her, have you gone barmy? Nice? Gawdammit she’s a bloomin’ awful woman, she never boils her flannels, specially after her Jack died. Now he was a lovely man and I know how she got him too hmmm. Course he could charm the ladies, tell jokes, play the banjo, yes. Jack was a fine figure of a man, he was very fond of rope."

Henry awoke on the billiard table with his nose on the pink spot, his monocle had strayed to the black spot and it stared at him. "Good God if you’re my wife what are you doing underneath me?" Pulled himself away from the unwinking creature and in so doing discovered a rollmop in the corner pocket. "Blech, women." He decided not to eat it.

"Always something wrong in their eyes, sliding down oily rainbows, getting grey damn it, can’t do this much longer". Henry got to his feet as though he were collecting his body from a pilfered skip. He felt like a very raped dustbin. "Traded my feet for radiators, I suppose that’s why women are so anxious to get married to me."

Florrie drifted into the billiard room with a rather guilty smile "Why Henry dear I…".

"No you didn’t, been up to the box room to gawp at Hubert’s portrait I suppose. You still in love with my dead brother? Disgusting. Ooh I feel a bit queasy this morning, I think I’ll have a soothing pint of crème de menthe, settle the stomach."

"A truly marvellous man Henry. Will you have an olive with that?"

"No, a couple of pickled onions will do me just to be on the safe side. Scrotum. Marvellous? Humbert? He was a ruddy freak. Caught him naked once admiring himself in the mirror, looked like the letter h. Bad enough having a giant in the family, but a satyr!"

"He was a marvellous ventriloquist Henry"

"Well he put on one hell of a performance at his memorial service. Rigor Mortis, rot. My mother nearly fainted away when the coffin lid flew off. Even the choir had to cover their mouths to stem the vomiting."

"But Mr Slodden did light a candle on it."

"First candle I’ve seen that could blow itself out, (gulp) went straight through the chapel roof. Then I had to call a surgeon with a mallet to bang the ruddy thing down before we could nail the lid (gulp). And I’m damn sure it was Hubert doing all that ventriloquist open the box and (gulp) let me out stuff on the way to the grave. Most upsetting for a man of my resp..sensibilities (fart). Scrotum. Neither of them had much upstairs, my brothers. Used to play horseshoes and hoopla with each other when they were boys. Too horrible to imagine."

"Oh I’ve got photographs to prove it."

"Gods Gruyere cheese you still love my brother!"

"Oh yes dear, and my love died slowly like a struggling wasp in a mug of too sweet tea."

"Seems to me you’re in need of treatment. Mmmh yes, I have all the confectionery makings of a fine psychiatrist. Well I’m no stranger to fits and seizures of all brands and I know the wormy secrets of the grave and the depraved. Compassionate, tolerant, and since I am myself normal in every respect I can use myself as a yardstick against which I will measure the less fortunate."

Scrotum wheezed himself into the room, his fez askew "Sorry I be late master, reckon I had a bit of a stroke on the way after here".

"A stroke, you stinking squid. If I find anything untoward or sticky I’ll…. Well just take (biff) that anyway, just in case. Now the thing is I feel a bit queasy this morning so waddle off and take a peepo at me do’s, see if its anything I’ve eaten."

"Right ho master. I’ll whip down to the kitchen for an egg whisk and a colander."

"Well make sure you wash ‘em first. I don’t want any queering of the evidence."

"Ah righty ho hmm hmm"

"Then I want you to pop down to the village and buy me a beard, a Ping-Pong table, a can of red paint and a pickaxe. I intend to become a psychiatrist. Oh, and some drugs, a couple of sacksfull of assorted should do for the mo. "

"Right oh master"

"Mrs E"

The now huge diplodocus had toppled unwittingly several towers relaying television plasma, and the starving inmates of Concreton were at the mercy of their unfed imaginations. And despite the reassurances of

"High Rise Radio Concreton - we block your waves with air"

that air drops of valium, videos, and vibrators were

"on their way to brighten your day"

the brutish bewildered populace rioted in Pompeiian tumult. Horrible to hear were the yelps of the looting dispossessed. Here we go, ‘ere we’re going, off to sunny Spain, oi oi oi, y viva Walgana, and the shrieks of the elderly as they were ambushed by brigands and robbed of their sleeping pills and inhalers.

Inarticulate lorries carrying condoms and bondage equipment to the beleaguered of Concreton too felt the chill of it and pulled over into Cardigan Bligh bays cowered in lay-bys sulking able only to grunt and honk. They steeled themselves unseeing and unseeable. And in an act of unprecedented statesmanship the Mayor declared an end to closing time and also a Happy Hour at chemist shops, but it didn’t help.

In the Fool and Bladder rough defiant English wartime humour.

Scrotum: "Nobody ever saw it could know the why or the what for. I’m not a man what’s easy scared but all on Sunday after English noon, and sunny as toast and butter oh would spit and twiddle most a mans skulls. I never see the like, dredged up from hell it were"

Mrs E: "Probably a geranium"

"No no, it were like the Queen mums hat, rearing mauve and nasty it were. Wriggling, wriggling and nasty"

(chorus) "Nasty Nasty Nasty"

"Oh I seed it, like a big, like a, like a big bullfrogs bogey"

(chorus) "Nasty Nasty Nasty"

"Like a drunk cucumber with big googly eyes"

(chorus) "Nasty Nasty Nasty"

"Like that thingy Marjory Bickles found in her, stuck in her.."

(chorus) "Nasty Nasty Nasty"

"Like a big huge green pickle."

(chorus) "Nasty Nasty Nasty"

"Perhaps it was like the green frog the Chinese believe lives on the moon."

(chorus) "Nasty Nasty Nasty"

"No more like a pickle, like a big dill pickle with legs on."

Scrotum: "Sir Henry had a manservant as were nasty. ‘e were called Dillow, Ahmed.

Henry brought him back from the Indies. Hully gully man, magic and stuff, allus muttering, nosy bugger too"

"Inquisitive were he?"

"Oh no, just nosy. Had to fire ‘im o’course."

"Where’d he go?"

"Up the chimney of course hahaha".

 

Ahmed Dillow

Ahmed Dillow

Armadillo

Porcupine

Anne Boleyn

Nosy Bugger

Keep your business out of mine

Meanwhile the stern storm struck

Mysterious wares like this

Shake Quakers shake

In heaven there’s a sheikhdom

The dead are what you make ‘em

Quake Quakers quack

Dance children dance

Give yourself the freedom

Only let it feed ‘em

Dance children dance

Shake Quakers shake

In heaven there’s a sheikhdom

The dead are what you make ‘em

Dance children dance

Dance children dance

Give yourself the freedom

Only let it feed ‘em

Dance children dance

Shake Quakers shake

In heaven there’s a sheikhdom

The dead are what you make ‘em

Dance children dance

Meanwhile Sir Henry wobbled then fell off his unicycle in a glade he had not noticed before.

It was clipped and smooth as snooker baize, he lay there gasping, gazing up at the sky when some 20 feet above the trees appeared a curious green head.

"Hello I’m diplodocus"

"Are you. Diplodocus, which one of you is diplodocus. I’m diplodocus. No I’m diplodocus. I’m diplodocus centurion. Crucify them. I’m sometimes called a dipsomaniac hum"

"Alright diplodocus if you insist on being so very English" The head vanished and seemed to be having a conversation.

"Are there two of you blighters back in there?"

"No, I’m talking to my second brain. Its sort of in my bum"

"I talk to my bum every bloomin’ morning, swine. Huh, this is old man talk"

"I’m not very good at sums, I think I’m about 190 million years old"

"Yes, I feel like that in the mornings too. Look, er first off I’d like to take you to the Fool and Bladder, it’s a bit of a stretch, do you mind if I um ride er"

"I would rather like a ploughman’s lunch, see I stuck my head into the Fool and Bladder place and there was man with a bread and yellow stuff on the table, while he was screaming I had a little nibble and very nice it was too"

"Do animals drink. Well I’d I’d rather a curried beef with a tug throughs vindalextra sauce on it myself. Um I’ll have to be bareback um, then we’ll let them buggers know what it means to offend a a friend, and you are my friend of course, of Sir Henry Rawlinson. I shall call you Plunch and you may live in my lake"

And with one ladder of trees Sir Henry was aboard the back of diplodocus and riding towards the Fool and Bladder.

Just then a wild-eyed red-haired man burst from the bushes and Van Goghed himself to his knees before Sir Henry.

"Are you the man, the man with healing hands"

"Yes, try one of ‘em (biff). There, feel any better? Ha ha."

"Madness, the madness is chasing me out there, and and inside."

The dinosaur peeped shyly over the lofty elm..

"Whoa Oh the madness made manifest. The great beast, this more nightmare than the food"

"The food. Are you a relative?"

"No"

"Are you one of my new patients?"

"No"

"Then you must have escaped."

"I’m the victim of a dream."

"Of course you are. Bloody quarterwit. Tell me about the food while I erm strap myself on to my new friend here."

 

In the dining hall

There’s bugger all

Approximating food

And there’s sweet F A

On your plate today

And you voluntarily chew

So swallow up

The luke warm slop

Before you hit the loo

You won’t find it in the rules

But one butchers at your stools

Will convince you but the sight of it

Will disgust you but the fright of it

And then you’re horribly sure

What you’ve eaten has been eaten

What you’ve eaten has been eaten

What you’ve eaten has been eaten

And it’s passed this way before

Passing through the system

Forceps to the grave

Surfing on the slidy sea of if

Drowning in destruction on the peristaltic waves

Force me to a fine funis

Speaking as a lump of food in somebody else’s mouth

Bring on peristaltic waves

Roll on you peristaltic waves

Roll call you catatonic slaves

Roll up, it’s safe to be naïve

Roll on peristaltic waves

Henry had washed off his legs and charcoal face in the Riddle shortly before his meeting with diplodocus, but he was of course still wearing his pink tutu.

And outside the Fool and Bladder.

PC Gibbon: "Stop right where you are, no juggernauts comin’ thru and ruinin’ dis village".

"Quite right officer. In my experience all jigaboos do is smoke hashish and wallop drums and none of ‘em can play billiards. But it’s not this village I intend to ruin, we are off to Concreton. And officer I commend and salute you. Carry on"

Henry directed diplodocus towards the sun setting behind Concreton.

"Plunch, at the canter if you please. Forward"

And Henry rode magnificently towards the loathsome grey towers of the doomed estate. The entirety of the Bladder emptied out onto the cobbles to cheer and wave their mugs. Seth made a flag of his apron, and hats and caps tossed and whirling darkened the sky.

Next time Henry treats his first patients.

"A typical case, you’re full of wind and you won’t let it out. Well I, you iniquitous newt, am going to painfully puncture you. (f/x hiss)

There you are, freedom and no drugs involved"

"Forward"

Hurrah.

 

Roll on you peristaltic waves

Roll call you catatonic slaves

Roll on you peristaltic waves

Roll on peristaltic waves…

Roll on you peristaltic waves

Roll call you catatonic slaves

Roll on you peristaltic waves

Roll on peristaltic waves…

The Thing at Rawlinson End

Recorded unknown date , 21st September 1991 broadcast on John Peel

The story so far.

Bugger it. It’s complete rubbish anyway.

In the gardens the dinosaur that Sir Henry failed to kill continued to grow.

At first it consumed insects, then shrews, rabbits, foxes, and the occasional drunken peasant.

Women waited by the hearth, waiting for their man to come home. Their men never did.

Only the roars of the dinosaur informed them that a fiend other than Sir Henry was loose in the grounds.

"Nonsense" grunted Henry "the imaginings of women are beyond imagining."

"It’s the Thing" quavered Florrie ""the Thing of Rawlinson End."

It would be a simple matter in a dreaming that knows no ending, planets plunging down from the sky, screwing, twisting, bombs bouncing.

"Throw! Throw the house open to the public. Are you insane?

The only people allowed into Rawlinson End are tradesmen and my friends."

"But Henry you don’t have any friends."

"What, well I have admirers and a thousand men who have already laid down their life for me.

It would be a simple matter for me to guide you in the ways of success. Meditation, self discipline sobriety and worship. But I’m not going to do that. I’m an honest, straight from the heart kind of fellow. If you want to get on in life’s great game steal things, beat people up, leave them homeless."

As brown roots reach down to earth and cold cream shines for zits, as bulldogs slaver and oak trees defiant, not bending rather than they break, Sir Henry in many coats of veneer and varnish refused and did not acknowledge the winds of change that blew. The pear trees drooped, the cherries wept, and beneath the lake great silvery carp sang songs of capitulation. Hubert enticed them to the surface with cheese sandwiches and a solemn beckoning look. But he could not persuade the creatures that the world that lived on air hadn’t changed.

The draught in the billiards room was colder now and dinner chilled before it reached the table. Sir Henry was not pleased.

"You love my brother" he bellowed.

"Yes" intoned Florrie "and my love died like a struggling wasp in a mug of too sweet tea."

"Let greed be your byword. Join forces with other criminals then kill them. Seems to me I have the making of a great psychiatrist. Scrotum have we got any drugs about the place? Well whip down to the village and buy some, and a tin of red paint, and a mallet."

"My wife’s left me. My only son has died. My mother is in her nineties. I’m all at sea. I can’t sleep."

"You disgusting brute give me five hundred quid and go for a walk in the maze.

Plenty of fresh air and lots of refreshing drugs.

You’ll make new friends all of them as lost as you are. Kill them, they’ll like you for it."

"Can you fart?"

"No sir"

"Don’t lie to me you squid. I have your records now blow off."

"But I can’t"

"Typical, a classic case. You’re full of wind but won’t let it out. I’m going to painfully puncture you."

The dinosaur was now growing at an astonishing rate.

Scrotum, still to his horror trapped in the fridge, and the light didn’t stay on, discovered he was in company with a particularly ferocious wasp. But with a quickness of mind he found a large bowlful of Sir Henry’s Satan’s Revengeful Mutton Vindaloo and stuffed his fez and dinner suit with it. Does cold kill wasps? Scotum didn’t know, and nor do I.

"It will keep out the bloomin’ cold" he convinced himself.

Doing it in the dark didn’t help, but somehow he managed.

Some half mile from the great house of Rawlinson End Old Scrotum spotted Henry’s brother Hubert khayaming himself in the shade of an oak tree with a book of verse, a bottle of Tizer, and a ukulele. Scrotum ran on.

Now in his mid forties and still unusual Hubert had learned many important things when he was young. That it was just as funny and much more controllable to tickle yourself. And if he needed cheering up well…. Also that one should always take ones hat and put ones hand in front of ones bottom when blowing off in a public lift. And most importantly, that sanity is a compromise. But that afternoon it was real.

I’m a huge amphibious dinosaur with a Jurassic period. I am nearly 130 million years old.

I am the largest terrestrial vertebrate ever to exist. I’ll reach a length of 81 feet.

"I take it you’ve heard of the ubermensch you nauseous newt, you pygmy, you niebelung. Nietzsche hm, is he still alive wearing a wig and living at Number 10. No. You daft green bugger. Nietzsche may have been a Kraut and a philosopher, but a man I greatly admire.

Look here if I have to give you half-a-crown for a cup of tea will you buzz off?

I’ve got a narrow body, massive pillar-like legs, and a long neck with quite a tiny head, and a long tail. I’ve got two brains too. I feed on soft vegetation found in swamps and shallow lakes.

I have very few teeth.

"Well I have plenty of teeth."

Out of those awkward marvelous Dervishes the mind turning strange streaks. Now hear them marveling beyond the ordinary and entranced and dancing at Rawlinson End.

There was a thing in the garden.

"Orrible and shapeless, changing and yet staying the same. I never saw the like" said Scrotum "dredged up from Hell it were".

"Probably a geranium" said Mrs E.

"No ma’am, it were like the Queen mums hat. Rearing and mauve it were, wriggling and nasty."

Scrotum: "Drumming hooves like the ‘postles of Hell. Riding like Caligula’s madness. Nobody’s ever saw it or could know the why or the what for. I’m not a man who’s easy scared, but all on a sunny English afternoon, so sunny as to roast and spit and twittle most skulls."

Six packs and quick snacks, there will never be enough lucre to cool the nerves.

Henry: "You imploring porpoise, you Labrador pet me you iniquitous newt.

Sweet Jesu do you realise I’m fighting the swine till the last gulp here in the bunker."

"I like playing bunkers" said Florrie "have you ever tried? It’s so much fun. We all hide in the cellars, plenty of good wine laid down there, and the Communist baddies try to shoot us. But just before we go we shoot ourselves or we take poison. Ha ha, then the servants burn us. Ah bless them. It’s terrific fun. "

Scrotum: "No ma’am I’m talking about tombola. Just the one time in a moment of weakness. Oh., and fourteen hail Mary’s and forty how’s your fathers to cleanse myself. The Jesuits forgave me, but can I forgive myself. No I’m quite as normal ‘in nomine patris’ "

Henry: "Oh the old in nomine. I don’t suppose you’ve ever eaten in Burma. Well we never did know quite what it was but by God they served us some bum burner like barbed wire being pulled through your throat to your rectum. I liked that, it was manly. Get off that elephants back Sabu and bring me a large in nomine immediatment."

"Talking dirty" read Mrs E "Farmers Air Their Phobias, I just got to the part where Big Dick the ploughboy wears blinkers to keep his furrows straight when.."

Henry: "The British Army marches on its stomach ergo the men should fart as loudly as the regimental sergeant major."

The Brigadiers wife, with empurpled hair and bosoms that would cause Hillary and Tensing the shudders, was there to judge the event. The men were lying down.

"Company ‘shun. Company fart" (huge farting)

"Sweet Odin, I hate prejudice unless it’s against foreign people, swine. Frankly I never thought Dresden was quite enough when one considers Coventry and the way my tenants deserted the property to join the ARPS. Do you like fish, I have a lake."

Plunch: "I rather like a, a ploughman’s lunch. See I stuck my head into the Fool and Bladder place, and there was this man with bread and yellow stuff on the table. While he was screaming I had a little nibble, and very nice it was too."

"Well I err, a curried beef with vindaloo sauce sandwich on me. Do you mind if I ride bareback? Then we’ll let those buggers know what it means to offend a friend of Sir Henry Rawlinson. I shall call you Plunch. And you may live in my lake."

And with one ladder of trees he was aboard the back of diplodocus and riding towards the Fool and Bladder.

"But first lets stop at Concreton. I hate those people. Usurpers and vulgarians.

But by the codpiece of Zeus we will peep in a few windows."

Viv Stanshall’s BiG Grunt Recorded 16/3/1970; Broadcast 21/3/1970 Top Gear

Tracks: Cyborg Signal, Blind Date, Eleven Moustachioed Daughters, The Strain.

Musicians: Roger Ruskin Spear: saxophone; Denis Cowan: bass guitar; Ian Wallace: drums; Bubs White: guitar.

 

Start Of The Week

In early 1971 Vivian was commissioned, by the Radio 4 producer Richard Gilbert, to do a weekly ten minute slot on his morning magazine programme, Start of the Week, presented by Richard Baker. Vivian would tell stories illustrated with pieces of music by artists such as George Formby. Some stories were repeated on the Jack de Manio afternoon programme. These were a regular feature during 1971-72 until Richard could take no more of his excuses for non-appearance.

Not all the Home Service old guard appreciated this wildly dressed person breezing into the studio, but it did provide Vivian with an access to an older audience.

One example of these stories was the SS Sausage , a piece which recalled his time on the ocean liners.

Freaks Recorded 2/3/1971; Broadcast 20/3/1971 Top Gear.

A non Bonzo session that first aired the Rawlinson End track from Lets Make Up LP.

Tracks: Music For Rawlinson End; Rawlinson End; Bad Blood; Watcher.

Musicians: Viv Stanshall: vocals, trumpet; Neil Innes: keyboards; Andy Roberts: guitar; Keith Moon: drums; Denis Cowan: bass guitar; Bubs White: guitar; Shamsi Sarumi: conga.

Radio Flashes Broadcast 7/14/21/28/8/1971 on Saturday afternoons.

Viv couldn’t just present a select of platters for the listening pleasure of the public, he had to include a serial, spoof adverts, spoof interviews, plays, gardening tips, and outside broadcasts, all seemingly requiring the entire sound effects library of the BBC.

The serial Breath From The Pit was in a Dick Barton Special Agent style. Colonel Knutt and his magic trousers aided and abetted by Keith Moon as his likeable cheeky cockney sidekick Lemmy, took on the evil Scorpion. For three weeks all went well then Viv started drinking. The fourth week John Walters, aware that the final episode of Colonel Knutt wasn’t yet in the can, recalled waiting for hours in the studio before Viv breezed in carrying a bag of bottles and telling him he’d been in a taxi searching London for an off-licence that would take a cheque. When he then suggested they get down to work, Viv told him to hang on mate he hadn’t written it yet.

Keith Altham, an NME journalist, carried out some interviews with ‘Johnny Wardrobe’, a particularly thick rock star who couldn’t even remember the name of his latest album.

Bruce Reason and his Reasonobile provided motoring tips like keeping a sharp stick for assauting other drivers to enable a quick getaway at the lights, and cutting through the car in front using a circular saw in a Dick Dastardly fashion, one of the victims being the Bulletheads in the family saloon parked out on the bypass.

Viv came up with the idea of adverts for sprays after impatiently waiting behind a man in a Chemist shop who wanted to purchase a Waspeze for use on picnics. This idea developed into sprays for use whilst on safari like Repelephant for those problematic pachyderms, Rilla Go, and Rhi No. John Walter’s suggestion of German dog repellant K Nein was rejected, as was Duck Off, not making passed the Brainwashing Controller.

Other What we do advertised included the Khazi Kebab House, ESPs, Extra Sensible Pyjamas that let the body sleep while the mind expands, Castaway Worm Plugs that expand to block wormholes, and Guernica the Spanish Dago style drink.

There was a similar fifth program at Christmas rebroadcasting some sketches and adding some new ones.

Recording 16/10/1975; Broadcast 27/10/1975; John Peel.

Tracks: Trail of the Lonesome Pine; The Unbridled Suite; In The Final Analysis; Aunt Florrie Remembers (from Giant Whelks at Rawlinson End)

Musicians: Viv Stanshall: guitar, euphonium, pipes, dum dum, talking drum, percussion; Pete Moss: bass guitar, piano, accordion, violin, celeste; Mox: harmonica, flute; Bubs White: banjo, ukelele, guitar.

 

Recording 2/12/1975; Broadcast 22,23,24,26/12/1975 John Peel

Tracks: Christmas At Rawlinson End parts 1-4 including Aunt Florrie recalls, Convivial Vivisectionists, The Party’s Over, Uncle Otto, Roar At The End, A Half For Chuck.

Musicians: Viv Stanshall; Mox; Julian Smedley: violin, mandolin; Andy Roberts: dulcimer.

Bill Aitken remembers that the session overran, and everyone wondered if there was enough on tape. Then Stanshall returned a week later to perform monologues over the backing tracks, and the effect was hilarious. Tony Wilson, Mike Engels and I were falling about in the control room laughing our heads off. I even created some special sound effects for one song ‘We are three vivisectionists’ (F/X Splash/Rip/Spurt).

 

Recording 21/3/1977; Broadcast 6/4/1977 John Peel

Tracks: An Absence of Whelks

Recording 11/5/1977; Broadcast 23/5/1977 John Peel

Tracks: Spades Balls and Sausage Trees

Musicians: Zoot Money: guitar, piano, vocals; Barry Dransfield: violin, cello.

1972 Summer season on Shanklin Pier there was a cafe on the pier, this funny little man ran it. He displayed a ludicrously unpunctuated sign, Spades Balls Sausages Teas. That became Spades Balls Sausages Trees in Rawlinson End.

Recording 24/8/1977 and 14/12/1977; Broadcast 19/12/1977 John Peel

Tracks: The Road To Unreason

Musicians: Zoot Money, Mox: harmonica, flute.

Recording 29/3/1978, Broadcast 5/4/1978 John Peel

Tracks: Fall of Felt Hats

Musicians: Julian Smedley; Jim Cuomo: clarinet, recorder, celeste, leg.

I don’t know where the title originates, without a better one I’ll stick with it.

Recording 18/7/1978, Broadcast 25/7/1978 John Peel

Tracks: Cabbage Looking in Mufti

Musicians: Pete Moss; Jim Cuomo

Recording 11/12/1979, Broadcast 24/12/1979 John Peel

Tracks: Gooseflesh Steps

Musicians: John Kirkpatrick: accordian, concertina, jews harp, backing vocals; Julian Smedley:

Sounds of the Sixties Broadcast 3/1/1987

Viv span a few of his faves from the sixties including

Intro and Outro - Bonzo Dog Band

Duke of Earl - Gene Chandler

Walk On Gilded Splinters - Doctor John

The Year Clayton Delaney Died - Tom T. Hall

My Boy Lollipop - Millie

No Face, No Name, No Number - Traffic

Mr Custer - Charlie Drake

Govinda - Radha Krishna Temple

Blind Date - Vivian Stanshall and the Sean Head Showband

( the song comissioned for Matt Monroe, an artist whose material Viv confesses himself unfamiliar with, apart from the stuff on top of his head)

Pictures of Lily - Who

I Pass - Godfrey Wynne

Delta Lady - Joe Cocker

Caroline No - Beach Boys

Wooly Bully - Sam The Sham and the Pharoahs

Hey Jude - Beatles

Mr Apollo - Bonzo Dog Band

BBC Radio Bristol, Produced by Stuart Hobday

 

Recording 23/2/1988 Broadcast 18/4/1988 John Peel

Tracks: The Crackpot at the End of the Rainbow

Musicians: Pete Moss: piano, drums, accordian; Kenny Baldock: bass guitar; Dave Swarbrick: violin, mandolin.

Recording 9/8/1988 Broadcast 23/11/1988 John Peel

Tracks: The Eating at Rawlinson End

Musicians: Dave Swarbrick; Tony Roberts; Pete Moss; Danny Thomson

 

Recording 29/5/1991 Broadcast 6/4/1991 John Peel

Tracks: Cackling Gas Capers

Musicians: Dave Swarbrick; Tony Roberts; Danny Thomson; Rodney Slater; Roger Ruskin Spear; Henry Lowther; John Megginson; Les Cirkel.

 

 

Book at Bedtime Radio 4 December 1997

Some of the above episodes were edited down to five fourteen minute episodes broadcast as parts of the Book at Bedtime series.

Monday: Edits of Spades Balls and Sausage Trees and Fall of Felt Hats

Tuesday: Edit of Cabbage Looking in Mufti

Wednesday: Edit of Gooseflesh Steps

Thursday: Edit of Crackpot at the End of the Rainbow

Friday: Edit of The Eating

 

Essex Teenager To Renaissance Man Broadcast Radio 4 29/11/1994

An autoboigraphical programme made shortly before his terrible untimely death. Viv travelled back, after an absence of 30 years, to his teenage haunts in Leigh-on-Sea and Southend in Essex and interviewed his mother, teacher, schoolfriend, old chums and old girlfriend. Click here for transcript.

Musicians:Rodney Slater (clarinet); John Megginson; George Ritchie; Michael Benson.

Producer Martin Buckley BBC Bristol

Big Shot - A Journey Through The Canyons of Viv Stanshall’s Mind

Radio 2 Broadcast 21/4/2001

An honorable mention for this documentary presented by admirer Stephen Fry.

Written by Jeremy Pascal; Producers Jane Gibson and John Pigeon.

Contributors: Phillipa Clare, Neil Innes, Pete Moss, Brian Patten, John Peel, Mark Stanshall; John Walters and Steve Winwood.

Grimms Prose

Although Viv Stanshall didn't appear on any Grimms recordings he appeared on tour. One of the souvenir tour books contained this prose by Viv which I present here for your consideration.

O.D. Where Can the Matter Be?

Long-carpet/diamond-back corridors. Tread on cobras. Walk on tufted spitters.

Quick irrevocable. Strike fast/fall awkward. Grockish, sad yet smiling.

Down endless warm steps.

Hand outstretched for support, briefly, uncertainly, pressed against walls,

As mountaineers in narrow dizzying gorges.

Fall or stay? Witness the struggle: me v me (a grudge contest),

Exciting & compelling viewing.

See our rag-doll dummy spins,

Whilst I, Olympian, gaze down to see who wins.

How easy it is & cheap. Earwig-O: see a bloke die, Sir? ½ a mo.

Licks: Wake Master & take me walking by the river bank. . .

Master wake & send me after sticks.

"I’m too tired to deal with the alcoholics/melancholics or anyolics.

And I must wash my teeth first before I can help anybody"

Said anybody & slept.

Broken, grotesque: but wet with tongues. Cradle me as I leave.

Secure, safe; but for the thuddering insistence of my chest.

I’ll hang on a tick if I can. Just one more tick. Jesu, one more:

Tick, tick, tick.

Don’t leave me, I seem calm; but I’ll sink, sink, silver belly-shiny,

Then the dark. Oh, finish quick & let’s find out:

"I should be better dressed" (Like Max Ernst at parties in New York) . . .

But, as usual, I got behind with everything (like the grocer who sat on

The bacon-slicer & . . . no, no, this must be serious) Talk, talk, talk.

Suicides are always naked or in pyjamas!

"Coward: you could have BEEN the albatross. Hopeless & funny off,

the Post Office Tower. (He dares & there are no safety nets for nutters),

A crowd gathers: "Let ME thru’, I might be able to help; but mainly;

I just want to see & smell, the soul ascend/ spirit evaporate/ & touch,

The Body. Feel the fearful, nearful escape & glory in my own breathing".

A gasp, he’s gone. With years of Letts Diary knowledge.

Parachute perforate, shot thru’ with hopes. Gape stare-eyed. Eyes,

Close them gently with concern & tape to make sure.

Then let John Wayne go out & butcher 30 Nips for me or anybody,

Preferably agents & managers. (Are there any Japanese one about?)

I must be worth 25 at least. Bonzai. . . . . . (& I( I’ll be watching, I hope).

Perspectives: looking at looking. Measuring their own dimensions . . . . .

How hateful to be alone.

A kitchen clings with efficient chings, whistles & sounds of water . . . . .

Like the cleaning of a corpse & clunk of scalpels . . . . .

Wake? Damn. Alive. Not dog/pariah c’est mio-my-O-me:

Could do with a nice jar of Rosie Lea.

But while I was gone, I noticed that God had shaved his beard off,

And he looked like the Duke of Kent.

Poem For Grimms

Out love stretched it’s lips across entire continents,

And made a baboon,

Of the world.

Apology For Neil Innes

One day we shall be great inventors,

Sorry I’m so hard to follow,

It’s insecurity really,

& booze & too much listening,

& not enough.

It’s tough to say: ‘I love you’.

But I’d better say it now,

It’s taken 28 yrs./a son/ a nervous break-

Down & a good friend plus a dream,

Just recalled: the lies I told you,

And me & a lot of beautiful ladies,

When I’m young one day,

My friend we shall,

Be great inventors.

Asterisks (Notes For The Foot)

Last night I dreamed I wrote: ‘The Albatross’ by Baudelaire,

And I was saddened.

This morning I woke up: I hadn’t,

I was saddened.

 

Sir Henry’s catalogue of Artists

 

I’m especially fond of Michael and Jello

the two men responsible for the Cistern Chapel.

Mike did the figures, Jello did the setting.

Aubrey Moustachely notorious for his illustration of Shallowmay,

the Jewish play by Oscar Peterson.

Caravannio the gypsy dauber.

Jackson Polack the Polish abstractionist,

Avocado Da Vinci and so on.

Albrecht Durex the sensitised German woodcutter,

strange man made a pinhole every hundred of his editions.

Anonymous Bosch the secret Nazi,

Vincent vin Rouge,

Paul Shazam the Captain Marvel of post impressionism,

painted nothing but letters, postcards and parcels.

Manny and Monny the Jewish painters,

Pissarro the Irishman,

Pickarso who suffered from piles,

Mac-Iavelli the amazing Scottish Italian impressionist.

And I enjoy surrealism, always listen to Mrs Dali’s Diary.