‘Ning Nang Nong where the Cows go Bong ‘etc etc. Well I bet they once did in Ticehurst where Spike lived for a while. Yesterday thanks to The Bell pub and Kit Smith who organised it, it was and a day to celebrate Spike Milligan’s life and poetry with any profits going to the British Legion.
But oh dear so much rain and mud…even our Eccles cried off the walk of a mile or so down to the house where Spike had lived and instead amused himself in this fantastic village pub!
Members of the The Goon Show Preservation Society had kindly trundled up from various places on the map in the South East, to give a really spirited performance of a Spike Milligan script for an enthusiastic audience.
Earlier John Henty (left) who once worked for BBC Sussex gave an illustrated talk about interviewing Spike in his radio days. Some of it was very touching including a piece about Alice in Wonderland. John does another talk about Max Miller.
Eccles having been upstaged by John playing the original recording of the Ying Tong song refused to sing it. He said he had intended walking along the middle of the table like a wandering minstrel and then singing ‘All the things you are’ but luckily for all concerned he had forgotten the tune for that number!
It is well documented that the pressure of writing weekly Goon Show scripts took their toll on Spike and that’s hardly surprising. Younger people I believe got to know of the existence of the Goons through the Telegoon series, because they came much later in the day. My family were involved with them and I was a puppeteer for fifteen episodes.
But at the end of the day I think Spike’s wonderful nonsense poetry will be everlasting and children will read them for many years to come.
My eldest son first heard Spike reading his poems sitting in the middle of a chimpanzee party at London Zoo… such things did happened in the 60s.
1. I will be in Postman’s Park in London writing poems as part of Mixed Border’s at the weekend sponsored by the Poetry School and The London Garden Trust. I hope some of you might be there and come over and say ‘Hi’. and write a few lines yourselves.
2. My new poetry collection called ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ none of which are nonsense poems but several with rye humour will be available on the July 15th from Lulu (link on this site) from City books in Brighton and The Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean.