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May 31, 2016 9:45 PM   Subscribe

Who was Ivor Cutler? A Glaswegian transplant living in London, creating surreal and playful music and poetry, sometimes accompanying himself on harmonium, from 1959 until his death in 2006. [BBC obit | Guardian obit | Telegraph obit ] By then, he'd also appeared on the John Peel Show more times than any other artist (not counting The Fall). [ A piece on him from the BBC's "In Search of the Great English Eccentric" | BBC piece and a Guardian piece on a biopic play about Ivor's life and times, The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor CutlerNational Theatre of Scotland's website for the play ]
posted by not_on_display (14 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ivor Cutler! I've posted before about the letter he sent me in 1972, but I can't resist copying it out again:

FOR YOUR WONDER, I ENCLOSE:
5 LOVE HEARTS
10 SAYINGS
HALF A BUTTERFLY'S WINGS
1 GOLDEN MIRROR
1 GERMAN COIN
3 DELICATE SHELLS
1 SAPONELLA SEED (WHiCH YOU MAY PLANT)
2 JAGGY BONES
1 CANNON BALL (AS USED BY MICE IN BATTLE)
5 MIDDLE-CLASS ANGELS
1 RED RUBY (WHICH I KISSED)

LOVE
IVOR CUTLER
XXX
posted by verstegan at 11:12 PM on May 31, 2016 [19 favorites]


oh I love that big talk, give me some more
posted by zingiberene at 11:54 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


seriously, thank you for this—my English boyfriend introduced my to the world of Ivor in high school and I like to think it helped in some small way to make me the oddball standing before you today
posted by zingiberene at 11:55 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cutler’s particular style of peculiarity doesn’t always do it for me, but some it I love. It was hearing him recite Egg-meat (the third link above) on the radio in the late ’80s that woke me up to his genius. Thanks for this post, not_on_display!

A song of his I heard only recently that has stuck in my mind, here sung with his accompaniment by Linda Hirst: Women Of The World.
posted by misteraitch at 1:04 AM on June 1, 2016


Yes, I first heard Egg Meat on Peel halfway between waking and sleep and it absolutely terrified me.

Am on phone, so linkage is hard, but it's also worth looking out his contribution to Robert Wyatt's majestic Rock Bottom album. More Cutlery wittering when I get to a proper keyboard.
posted by Grangousier at 2:00 AM on June 1, 2016


Mr Cutler's tones were ideally suited, I think, to narrating Edward Lear's rather sad love story The Dong With The Luminous Nose for Neil Ardley in 1971.
posted by On the Corner at 2:37 AM on June 1, 2016


A word of praise too for Martin Honeysett, whose delicately seedy drawings complemented Cutler's prose perfectly. Click on the book cover I've just linked for a closer look.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:38 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ivor previously, more so.

I had the same eye-searing Swanndri shirt he wears in the first link. It wore out about the same time Ivor did. They are missed.
posted by scruss at 7:13 AM on June 1, 2016


Ivor Cutler! One of my first comments was about him. Years ago a friend gave me a tape of Jammy Smears with no explanation. It sat around for months before I actually listened to it, at which point I just became an .
posted by foonly at 7:28 AM on June 1, 2016


"...the generous nourishment of the Spam running round my tyooths."
posted by languagehat at 9:06 AM on June 1, 2016


I read an interview somewhere where the interviewer described being invited to dinner at Ivor Cutler's house. The eating utensils laid on the table were, "of course", ivory cutlery. I still chuckle about that years later. Lucky man, being born able to make a such a visual pun.
posted by illongruci at 9:11 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


"'The earth meets the sky over that hill,' I was told by a sparrow with a lump on his head."
posted by Paul Slade at 9:51 AM on June 1, 2016


I cried the first time I heard 'Fremsley', 30 years ago. The ending still upsets me to this day.
posted by essexjan at 10:58 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hadn't heard that one yet, essexjan -- and I laughed out loud at the ending. I like how Cutler can be approached from many different angles and mindsets.

(I'm really only beginning to listen to more of his stuff that aren't the better-known bits. I doubt very many people in the US have even heard of him.)
posted by not_on_display at 11:23 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


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