Monthly Archives: March 2009

May 24th 1973

“Moved room back to original position xcept Record Player is now on the floor. Borrowd Another Monty Python Record off Davies – bludy funny”

Released by Charisma Records in 1972, “Another Monty Python Record” was the second compilation of material from the comedy troupe’s TV series on BBC.

Housed in a spoof sleeve of a Beethoven symphony album, it contains many of their classic sketches, including The Spanish Inquisition, The Piranha Brothers and Spam.

For me though – and something I still remember almost word for word some 35 years later was – is the final cut “Still No Sign of Land“, a skit about 5 unrescued sailors bobbing about on the sea in a lifeboat…

It reads as well as it sounds….


The cast:

SAILOR #1:Michael Palin
SAILOR #2: Graham Chapman
SAILOR #3: Eric Idle
SAILOR #4: Terry Jones
SAILOR #5:John Cleese

The Sketch:
(Scene: The interior of a lifeboat. FX: Seagulls are crying.)

#1: Still no sign of land. How long is it?

#2: That’s a rather personal question, sir.

#1: (low voice)You stupid git. I meant how long has it been in the lifeboat? You’ve destroyed the atmosphere now.

#2: I’m sorry.

#1: Shut up. Start again.

#1: Still no sign of land. How long is it?

#2: 33 days, sir.

#1: Thirty-three days?

#2: We can’t go on much longer. (low voices) I didn’t think I destroyed the atmosphere.

#1: Shut up.

#2: Well, I don’t think I did.

#1: ‘Course you did.

#2: (aside, to 3) Did you think I destroyed the atmosphere?

#3: Yes I think you did.

#1: Shut up. Shut up!

#1: Still no sign of land. How long is it?

#2: 33 days, sir.

#4: Have we started again? (FX: slap)

#1: STILL no sign of land. How long is it?

#2: 33 days, sir.

#1: Thirty-three days?

#2: We can’t go on much longer, sir. We haven’t eaten since the fifth day.

#5: We’re done for, we’re done for!

#1: Shut up, Morley.

#2: We’ve just got to keep hoping. Someone may find us.

#4: How we feeling, Captain?

#5: Not too good. I…I feel so weak.

#2: We can’t hold out much longer.

#5: Listen…chaps…there’s still a chance. I’m…done for, I’ve…got a gammy leg and I’m going fast; I’ll never get through. But…some of you might. So…you’d better eat me.

#1: Eat you, sir?

#5: Yes. Eat me.

#2: Uuuugggghh! With a gammy leg?

#5: You don’t eat the leg, Thompson. There’s still plenty of good meat. Look at that arm.

#3: It’s not just the leg, sir.

#5: What do you mean?

#5: Well, sir…it’s just that –

#5: Why don’t you want to eat me?

#3: I’d rather eat Johnson, sir!

#2: So would I, sir.

#5: I see.

#4:Well that’s settled then…everyone’s gonna eat me!

#1: Uh, well.

#5: What, sir?

#1: No, no you go ahead, please, I won’t…….

#4: Oh nonsense, sir, you’re starving; tuck in!

#1: No, no, it’s not just that.

#2: What’s the matter with Johnson, sir?

#1: Well, he’s not kosher.

#3: That depends how we kill him, sir.

#1: Yes, that’s true. But to be perfectly frank I…I like my meat a little more lean. I’d rather eat Hodges.

#2: Oh well, all right.

#5: I still prefer Johnson.

#5: I wish you’d all stop bickering and eat me.

#2: Look. I tell you what. Those who want to can eat Johnson. And you, sir, can have my leg. And we make some stock from the Captain, and then we’ll have Johnson cold for supper.

#1: Good thinking, Hodges.

#4: And we’ll finish off with the peaches.

#3: And we can start off with the avocados….


Because I have never quelled my juvenile attitude I’m still apt to reply “that’s a rather personal question” if anyone asks me “how long it is”.

No doubting that this album set me off on a lifetime’s appreciation of recorded comedy.


Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

May 23rd 1973

“In evng went to All Saints and screwed all the chairs. Walked all way to top of Des Road under Val’s umbrella (cor! she’s got big tits)”

Was my double entendre intended? I’m sure it must have been, even if the sentence makes NO sense whatsoever, nor do I have even the vaguest clue to what it refers. Was I doing some kind of religious DIY at 15 years old, maybe repairing church pews or something?

More important was my wander ‘up the road’ with (my crush) Val and her womanly appendages, presumably spotted despite layers of clothing and a raincoat.

I apologise to all readers of a sensitive disposition for using the word ‘tits’ and sounding so terribly sexist about it.

However, I do hope her umbrella was of suitable size to keep ’em both dry.

1 Comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

May 22nd 1973

“When got home had haircut. Went out in Van for Ward. Went up woods”

Another haircut? What happened to the hippy teenager?

I assume the “van” refers to some kind of supermarket delivery vehicle? (“Ward” was my boss at Lancaster & Crook). Why would I go out in it when I couldn’t even drive? Presumably then, I was just a passenger. That doesn’t seem like a clever use of staff resources to me.

No, my diary entry does not mean I went up the woods in the van. Even if it is written to sound like that.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

May 21st 1973

“Went up woods. saga of don’t you feel like an idiot. Intimate discussions when someone is up a tree listening”

I’m sure that – just as this suggests – there was huge embarrassment and multiple red faces all round here.

I can’t imagine I would personally have had much ‘intimate’ to discuss, so I do wonder if the embarrassment was either (as I am guessing) Mal or Nigs?

If not, you would think that something so apparently ‘mortifying’ would stick in the memory, allowing me perfect recall a few decades later wouldn’t you?

You would be wrong.

(Can I just add that I LOVE the fact that, in 1973, I referred to the incident as “a saga”)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

May 20th 1973

“Saw Angela – didn’t ask her. Went up Nigs in afternoon – bought jacket off him for 50p. In evng TIB at vicarage”

Poor old Angela.

Perhaps I just thought I would get ‘lucky’ at the party?

More likely I was shit-scared of asking her out again.

Naturally, I have ZERO idea about the jacket I bought off Nig.

For 50p though it must have been good.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

May 19th 1973

“Work all day, got 1.92 wages. Had to clear out storeroom. Went up Nigs Evng. Drew funny picture + posed as Tramp for Mal’s ‘o’-level”

Now here’s a funny coincidence.

I cannot, for the life of me, remember dressing up as a tramp so that Mal could (presumably) paint some kind of picture of me.

However, MANY years later – and still friends with Mal (now know by me as Malc) – the pair of us turned something similar into a competition winner.

In 1994 This Way Up Records ran a trade competition for all its dealers – of which I was one. The competition was based on ex-Icicle Works’ frontman Ian McNabb’s solo album “Head Like a Rock”. (An album which contains the mercurial “You Must Be Prepared to Dream“)

The premise was that dealers had to send in a photo of someone who looked like the dude on the album cover, a ventriloquist dummy.

Rising to the challenge, I duly adorned myself with lipstick and a red bow tie whilst Malc took photos. As it happened the session ‘outtakes’ ended up looking funnier than that ones we were trying to do seriously. Especially those where I looked drunk (I’d had a little) and had a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.

I took these photos and – in the days loooooooooooong before photoshop – cut and pasted them together with some text, turning the finished article into a fake newspaper cover, telling the story of how the character had ‘gone off the rails’ and was going into rehab etc.

I guess we were not the only ones who found it funny, as a few weeks later it was chosen as the winning entry. We won a pair of Virgin Atlantic tickets to San Francisco. Not too shabby really.

I wonder if Malc got his art o-level?

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

May 18th 1973

“Went to work. Sue & Stella have invited me and Nig to Barbecue next Sat. Mite take Angela”

Sue & Stella were fellow workers at Lancaster & Crook.

Sue, as I remember, was a “bit of a looker”. (Stella, by contrast, I can’t recall, at all)

Looks like my social life is about to take a turn for the better?

How difficult would it have been for me to actually write “might” instead of “mite”?

Brace yourself Angela!!

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries

May 17th 1973

“Borrowed Imagine off of Gina K – Quite good really”

Would it be sacrilegious of me to state that, over the years, my opinion of John Lennon’s second solo album, Imagine, has altered dramatically?

Instead of “quite good” I now react to hearing cuts from this album with a series of customary swear words.

Especially that bloody title track. Even despite it representing some kind of musical “standard” for (unattainable) world peace. In 1973 I may have liked it because I knew no better, but in the interim it has evolved – for me personally – into a dreadfully maudlin and tuneless piece of work.

Maybe my distaste is as a result of simply OVER-hearing it since its release in 1971? It was of course dredged to the max when John was shot down outside his NY apartment in 1980, and has featured in every single Lennon tribute since. It also seems as if a documentary maker cannot produce something about Lennon without resorting to using this damn song?!

The rest of the album does not improve things for me, save (but only barely) the three stabs Lennon makes at real retro rock’n’roll with “Gimme Some Truth“, “Crippled Inside” and “It’s So Hard

Jealous Guy” may well have stood the test of time and turned itself into another ‘classic’, but I’m afraid I always equate the song with Bryan Ferry’s AWFUL cash-in version, released just a month or two after Lennon was gunned down. It signalled the end of my ongoing love affair with Roxy Music.

I Don’t Want to be a Soldier” is a sloppy cacophony (as if, somehow he didn’t care what it sounded like)

Oh My Love” and “How?” are somnambulistic bore fests, whilst “How Do You Sleep?” (Lennon thinly veiled attack on Paul McCartney) shows itself as no more than angry nonsense.

The least said about “Oh Yoko” the better. I think the whole world knew you loved her John, no need to rub it in.

I wonder if any of my readers also despise any supposed “classic albums”?

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries