Tuesday’s Overlooked A/V: Do Not Adjust Your Set

I’m looking forward to Holy Flying Circus tomorrow night, the documentary on the fight against the Python’s Life of Brian. I know I’ve likely seen a lot of the footage already, but I’m sure it will be enjoyable nonetheless. Good example of how bonkers people can get over something they assume will offend them. At heart, Brian is a very moral film, which focuses on the all-too familiar foibles of human behaviour. Ah, but if you’re reading this you likely already know that.

Something you might not know about is Do Not Adjust Your Set, one of the many training grounds for the future Pythons, like The Frost Report and At Last the 1948 Show (source of the original Four Yorkshiremen sketch). DNAYS featured Michael Palin and Terry Jones (who had also worked on The Complete and Utter History of Britain) as well as Eric Idle. This was a kids show, which is kind of stunning (although if you look at a lot of the mad kids show at the time, perhaps not quite so odd) so a lot of the humour is very nonsensical in the Goons/Spike Milligan/NOBA vein of absurdity. You can really see the connections between the Pythons and what came before them.

Of course one of the key reasons to see DNAYS is the Bonzo Dog Band. Why anyone thought they were safe for children, I don’t know. The ginger geezer Vivian Stanshall and the delightfully daffy Neil Innes headed a rotating roster of musicians but those two were really the magnets. I’ve gone on at length about both of them, so if you don’t know them yet, you should stop reading right now and just go look at the videos widely available at a certain tubish site.

A fave moment, appropriate for the season: the Bonzos sing “Monster Mash” for your delight.

As usual, find the whole roundup of overlooked a/v over at Sweet Freedom.

A Wet Weekend

Too many late nights; too little sleep. Far too much rain driving back from Massachusetts.

Last night it was Neil Innes at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. Here he is wearing his moustache in order to sing in French (okay, mostly in a French accent). Yeah, phone pic so the quality isn’t good. But we had a good time. I went with my pal Peg and we had a nice Thai dinner before the show and then laughed and sang a lot. Innes had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the start, getting folks to sing along on the chorus of the first song (well, second if you count the two line of “Urban Spaceman” he sang), which was “Alone, alone, alone.” Yes, it was like that all night as he switched between guitars and a uke and a Steinway. He stopped in the middle of the first song on the piano because the pedal made the piano move. “I should be a professional and just go on,” he told us, “But it frightened me!”

We were of course all sworn in as Ego Warriors (second time for me). Well worth the drive and a whole lot of fun. He expressed amazement that the Rutles have been around for 30 years now and that there are Rutles tribute bands around the world. “It should be a verb.” He talked about the Bonzo days and got the crowd enthusiastically providing the “band shouts” for some of the old 78s songs that Band loved to resurrect. While most of the songs veered toward amusement, everything from his work with the Pythons to a clever song about the web 2.0 life, he also took time to sing a more thoughtful song about losing friends. 65! Hard to believe. He finished up with a song in praise of his age and left us all with a lot of smiles.

Saturday was a little more sombre as we said good-bye to Kathy Clegg. Funerals, like weddings, can bring out family tensions, but the event brought out a lot of wonderful memories of Kathy’s warmth and hospitality — she did love to have a houseful of people. There was a big crowd of people gathered to remember her fondly.