Monday, September 14, 2009

Are You All Sitting Comfortbold Two Square On Your Botties?

Then I'll begin....

So starts the second half of Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, one of the greatest albums ever made.

As well as having the Small Faces at their peak, mixing mod, musichall and rock stompers together, the second half of the album is a concept piece narrated by one of my stranger heroes, Stanley Unwin.

Unwin famously jabbered in his own language, Unwinese, and his utterances on the second half of Ogden's are wonderful.

I can't accurately annotate his contributions, but this comes from Wikipedia:

Unwinese, also known as "Basic Engly Twentyfido" - probably a reference to Charles Kay Ogden's 1930 work "Basic English", which strips the language down to 8509 words, was a special, ornamented and mangled form of English in which many of the words were corrupted in a playful and humorous way. Unwin’s performances could be hilarious yet disorienting although the meaning and context were always conveyed in a disguised and picturesque style.

Unwinese was very poetic in the way it alluded to its subject – e.g. Elvis Presley and his contemporaries are described as having ‘wasp-waist and swivel-hippy’ – and it was often punctuated with moments of clarity and directness to accentuate the ‘nonsense’ – e.g. ‘Deep joy!’ ‘Oh yes’.

Unwin claimed his gift came from his mother, who once told him that on the way home she had "falolloped over and grazed her kneeclabbers". This phrase eventually turned up in one of Unwin's monologues, Goldiloppers and the Three Bearloders.

I've just purchased Unwin's first album, Rotatey Diskers With Unwin, and it's fabulous. And available from Amazon for less than £3. At that price, it's a steal.

Unwin's website can be seen here.

And my favourite piece of Unwin trivia: He is buried in the churchyard at Long Buckby, with wife Frances, who pre-deceased him. Their gravestone has the epitaph, "Reunitey in the heavenly-bode – Deep Joy".

2 comments:

bigrab said...

I think he'd be a hoot doing satnav!

Cedric M. Kippers said...

genius album. i was shocked to see someone else in my age group actually know it, let alone appreciate it.