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The wisdom of Spike Milligan

by Lupin Wed Jul 4th, 2007 at 05:27:56 AM EST

Redstar thought I should crosspost here this diary I posted yesterday on Kos.

Many years ago (c. 1975), I was privileged to briefly work with the great Irish comic Spike Milligan who told me a story which I never forgot.

I should mention that Spike had served in North Africa during WWII (and wrote about it in his memoirs Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall and Monty: His Part in My Victory). Spike was a gentle soul. He disliked the military, couldn't function within it, but had a healthy respect/fear for the power of brute force that he knew could crush him in an instant.

I am very much like Spike and I have no doubt that, in a truly fascist regime, I'd be first in the mass grave. But I digress.

So I remember discussing comedy with Spike -- he was a great admirer of French comedian Jacques Tati and knew a lot about comedy in general. My friend Marcel Gotlib had worked as a gagman for Tati so we had a lot to talk about.

Anyway, Spike mentioned that, before the war, Berlin had some of the best comedians in the world, stand-up comics who, in the night clubs, mercilessly mocked and ridiculed the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler.

Then Spike concluded, with his bittersweet smile: "They sure showed him."

I never forgot this quip, because in the end, it is the perfect summary that against naked power, brute force without conscience, all our wit, humor, intelligence and, yes, the Law itself, will not prevail.

The Libby incident is another dark mark for America, on a path that is increasingly darker.

I am extremely Jealous. my youth had a sonic wallpaper of  the voice of Spike (At least up until the point where I discovered loud guitars).

Every time I hear another step down this bad road, I think it can't possibly get any worse, and every time I'm proved wrong.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 4th, 2007 at 12:55:24 PM EST
Oh and some poetry from him to go with the current weather.

There are holes in the sky,
Where the rain gets in.
They're not very large,
So the rain is thin."

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 4th, 2007 at 12:57:33 PM EST
I liked his proposed epitaph

"I told you I was ill"

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Jul 4th, 2007 at 01:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It now bears the words "Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite", or "I told you I was ill", and the English words "Love, light, peace". Bill Horsman, chairman of the Goon Show Preservation Society, said: "News of the headstone going up on Spike's grave is marvellous.

BBC news link

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 4th, 2007 at 01:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I raise a glass to the inimitable Spike Milligan: his voice -- in recordings and as imitated by my giggling parents recalling the "Goon Show" broadcasts of their own younger days -- was part of my childhood.

I read his 'Downfall' book as a teen;  enjoyed his cameo appearances in comic gems like the R Lester Musketeers movies and the weirdly tragic "Bed Sitting Room".  A remarkable comic and a gentle soul.  I am deeply envious of anyone who had the chance to chat with him in person!

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Jul 4th, 2007 at 05:16:57 PM EST
PUCKOON remains one of my favorite books. Apparently there's a film of it now, but I haven't seen it.

I love the GOONS too. I can quote lines. And Henry Crun and Minnie Bannister are two of my favorite fiction characters.

I was working with Marcel on a French comics adaptation, some art got drawn (with Spike's approval) but in the end the challenge was too great.

by Lupin on Thu Jul 5th, 2007 at 01:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the challenge was too great

My capitaine! You deaded me!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jul 8th, 2007 at 02:25:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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