Monthly Archives: March 2010

Genius and silliness from the original urban spaceman

Neil Innes: A People’s Guide to World Domination – The Ropetackle Centre, Shoreham

Neil Innes is charm personified, and a delightful entertainer. He’s also a bit of a musical genius, although much of that has been hidden over the years by the consummate silliness of much of his output.

Neil Innes - nice guitar, but someone has stolen his shoes and socks

His pretty much two-hour show at Shoreham’s intimate Ropetackle Centre was a reminder that while much of his stuff is gentle satire and musical parody, he has a genius for hummable tunes and sharp, witty lyrics.

Billed as A People’s Guide to World Domination, Innes’ show amiably ambled through his 45-year career from the jazz nonsense of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (Urban Spaceman, My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies etc) to Monty Python (Brave Sir Robin from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, plus Run Away – one song that landed on the cutting room floor), The Rutles (a glorious medley of Fab Four spoof numbers including Doubleback Alley and Cheese & Onions) and TV’s Innes’ Book of Records.

He spun stories from the past, dropped some cheerful one-liners into the mix, and moved from a variety of guitars/ukulele to keyboard and back. The odd mistake, duff chord and forgotten lyric just added to the charm and he easily had a mature crowd joining in and doing impromptu Mexican waves.

More modern songs like Real World (about being a silver surfer), the cheerful reggae You’re Never Alone At The Bottom of The Pile, the silly rebelliousness of Ego Warriors and the call-and-response gospel spoof Slaves of Freedom demonstrated he still has a decent voice, and touching encore How Sweet To Be An Idiot was a fitting tribute to his mix of innocence, tunefulness and joy.

An enduring and original talent – still going strong at 65. Catch him while you can – you won’t be disappointed.

Check out http://www.neilinnes.org/

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I have been inside the corridors of power

I have been inside
the corridors of power.
And they are more often
rooms
with chairs and a table
in them.

Often they are used by
ordinary people
who have ended up there
by accident.
Or design.
Or votes.
Or something.

They probably don’t wake up
and say to their loved ones:
“today I am going to
my usual place
in the corridors of power”.

They say: “I am going to work”.

And so the exercise of power
is broken down into a thousand
small things
like phone calls
typing words
and running out of paper clips.

At night the corridors of power
echo to the sound of vacuuming,
because the cleaners are in.

They make sure the corridors
(and rooms) of power are
not covered in dust.
Because that reminds the
people who work in
the corridors (and rooms) of power
of what they will
ultimately become.

The corridors (and rooms)
of power can get a bit
lonely
sometimes.

But there is always
dust
for
company.

10 March 2010

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The Collected Tweets of Brandon Cummerbund, Pt 5

The latest spiffing tweets of Edwardian cake collector and wit Brandon Cummerbund. To experience these in true chronological order, please read from the bottom up.

And nerve seeing as her harmonica wailings have sounded like jalope running over concertina on a wet Wednesday

His nibs, pictured with as much gravitas as he can locate from behind the drinks cabinet

It's never a dull moment at Brandon Towers. Unless cousin Cedric brings his matchstick collection round

Gargled I Left My Heart In San Francisco this morning. Splendid sound but only slightly spoiled by Mrs C making dog howling noises. Cheek.

Planning b’day outing. Inviting: Spiffy Glockenspiel, Prendergast Hitchgirdle, Whiskers Flannel, Glazeme Senseless, Spaghetti Eastern. Jolly

Boot boy playing bongos. Mrs C at bingo. Spiffy round to borrow wonga. Waltzing Mebuilder in Congo. Vowel-based plot suspected.

Thought I’d heard yodelling but turned out to be mongoose doing Tarzan impression. Stranger things have happened in our house. Lunch ahoy!

Catching jalope into town with Bishop Dr Rev Canon Waltzing Mebuilder for game of tic-tac, oxtail soup and some booing. Yes – House of Lords

Mrs C excited that yeast company now producing stronger version of gakk-tasting salty spread. Boot boy has used it instead of polish. Ahem.

Mrs C would like to welcome any recent followers. Glasses are raised, nibbles have been served and oompah band will be along shortly. Cheers

Cook is making boot boy drink milk to flush out effects of Brasso. He’s complaining bitterly. Well, it is mongoose milk. Off for a gargle!

Made mistake of letting boot boy loose with Brasso. Chump drank whole bottle. Now shining pipes with tongue. Coming up a treat. Silly boy.

Galoshes. Sou’wester. Brolly. Stout stick. Fisherman’s Friends. Am leaving house in search of a newspaper. May be some time. Onwards!

Flappertrunk popped back for salt, to go with lemon. Either a late pancake beanfeast or the lad’s bagged some tequila. Mrs C wailing in E

Caught valet using trouser press to prepare flowers for his botany collection. Stern words. Dingly Flappertrunk popped in to borrow lemon

Ran out of snuff. Went out through cellar, via boot boy’s pomade collection. Met Mrs C at crossroads. Had sold pocket watch, not soul. Wise

Worried Mrs C will start loitering with blues types. Have whipped up odd reasons to stop her leaving house. And Botley has nailed door up

Plangent tones of the harmonica drift up from cellar where Mrs C has been sent to practice. Just worried it will turn my Sauvignon to Ribena

Pigeons making dickens of a racket this morning. Seem to be muttering something about Tiny Tim. Maybe because cook is chasing them for a pie

Distinctly heard ‘choose any card, memorise it, then put it back’. Bally mind’s playing tricks on me

Rum do at the Smeringtons last night. Whisky chaser at the Glockenspiels tonight. Well, it’s National Spirits Week. Breakfast: Pilchards

Woke up this morning and some wag has replaced all m’shoelaces with licquorice, and all Botley’s braces with pasta strips. Culinary burglars

Local constabulary have lugged Botley home. Have left him in potting shed. Band now features mongoose on percussion, and valet on vocals

Mrs C getting hang of blues in E. Boot boy’s spoons need work. Botley has explored 12-bar workouts, but is stuck in ninth bar in Soho. Chump

We think Jenson Button has just been in and bought 12 cupcakes! (via @ParklifeCakery) Splendid move from the F1 champ – well done that man!

Throat velvet session this evening with Count Slowly Basil, Spiffy Glockenspiel, Nosferatu Bunting and Mims Flippertijibbet. Mayhem ensues

Surprise development: Mrs C has gone for harmonica. Expect boot boy on spoons, Botley on tea chest bass and self on Gibson 335. Cook nervy

Contacted all music shops in 10-mile radius, warning against Mrs C’s attempt on flugelhorn, in the interests of music. Comb n paper m’dear

Grocers delivering today. Mrs C in search of flugelhorn. Not even sure what a flugel is. Household in search of earplugs. Breakfast: kipper

@Jamiehailstone Nobody who is anybody is wearing frosted glass bifocals these days, old bean. Should’ve gone to jolly old Specsavers

All taxidermy-related items now cleared out. Mrs C wants new hobby: embroidery or learning the flugelhorn. You might guess which we prefer

Uncle Monty now removed to medical school curiosities museum. Mrs C had row with other local taxidermists and told them to stuff it. Ironic

Have also discovered stuffed Uncle Monty in glass case. Not entirely sure how long this has been here. Worrying.

SOS – am locked in cupboard under stairs. Mrs C has local taxidermy group round for buns. Thinks I would keep interrupting. Upside: peaceful

Grocers have delivered all wrong comestibles: herring instead of haddock; artichoke instead of asparagus; piglets not twiglets. Cook fuming

Breakfast: kedgeree, plodgeree and bodgeree. Appears snow is attempting a comeback. Have sent Botley out to repel blighter with hoe. Pull!

Composing love poem. Addressed to slice of cake. Mrs C may not understand. Valet strangely still. May have to ban taxidermy. Staff uneasy.

Have questioned Mrs C closely regarding large albatross occupying parlour. Need to find her supplier. Hai Ti celebrated with lemon drizzle

Is there food in your beard? Good advice for Brandon’s facial topiary http://bit.ly/cnuW7a

Gad, am so tired could sleep for England. If selected.

Need a steam bath. Mrs C can get up steam without a bath. Boot boy has new yo-yo. Cook has new Swiss ladle called a yodel. Expecting fondue

Spiffy Glockenspiel has promised to buy me a Jeraboam once I reach 100 followers. Can you blighters get the word out? Snuff all round if so!

Experimenting with French cheese with aspirations to be Camembert. Honey is involved. Though I warned her against it. Breakfast: diced pear

Face in better shape. Discovered owl in wardrobe. Botley has taken up bonsai marathon running – 26 yards is quite an achievement. Taxi!

Face covered in paper after shaving incident. Emergency services standing by: boot boy has mop, valet spare paper, Mrs C fig poultice. Shop!

Mrs C and cook in tug of war over pigeons bagged by Botley on local ‘shoot’ involving butterfly net and large stick. Pie or stuffing? Evens

All wildlife giving Brandon Towers a wide berth. Must persuade Mrs C to drop this taxidermy nonsense. Even postman looking worried. Vexing.

Taramasalata Flanstippler is drinking my Scotch. Scottie Fling has eaten the taramasalata. And Spiffy’s making omelette. All a bit uncanny

Clump claims rotary washing line being used in his version of Hadron Collider. Likely story. Garden birds gone into hiding. Mrs C to blame!

Voluminous Clump dropped in to borrow rotary washing line. Needed for ‘new invention’. May not get it back. Mrs C practising on sparrows

Hai Ti going well – Madeira has calming effect. Mrs C poring over taxidermy book. Mongoose packing suitcase. Cook practising custard pouring

@artistsmakers Gad! “Shooting into mist and sunset …”? Bag any game – grouse, pheasant, rambler? Botley picks the shot out with his teeth

Education week at Brandon Towers: Mrs C learning taxidermy (mongoose gone into hiding), self learning Hai Ti (Tai Chi with cake). Tally ho

Usual tailor has let me down. Now in need of tweed 3-piece suit for less than a few guineas. All leads gratefully received. Except dog leads

Botley piloting a skiff up and down the garden, due to thaw. Has hopes for Olympics. As likely as BC becoming world champion topiarist.

Tadger McPherson dropped in for a go on cook’s trampoline. Enough to make your eyes water. Left with a bag of figs and Botley’s bazouki. Odd

Grocers not delivering until Saturday due to weather. Lightweights. Shall confiscate their bicycle and make them hop. Lunch: walnut compline

Mrs C twitchy as binmen not been. Boot boy twitchy due to medication. Valet twitchy due to tweed ailment. Too much twitchiness all round

@artistsmakers Am told if you feel neurotic and nostalgic at the same time, you end up with neuralgia. Forewarned is forearmed. Onward!

Sampling tasty dark ale left over from Christmas. Botley has started business selling compacted mongoose droppings as grit. Will end badly

Starting to thaw: boot boy now safely removed from window, tongue intact. Mrs C has three less layers on. Or may be New Year diet. Unlikely!

Botley still steaming over US spelling of ‘humour’. May have been working too long at that heap of frozen mongoose compost. Smells like it

Spiffy Glockenspiel says I’m up for an award, named a Shorty, via our Transatlantic cousins. Nothing next to St Bede’s Yodelling Cup, mind

Compulsory cognac breakfast today. Mrs C has knitted mongoose a jacket. Boot boy flicked jelly at window, tried to lick it off. Oh dear …

All staff out shovelling snow. Cook shovelling bread and butter pud. Mrs C filling hot water bottles. Brandon testing hot toddies. Cheers!

Burning Oscar Wilde books to keep warm. Smokeless fuel, full of wit. Botley thinks he’s a wit. Well, he’s half right. Mrs C wearing mittens.

So cold at BT we have mongoose on a treadmill, bootboy burning old copies of Wisden, and cook hatching ferocious curry. Medicinal brandy sir

Cook fuming having discovered real London Eye staged fireworks last night, clearly stealing her culinary masterstroke. Calmed with gin.

Gad! Woken by Botley’s snoring. Why? Ah. Entire rollcall of guests slumbering under giant blanket. Huge Oompah brought marquee down. Parp!

Have cornered mongoose and recovered cognac. Cook buried under pile of meringues. Mrs C rosy cheeked. Oompah band oompahing. Happy New Year!

Meringue London Eye taking shape, not sure about Spiffy’s sparklers idea. Oompah band delayed in traffic. Boot boy has been at the Brasso

NYE doings ahead: cook constructing life-size model of London Eye out of meringue, valet polishing Wurlitzer, Mrs C embroidering marquee

Much joy over England cricket victory. Boot boy playing spoons, valet has ironed my spats, cook planning celebratory syllabub. Yabbadabbadoo

Cook has found Glockenspiel covered in fluff in cupboard under stairs, and Spong has perfect map of Kidderminster tatooed on his head. Odd.

Is it me, or have army of dwarves just painted house silver, and constructed tank out of discarded corks and sprouts? Ah. Glad to hear it.

Seasonal drink with Spiffy Glockenspiel, Twinkle Troutbadger and the Earl of Spong. Jolly time, hope Spiffy isn’t squiffy enough to juggle

Soave. Asti. Cava. Amontillado. Harvey’s. Beck’s. Frascati. All good names for children but somehow remind me of the old throat velvet

Mackerel and smell of fish now gone, thanks to Botley, but Bunting and crew have eaten all the trifle. Received gift of sock garters. Bingo!

Mackerel pushing for scampi in breadcrumbs, PLUS the salmon. Mrs C wavering. Talks paused while Botley ‘persuades’ with trowel and carols

Have called in negotiators looking to strike deal with Mackerel: he vacates house and we give him some salmon in return. Desperate times …

Red alert: Mackerel has somehow snuck into house while Bunting and vampires argued over flag drill. Botley has him cornered in scullery …

@vobes Mucho obligato for the coffee and mince pie today, sir – you must toddle round for tiffin sometime. Cook does a good sticky bun

Mackerel alert: aborted attempt to breach the house as Bunting’s strategy is working: vampires and semaphore going nuts. It’s never dull.

Joke from boot boy: if you let rice get cold enough, you get Ricicles. Have stapled his knees together and cut his Haribo ration. Tough love

Am in the doghouse after suggesting to Mrs C that one way of thawing ice outside would be for her to talk to it. No crumpets for tea now …

Christmas ale now in stock, courtesy of Sebastopol Thundergrass’ extraordinary brewery. Botley swears by their pale ale, so avoid that one

Extraordinary: woke up surrounded entirely by Twiglets. Turns out it’s one of Bunting’s ploys for repelling Mackerel. Breakfast: kedgeree

Cook is concerned at possible ban on garlic though

Gothic local fete organiser Nosferatu Bunting has offered to ward off unwanted relative Mackerel using cunning mix of vampires and semaphore

Boot boy shovelling drive, Botley shovelling grounds, Brandon shovelling porridge. Chiselled cook out of coat with breadknife. Tot required

Gad it’s so cold am considering rolling Botley in peat and shoving him in the Aga

@vobes Splendid – a strong concoction featuring hazelnut would slide down the Cummerbund throat a treat. And one of those Italian biscuits

Hatches now battened re Mackerel’s visit. Move rejected as too costly. Mrs C has flyspray; valet: carpet beater; Botley: hoe. May get messy

Distant cousin Mackerel Flaypasty has sent telegram to say he is coming to stay. Whole household on red alert. May move or hide behind sofa

Hullabaloo brewing re Christmas wrapping paper. Valet has been stuffing it in shoes. Butler summoned. Mrs C on warpath. Have tin helmet on

Spelling is key in the kitchen. Common culinary errors: cuddling an egg, toasting chicken, bowling potatoes, grinning bacon. Cook on warning

Gad! Could be hobnobbing with the politicos at prestigious bash this afternoon. Sadly had to duck out due to waving farewell to Sir Bob Limp

Spangled bollard parked outside conservatory. Could be freeform Christmas tree or discarded piece of nuclear matter from kitchen. Hmmm

Trust bally eye sorts itself out for the morrow. Suggest poultice of figs, cold compress, glass of something warming and a string quartet

Tolly Snitchett popped in for a pinch of snuff. Sniffy Pinchit toddled round for a bottle of pop. Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide …

Botley experiment with fertiliser and cook’s broth prompts major incident. Troops and navy called in, soup sent for tests. Man’s a menace

May dig out some old 78s to drop in to the jolly vinyl swap at Worthing empty shop bazaar The Upmarket http://bit.ly/76Mzi7

Rumours of batty relatives coming at Christmas (Agamemnon Plankton, Hospitality Planks etc). Mongoose returned, singed. Breakfast: trifle

Arividerci Clacton drops in to borrow mongoose. Refuses to elaborate. Mongoose looks alarmed. Ran out of milk. Cook buys goat. Oh dear …

One of me love poems got an outing at bizarre Worthing bazaar The Upmarket. Listen at http://bit.ly/88aJbo for a gem amidst the buffoonery

Out for snifter with pals Glazeme Senseless, Wingnut Poltergeist IV, Prendergast Hitchgirdle, Dave ‘The Nudge’ Cakewalk. Lifeguard alerted

Valet back from A&E but walking strangely. Mongoose grumpy after returning illictly grabbed parrot. Mrs C spotted in sou’wester, galoshes

Brandon love poem likely at Floating Fish Cabaret, Ye John Selden pub, Salvington Rd, Worthing, Thurs 8pm. Entertainment for the desperate

@artistsmakers Better to use paper, surely. You’ll never hang a train on the wall

Valet in A&E after bizarre shove ha’penny accident. Mongoose reprimanded after kidnapping next door’s parrot. Paired socks. Humdrum day, eh?

Am attending evening classes in loofah use. Did not realise you need a licence to wield the things. Cook’s omelette resembled one earlier.

Somewhat strangely, appears I have been abducted by aliens. Lacking necessary paperwork, they have returned me. Am intact, bar braces. Odd.

Have lost 3 days. Woke up under hedge with rubber chicken, bag of walnuts and a lemon. May have been part of mad cooking experiment …

Off for a spree with old pals Bart-Bart uber Dinglestein, Fandango Battersby, Ickly Toastbangle and Hilary Stretchtwinkle. Mrs C worried

Tish, Posh, Piffle, Waffle, and Tosh. Solicitors and Commissioners for Oaths. Taramasalata Fitzgerald, tremendous voice, useful party dip.

Renaming Lords? Preposterous. Like calling The Royal Albert Hall ‘The McGivitty, Flout & Spraingarter Musicality Venue’. Not cricket at all.

Blancmange disaster involving cook, bootboy, mongoose, three spatulas, a tin of pineapple, yesterday’s FT and a stray chicken. Unbelievable

Well pickle me in garlic and stuff me with olives, it’s not raining. Boot boy can come down off the roof with the tarpaulin. Tea: Darjeeling

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