One of the advantages of advanced and advancing years; I refuse to use the “O” word is that one seems to require much less sleep. Well in my case at least that’s true. Most nights I suppose I get 5 hours if I’m lucky (that sounds like a contradiction if ever I’ve heard one).
I usually awaken an hour or so before dawn and lying in bed with the old grey matter working feverishly; a million and one ideas storming through, trying to decide what’s worth recording and then when I do get up all the thoughts start to slip away; much like Eurydice slipping back into “Hades Hall” when Orpheus turns to look at her, Don’t you just love Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld? Theres one violin part that is sublime!
Anyway I’m digressing as usual as this is supposed to be about Spike.
Many years ago now, it may be 30 or 40 I was listening to an interview with Spike Milligan on ABC Radio, it was 2BL back then; and if memory serves me well, and it usually does he says modestly, Clive Robertson was the interviewer. Clive was exceptionally good at this, in fact I believe that whenever Spike visited Australia he would only ever be interviewed by him. Then again the interview I recalled this morning may well have been one he did in England and was replayed here. Damned frustrated now, hate to be unsure of my useless information.
Spike must have been the most witty, humorous man to ever walk this planet. His wit was cutting and never off the mark, but what caused me to chuckle quietly in the early hours today was recalling this one particular interview and Spike was telling a story about how he and the Goons were each given one word; and each had to add a line with the word being the last in the line and the finish was to form a limerick, If you can get what I mean. The Goons only knew what their own word was and had no idea as to what word was given to their cohorts.
This is the only limerick I can ever remember. The words given to the goons were:
Stowaway, Bombay, Tiller, Gorilla, Bombay
And this is what they came up with:
There was a young boy stowaway
On a troopship bound for Bombay
Alone at the tiller
With a sex crazed gorilla
What a helluva long way to Bombay
When I heard Spike utter this I collapsed and laughed ’til I ached, and even now after all these years I still chuckle whenever I recall this limerick.
And have you read “Puckoon”? Without doubt the funniest book I have ever read; my copy is now yellow with age and well thumbed. When reading this the tears of merriment roll down my cheeks in one continuous flow.
Back in the early 1960s Britain declared Spike Milligan to be a stateless person. Why? Why did they not grab him and tell him that “Hey Spike you’re one of us” So Spike became an Irishman and that’s not an Irish joke! I