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The gorgeous, beautiful, hilarious, gentleman Rik Mayall who helped to shape the alternative comedy scene with a new humour for my generation died today.

His first popular role on the BBC was in The Young Ones in which he played Rik the grotesque, neurotic, lefty student with a penchant for Cliff Richard, which led to releasing a record with an hilarious video for Comic Relief with Cliff. 

He and three other miscreants (students!) lived in a delapidated house with a dodgy landlord who all seemed to be moaning about everything being so 'BORING'. So much so they missed various bands playing like Dexys Midnight Runners, Motörhead, The Damned, Madness and Rip Rig and Panic.  Very resonant for a lot of us in London with no money at the time and looking for a party!

The list of his roles and performances are too numerous to mention but just a few include Kevin Turvey the Brummie drip, and he and Ade Edmondson (Vyvyan the mad punk in The Young Ones) were the Dangerous Brothers and Bottom - slapstick meets Chainsaw Massacre! 

He was brilliant as the sleazy Tory MP, Alan B'stard in The New Statesman and appeared in Black Adder as the bombastic Lord Flasheart not forgetting the fabulous Bad News as part of The Comic Strip Presents.... Its members were Vim Fuego (aka Alan Metcalfe), vocals and lead guitar (played by Ade Edmondson); Den Dennis, rhythm guitar (Nigel Planer); Colin Grigson, bass (Rik Mayall); and Spider Webb, drums (Peter Richardson) - comedy doesn't get much more side splittingly funnier.  In fact I remember recommending it to cheer up my friend up who was particularly down and it was the perfect antidote.

Rik was left seriously ill after a quad bike accident in 1998 which left him in a coma for several days but he made a recovery and was working until recently.  Mayall said doctors had kept him alive on a life-support machine for five days and were about to turn it off when he began to show signs of life.  Speaking last year he said: "The main difference between now and before my accident is I'm just very glad to be alive.  "Other people get moody in their forties and fifties - men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just really happy."  A lesson to us all, don't moan about age!


Thank you for the laughter.

wReakious havoc In Pace

Posted by Wendy Young, 9 June 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 11 May 2016

Shabby Cheek - let time stand still

I was fortunate enough to go for a country walk after a lovely Sunday lunch in Berks or was it Bucks (confused boundaries but at least it wasn't Starbucks).  It was one of those halcyon days when the City is a distant memory and you wished you lived in cottage, completely relaxed, day job a million miles away.  

Everything was slow. The only buzz was bees around the flowers that hung in front of the 18th century pub, which thankfully is not gentrified. There's been some updating but at least it's not shabby chic as is the trend now (as in my poem Horrorstocracy Gentrified out of all control - no soul, Just boutiqued into non recognition) and it drives me mad. 

I have recently discovered Ian Nairn - a man who should have been Prime Minister in my book!  He fought the town planners who destroyed our town centres eventually. He died young (age 53) from alcoholism and liver failure - his admirers comment that he thinks he failed (life? saving Britain from the nihilism of concrete dross?). 

He seems a kindred spirt who wanted to keep the past alive, renovate old buildings - not flatten them and replace with soulless montrosities.  He did have good things to say about some modern buildings but as long as they were built well and in the right place.  He was a passionate but down to earth man who appreciated an aesthetically good town centre!  He wanted people to stop being listless and fight for their towns and cities.  He also liked the combination of pubs, people and preservation of natural beauty.

I wonder what he'd think now?  He died in 1983 but I've just found him.  In a way this poem the walk inspired me to frantically add reminders to my calendar on my phone, is for him.  It's rushed so not perfect but wanted to get it down write about the lime green butterflies, which I have never seen before and now know to be called Brimstone, flew around our heads who escaped the birds who get to eat them as caterpillars.

Time stood still moments

Like in Kensal Green Cem
In my favourite place
Where the bending of the wild rose
Highlights Victorian grave names
Long tail tits
Flew around our heads
Like caressing angels
Honouring us like a family acceptance
Coot shoots across the pond
Near the shabby cheek pub
Where we had lunch
A cold shudder as I wonder
Will it be gentrified?
Leave it alone
It all fits
Like it did in the film Genevieve
Among the leaves and the pond
With smatterings of frogspawn
Petrol blue and green dragonflies mating
Making me greenvious of their bond
A lone bee sucking the nectar of Foxgloves
Digitalis purpura  - a healer of the heart

O' Ian it could have mended yours
It heals mine just to look at it
If you could, like the bee
have popped in and out of the purple bells
instead of your local pub
Joined in the battles of birdsong
In nature untouched
Leave the natural beauty
Leave the camouflage for the lime green butterflies to touchdown
Brimstones of fire living out their numbered days





Posted by Wendy Young, 3 June 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 11 May 2016