I’ve been on a Viv Stanshall kick (again) recently because a kind listener (reader? what is the collection noun for podcast and blog listeners? poggers? pistener? err..anyway thank you Julian it made it through the snow!) sent me some Viv rarities as a result of the ‘Viv and Neil’ podcast I did last year inc the excellent 2002 radio documentary ‘Canyons of His Mind‘ which of course is referring to the above track, recorded for ‘Colour Me Pop’ in 1968. Apparently they did the whole show, which I really want to see.
Also read a great piece about Viv by his second wife, Ki Longfellow about how they met…I mean I fell in love with him reading it, so in person the effect must’ve been greater . She as mentioned in the text SHOULD write a book about him. If she or anyone relating to her is reading this, please give her a prod, because reading that I would buy a copy, and I have a feeling a lot of people would feel the same way…and also because of his mysterious/insane/wonderful/maddening/glorious lifestyle there are a lot of wrong rumours out there – one of which is that he set himself alight with cigarettes when he died (no, coroner said it was electrical wiring, apparently). Would be great to have a book that comes closer to the real Viv (well dunno if that’s possible actually, but closer than the people writing ones who never met him!) and fills in that gap post Bonzos in the mid-late 70s.
Also did they ever record Stinkfoot? I’ve always wanted to have a copy, either on DVD or audio – and missed hearing about the short revival on Thekla last July…bah!
Oh a few of you might not know who Viv Stanshall was, you poor petals. So here’s a good intro, a show produced by the BBC and introduced by John Peel with Viv on himself and his history in his own words and music (the original piece in 1991 was called ‘Crank’, it seems to have gained the name ‘Diamond Geezer’ somewhere?).
It explains how Viv was just Viv ‘Well I don’t do it, I’m merely being myself, as near as dammit without frightening the housing estates…and her question was absurd rather than fatuous, as if I’d decided one day to wake up and decide I’m going to be a giant squid for the weekend or that’s it I’m going to be a wardrobe for the rest of my…err..word. Well strap me to a tree and call me Brenda! I’m whatever you like just don’t expect me to join in….You see I’m not different for the sake of being different, only for the desperate sake of being myself” Great words, indeed
…although I have no idea why an obit from 1995 has the roman numeral date of 1993 (I suspect it’s been edited together from Crank?) – EDIT: it is from 1993, someone added the ‘Diamond Geezer’ in 1995, seems like many layers of ‘Late’ show, I’ve got a headache.
Bonus: One Man’s Week, a 1975 film about Viv seems to have escaped from the BBC’s Gormenghast Colditz Vaults by means of 1975 quality video…such a shame Viv wasn’t let loose more often on the public with a camera, that would’ve been a great TV programme. Also in part 3 you can see him working on ‘Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead’ which was heavily African influenced and years before it’s time.