Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ivor Cutler - RIP

One of the funniest, most eccentric, maverick of individuals it has ever been my pleasure to know, is finally with us no more (Guardian obituary).

I first saw Ivor at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1985, at the Assembly Rooms. It was my huge priviledge to get to know him during 1991/2, when we would frequently meet at the lunchtime concerts at the Royal Festival Hall (in the company of the Jazzshark). He would turn up on his bike wearing his plus fours, and a hat topped with a huge sunflower. He would often hand out sticky labels bearing slogans like "Funny Smell" or even short poems.

Despite his well known aversion to loud noise (including loud music), Ivor would come and watch us perform as The Honkin' Hep Cats - I believe he even admitted to enjoying our gigs at the RFH, though his preferred vantage point was from one of the highest balconies, as far away from the stage as possible. I think some of our songs were up his street (e.g. 'You Stole My Wife You Horse Thief' and 'When Banana Skins are falling I'll come sliding on home to you', or even 'I Want A Big Fat Mama With The Meat Shakin' on the Bone').

Jazzshark has a great memory of Ivor: "...a funny story he once told me. apparently he used to get so pissed off with dog shit on the pavements in Camden that he went round for weeks and months drawing cartoons around the offending items in chalk. As a consequence of this the problem attracted huge publicity in local and national newspapers and Camden council changed
its bylaws in order to fine offenders, and started a massive dog shit clean up campaign!"

Sadly Ivor has been unwell for some time, suffering from a dementia which meant that he didn't recognise his friends. So I hope his death is a welcome release from life's frustrations.

Ivor, I hope we meet again somewhere. Will miss you.


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