Gutbrain Records

Friday, 13 July 2007

I've just started to read Humphrey Carpenter's biography of Spike Milligan. A few years ago I read a memoir of Spike written by his manager, Norma Farnes. I bought it in Heathrow, read it on the plane and donated it to the library after we returned home. I wish I'd kept it, or at least made notes of the most amusing parts.

I remember one funny story, about how Spike sent a telegram to his friend and collaborator, the incredibly paranoid and more or less insane Peter Sellers. The telegram said nothing more than "Ignore first telegram". This drove Sellers berserk and he was desperate to find out what Milligan had said in that first telegram. Farnes had a tough job convincing him that it was just a joke.

I plan to keep Carpenter's biography of Milligan — and I may buy another copy of Farnes's book — but I'll also make notes of the most amusing stories for easy reference. The first specimen can be found on page four. "Barry Cryer recalled how a man approached Spike at an Oldie literary lunch and said, 'May I shake the hand of the greatest living Englishman?' Spike replied, 'I'm Irish — fuck off!'"