Thursday, 30 July 2009

Inspiration you say...

Weaver of Grass has had lots of bloggers writing about their inspirations this week. I've not had time (nor been in the right mood) to write much about this subject just now but I have enjoyed lots of the posts she has...inspired. One reason I didn't fancy the task this week I think is that coming up with the 25 influencing writers post back here probably covered quite a lot of inspiration territory for me. Also I'm not sure I even work on inspiration...that sounds weird maybe...but inspiration is one of those words I just don't use for myself very often (though I'm sure I use 'uninspired' quite a lot...no deep analysis please...).

If I do get inspired by anything or anyone I suppose it might just be people who can really entertain others (and I mean entertain in a very full sense). I find it really impressive when someone (or a group of someones) can entertain others (small crowds or huge) whilst still creating something of real value (music/TV/comedy/theatre...whatever) . I know some people see 'entertainment' as a dirty word, a kind of opposite to real art, but I really don't feel that way and to me a properly talented entertainer (say, a singer or comedian) is every bit as important as a 'classic' painter or poet (we need all these things after all to make our lives full – life is such a big project). I'm not saying the entertainers are more important...just equally so...and some really clever people can even be both.

So if anyone has inspired me in my life to date...oh dear...it probably wouldn't be an artist like Picasso, or a beloved family member, or an admirable eco-warrior...no, it could easily be someone like these two:



Morecambe and Wise - they're very silly but total masters when it comes to comic timing and much more besides. I spent a little while looking for their best clip on youtube but I liked bits of all of them so have stuck an assortment below. They're all a bit 1970s (and I posted a few other comedy clips from this era back here) but what can you do...it was a great time for TV. Well, some TV...






and one of the really famous ones...



Now I'm in the mood for '70s humour I might have to post some 'Fawlty Towers' next time or something. I write about music a lot (on here and elsewhere) but I sometimes wonder what I'd pick in the unlikely event that some cartoon baddie made me choose between music or comedy. It would be a long, slow decision process, that's for sure...

x

24 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Ah nostalgia inspiration Rachel - I too loved M and W (and the two R's) - they don't seem to make comedy like that any more.

Jim Murdoch said...

Eric and Ernie were a major part of my life growing up. When Carrie and I went on holiday to the Lake District a few years back we drove down the Morecombe and I had my photo taken beside Eric's statue. People had formed a discreet queue – how very British – as we each waited for our turn. Later we managed to locate a replica – it's about 12" tall (I think it cost about £70.00) – which now has pride of place on the unit in the living room. It's strange how we could enjoy something as radical as Monty Python and yet be as passionate for something that essentially was the last vestige of the old music hall playing out in out living rooms. And they were the last great double act. I wondered for a while if Ant and/or Dec – if you've not seen Love Actually you won't get that – might rise to the challenge but sadly not and all the others – Little and Large, Cannon and Ball, Hale and Pace – just fell by the wayside. The Two Ronnie did fill the gap for a bit but they were from a different tradition to the other four pairings who all cut their teeth on live performance.

Favourite Morecombe and Wise moment? Probably "All the right notes . . . just not necessarily in the right order." It never stops being funny.

Colin Will said...

I think I tend to agree with you about 'inspiration'. If I'd always waited for inspiration to strike I probably wouldn't have written all that much. There are exceptions; the title sequence for Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Highlands was a genuine inspiration. Just now though, I know that I've got to write at least four different poems for the three writing groups I'm visiting next week (one of them needs a poem on the set theme plus one for the read-around). So the pressure has made me write three of them so far, and I've no doubt that the fourth will come before next Thursday. Maybe I'll write about Andrew Preview now?

Poetikat said...

That is really my first foray into the M & W world; we just didn't have them over here (lots of 2 Rs, however). I always thought that name, "Magnus Magnusson" to be rather funny. That sketch was my favourite of the three.
Bring on Basil and his "Little Piranha-fish" please!

Kat

Titus said...

As previously mentioned, I love the Andre Previn one best of all; must find out how to put clips on blogs one day! I loved Saturday nights and staying up to watch Eric and Ernie.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes...the old 'they don't make them like that any more'...I did think about that as I wrote this little post and I didn't say it because...well...because times change and if they did still make 'em like M & W surely we would think 'em were old-fashioned and stuck in the past and we wouldn't think much of 'em at all! I loved Eric & Ern and still do but there are still good comics and comic performers around it's just maybe the material is not what some of us like or maybe we haven't kept up with new stuff that's coming out. I might have to get around to a post about good comedy of the present day. Not sure when that will be. Sometimes good comedy can be in unexpected places for a start (there are a lot of really funny lines in the 'Sopranos' for example).

Now,Jim, I've warned you about mentioning 'Love Actually' on this blog! That's a horror film...

The last great double act you say. I don't know...the Little Britain guys have done pretty well (not always my taste...not always any taste at all...but they are good at what they do and they are a double act really). I quite like the Mitchell & Webb guys too. And there must be others...and women? My Mum has always loved French & Saunders but I have always liked the idea of them more than the TV shows themselves.

We can't think of many more double acts right now. I'll obviously have to come back to this too! My brain is still on holiday.

Looking forward to your M & W poem Colin. I'm sure I have one on the way too.

I wonder why M & W didn't make it to Canada, Kat. Must have been something to do with distribution deals.

Glad you like them, Titus, as it's non-stop M & W here. In a way. You'll see.

x

Rachel Fox said...

And Jim I don't think there's anything odd about liking Monty Python and Eric & Ernie at the same time. We can laugh at all kinds of things surely (yes, but don't call me surely). Plus MP were not always that radical whilst M & W were sometimes more radical than they seemed (2 men in bed! on TV!). It's all just doing funny things with words (and faces and legs...and so on)

x

Eryl Shields said...

Oh, that was marvellous, I'd forgotten how much I liked M&W! And I agree that they were pretty radical, they were just so clever about it that most people didn't notice, which means they were quite subversive too. They really pushed the boundaries of the tradition they came from.

Also totally agree that entertainment is an art and equally as important as music, sculpture, literature, etc. Isn't, in fact, entertainment what Shakespeare did? And I'm pretty sure Mozart didn't write operas to strengthen the moral fiber of his audiences.

Great post.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh well you can call by any time then Eryl!

And here's the Previn clip that so many have referred to above. We just watched it and laughed at so many things - Ernie's face, Eric's cheek, Previn's throwing himself into it, the orchestra's obvious joy at being there. What is different to a lot of new comedy (perhaps) is the gentleness in clips such as the Previn one. You know, in a way, what is going to make you laugh and then it still works its magic on you and you do still laugh...because it's irresistible, enjoyable, fun to be part of (even in a small audience member way).

x

Titus said...

Ooh (just watched clip), that was as good as I remember.

The last one on the Tena Lady rating scale for me was Green Wing. I adored it.

Anyway, whatchoo doin' posting? Get back to the cleaning. (And which of you has the short,fat, hairy legs?)

gleaner said...

Lots of memories here of the
70s..funny to be reminded of Mastermind and its serious into music. You've got me thinking of all those iconic 70s shows, Fawlty Towers was a favourite but so was On the Buses and just recalled it,
Dave Allen.

Rachel Fox said...

I did watch bits of Green Wing and did laugh (especially at mad HR lady). It was so long though (each episode) and I was never sure it was worth all the time it needed.

And Gleaner - yes, Dave Allen is one of my very, very favourites. I wrote about him here. As you will see in that post he is something like my role model...is that the same as inspiration? I have no idea.

x

Rachel Fox said...

Hairy legs...that's another job that needs doing before guests arrive...

If I'm wearing a long dress you'll know why.

x

Titus said...

Me too.

Ken Armstrong said...

As years go on, Eric And Ernie will only grow in stature. Their like will not be seen again, partly because they were simply genius and partly because the sense of community of only having a couple of channels on the telly is long gone. We will never all be watching the same thing again.

'Love Actually' said Jim... oh how I laffed. :)

Rachel Fox said...

I may start fining people who mention that film here! I've no idea how I'll administrate the system but, like most governments, I'll worry about that later.

x

Poetikat said...

Rachel, I left a message on Titus's blog for her to give you a hug from me when she sees you. I doubt she'll see the comment, since shes' probably already left, so you can tell her to give you one (a hug) from me when you see HER!

Have fun a-rambling!

Kat

Rachel Fox said...

Hugs and cakes, Kat, I promise.
x

gleaner said...

Rachel I just had a look at your Dave Allen clip - gawd (approp. word) it was so good to watch and so funny I had tears running down by face. His sense of timing and delivery of the joke are brilliant. It also brings back lots of memories for me watching him as a kid.
BTW, I agree with you about 'that' movie - I'm for one, will never mention it.

Dominic Rivron said...

Eric and Ernie in bed (from Wikipedia):
'Morecambe was initially uncomfortable with the bed-sharing sketches, but changed his mind upon being reminded of the Laurel-and-Hardy precedent; however, he still insisted on smoking his pipe in the bed scenes "for the masculinity".'

Selma said...

I completely agree. I am so glad you wrote this post because when people ask me who inspires me I know they expect some big literary muse like James Joyce, but I am mostly inspired by humour. Morecombe and Wise, The Goons, Lucille Ball, Seinfeld and so on. To make someone laugh, that is the greatest gift of all. What an excellent post!

Colin Will said...

Thanks to Ms Baroque, my current favourite in the literary humour stakes is Joyce 'n Beckett Pitch and Putt, from the Irish Film Board. Truly wondrous.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks all for dropping by. And Dominic, I love the idea of a pipe holding masculinity!

x

Poetikat said...

Cakes!!! You ARE a dear!

Kat