Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: Hunting Tigers Out In India

If you doubt that Western civilisation is in decline - and may well collapse altogether by next Tuesday - just look at what we give our children to watch.

I am just too old to be nostalgic about Tiswas. It seemed to me to be imbued with the idea that not much professionalism or imagination was required because "it was only for children". Just throw another custard pie or bucket of water and that will do.

Later we gave our children dross like Dick and Dom.

I belong to a luckier generation because they made Do Not Adjust Your Set to watch. As one tribute site explains:
Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin all wrote and starred in the children's show "Do Not Adjust Your Set" for Thames TV and Rediffusion just before Python. The cast was rounded out by David Jason and Denise Coffey, and the animated Terry Gilliam donated some films to the second series, but what got most notice was the musical madness of Vivian Stanshall, Neil Innes, Roger Ruskin-Spear, Rodney Slater, Dennis Cowan, and Legs Larry Smith, collectively known as the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
Wikipedia has the facts:
was a children's television series produced originally by Rediffusion, London, then by the fledgling Thames Television for British commercial television channel ITV from 26 December 1967 to 14 May 1969.
This Bonzos performance is taken from the film and introduced by Terry Jones. The LP version of this song has goodness gracious me Indian accents that are absent here, but a viewing of Look Out There's a Monster Coming suggests that the band were not overburdened with political correctness. Yes that is Michael Palin and David Jason at the start.

David Jason was almost cast as Corporal Jones in Dad's Army and rather expected to be asked to join the Monty Python team. His eventual success was hard earned.

The incomparable Viv Stanshall, the leader of the Bonzos, was a friend of this blog's hero Steve Winwood. He wrote lyrics for several Winwood songs, including the title track of the Arc of a Diver LP that launched Winwood's solo success in the 1980s, and there are rumours that he and Winwood recorded far more songs than have ever been released. In return, Winwood helped with Stanshall's LPs Teddy Boys Don't Knit and Sir Henry at Rawlinson End.


Anonymous said...

A great find!

Now this, along with all the local history and architecture posts, is what I love about this blog, even more so than the politics; it celebrates all that's great and quirky about Englishness, and there were few greater nor quirkier Englishmen than the irreplaceable Vivian Stanshall. I assume you are aware that he died exactly 100 years after the real-life Sir Henry Rawlinson, a Victorian botanist, of whom it is unrecorded whether he kept German POWs at the bottom of his garden.

Simon Titley said...

A 2-disc DVD of 'Do Not Adjust Your Set' was released in 2005 and is still available:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Simon, those Amazon vouchers were burning a hole in my hard drive. Looking forward to seeing all these again!

dreamingspire said...

In later life Viv was often seen in Old Possum's Wine Bar.

Well Behaved Orphan said...

Three Bonzos and a Piano are appearing within a short ride of Bonkers Hall on 6th November.