Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Book review: The Spike Milligan Letter


This collection of letters, which comes with an insightful introduction by Norma Farnes - Spike's manager/PA - makes for a near perfect portrait of this much loved comedian.

Milligan gave us a world of comedic nonsenses but these letters he was also caring humanitarian, with a strong sense of civic pride, and that he would try to make a difference wherever possible, typically by putting pen to paper. My favourite letters include:

  • A letter to an MP decrying the local councils reckless destruction of beautiful historic buildings.
  • A request to the manager to of a band (The New Seekers) to come collect his mail. The manager was the previous occupant of Spike's office. 'The inmates of my office are taking mountaineering lessons and using breathing apparatus every morning to surmount the South Col of the mountain called The New Seekers Height. Samples of this mountain have been taken and analysed as being made from fan letters, some 2,000 years old.' 
  • A letter asking for a bird bath belonging to a soon-to-be demolished property, to be gifted to the National Trust. This is followed up by a short letter advising that while the authorities have been dithering the bird bath has been broken by vandals.
  • A series of letters to and from the phone authority are also classic.
  • His letter to the Ministry of Public Buildings & Works, that results in the council retaining historic Victorian lamps. 
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