Spike Milligan has just died. A nation, and a Treehouse, mourns.
It is appropriate that Hugo should be the one to break it to me. As soon as I saw the post a shiver went through me. I
am deeply and genuinely affected by this news. I was only the other night browsing my prized (signed) copy of "Treasure
Island" by the great man and giggling uncontrollably.
Absolutely unique and a sad loss.
Saint Peter: "What are you doing here?
Spike: "Everybody's gotta be somewhere."
Oh man! A true genius.
I bought "Rommel? Gunner Who?" when very young (7 or 8) and read it over and over.
I'm going to leave work early and dig out my videos. A glass will be raised.
Author and comedian Spike Milligan has died aged 83 at his Sussex home, his
agent announced today.
The last remaining Goon died of liver failure surrounded by his family.
Milligan had suffered ill health for sometime and had been nursed by his third
wife Shelagh in recent months.
Norma Farnes, his agent and manager, said: "For 35-years he has been the
dynamo in my life and he was my dearest friend and I will miss him terribly."
I'll stick on more stuff as it comes through
Spike Milligan was the zaniest, wackiest comic genius of his generation.
The man who dominated the Goon Show had a unique and audacious sense of fun
and could transform a mundane situation into a madcap absurdity, leaving his
audience in gales of laughter.
But like the classic clown, his life was beset by manic depression, and he
suffered at least 10 complete mental breakdowns.
He liked to regard himself as a misanthrope and once said that most people
bored him to death.
But he was the complete performer, as irreverent as he was hilarious. And most
of it was off-the-cuff.
Probably his most famous - or notorious remark - was in 1994 when, at the age
of 76, he was receiving a Lifetime Achievement Comedy Award.
A letter praising him from the Prince of Wales, his number one fan, was read
out - and in front of a stuffed-shirt audience and millions of TV viewers,
Milligan declared: "Little grovelling bastard ..."
Charles, who was not present, saw the funny side, but many outraged viewers
complained to ITV.
It was his ability to shock and startle, and yet have his audience in fits of
virtually hysterical laughter, which made this bizarre individual the comic
genius that he was.
But there was more to Spike Milligan than comedy - indeed that was probably
the area of his life he cared for the least.
He was an accomplished poet, an author with several volumes of war memoirs
which, though riotously funny, contained the bitter after-taste of brutal
He was also a better than average jazz cornet and trumpet player, with a
penchant for Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong.
Then there were his intense campaigns - against abortion, against vivisection,
against factory farming, and, finally his fight against needless noise.
It was the noise of London which drove him from his home to live quietly in
Rye, Sussex, from where he still regularly wrote letters to newspapers
complaining about how inconsiderate people were with car horns, radios,
lawnmowers and the like.
His home was littered with "No Smoking" signs, and a notice on the large
front door said: "This door can be closed without slamming it. Try it and see
how clever you are."
Sometimes Milligan took his crusades to almost unbelievable lengths. In 1986,
he was thrown out of Harrods when he tried to stuff 28lb of spaghetti down the
mouth of the food hall manager.
"I told him it might give him some idea of how a goose feels being force-fed
maize to make pate de fois gras. Everyone looked stunned and their faces
Very, Very sad news. I can still remeber the first time I was turned on to he's type of humor in his Q8 days- He was fishing
for cod down a coal scuttle (Manhole) in Birmingham using the net an all! Another time he was on some discussion program where
everyone was seated round a huge circular table "I want to steer this conversation in another direction" shouts
Spike grabbing the table & making like it was some massive steering wheel! What a bloke.
Makes me think of when he was on the radio a couple of years back:
Steve Wright: You're looking very well, Spike.
Spike: Rubbish, I've been dead for years, and nobody's brave enough to tell me.
lots are people are called great.They aren't.
Spike was and is.
So NOW can we get to see Q ???
All other programmes should be cancelled for a day.
God love you Spike.
To all treehouse members who haven't read all seven volumes of the war memoirs(if that's the word),ad the wondrous Puckoon,though
|I'm sure you all have, go and get them now.
The Indian Dalek.
He was supposed to be the subject of Heroes of Comedy on Channel Four,for one hour this Saturday.
A true genius has died. This is so sad.
From a book of bits...
"The boy stood on the burning deck when all but he had fled...
Anyone that took pot shots at trespassers can't be all bad, just ask the Colonel.
Nothing much to add to what has already been said. Sat at work in a state of shock at the moment. A true genius has left
Heard the news on Radio 1 news - and all they gave it was a passing mention as if it was inconsequential. No tributes
or anything. Sort it out BBC.
Kellogs - in the Beeb's defence, he's hardly Radio One target audience stuff is he (and it is inconsequential in comparison
with REALLY important things like Pop Idol and Atomic Kitten, isn't it?).
It's been headline news on 5 live and Ceefax so although he may have hated the BBC for the way they treated him when he
was alive they have give him centre stage now. A bit late, admittedly ...
Genuinely, the world has just become a darker place.
Farewell, Gunner Milligan, RA, 954024
V. sad. A maverick maybe, a genius certainly.
Spike announces on arrival at the pearly gates -
"How do I get in "?
St Peter from behind the gates says " Turn the handle on your side" to which Spike replies "But I havent
got a handle on my side"?!
I have mixed feelings about the passing of my one real hero. Sadness that such a light has gone out of the world, but
at the same time a profound sense that Spike had lived such a full life and in doing wrung every last drop from it.
Go with God Terence Alan Milligan , there will not be another like you in my life time.
A former living and now dead legend.
To be sure we should campaign to get him canonised.
Spike lived in a mansion near Rye, East Sussex where none of the corners internal or external met, upon viewing it he
said he had to have it and subsequently christened the house "The Blind Architect"
Oh purleeze - can we lose the mawkish cosiness and get some perspective here? The Goons were hilarious and influential
40 years ago; they were superseded in every way by Monty Python which in turn were overtaken by Not The Nine O'Clock News,
yada yada yada.
None of them are even vaguely amusing if you listen to or watch them today because even more than music, humour is contextual
and relevant only to the era in which it was created. Milligan hasn't been funny for more than a generation; they were completely
unfunny by 1967, which means either Sammy is laying it on a bit thick with the "gather all ye around the wireless"
stuff, or Western Australia really was light years behind the rest of the world. Jeez mate, you're not 41 yet: to find the
Goons funny you'd need to have been listening when you were barely out of nappies. Whilst I'm prepared to admit there are
times I wonder how so much brain is able to fit into one head, I cannot for one second believe that your sense of humour was
sufficiently developed by the age of four to make the Goons essential listening.
Has no one noticed that Spike was out of the public eye for 20 years? Why? Because his last eye-poppingly awful series
on BBC 2, Q, drew an audience of four people on the basis it was unwatchable, humour-free, self-indulgent shite spawned by
a man perpetually on the brink of madness and drugged to the eyeballs to enable him simply to get through the day. If those
two things weren't enough, the fact that his favourite 1970s past-time was regularly beating the shit out of Mrs Milligan
were the reasons why the BBC refused to ever again commission anything from the so-called 'great loss to comedy'. The poor
old fella spent the twighlight years propping up the bar at Rye RFC, bitching endlessly about how he'd been sold down the
swanee by the Beeb, without ever once realising the BBC gave up on him because he stopped being even the slightest bit amusing
and the public tends to take exception to wife-beating comedians.
The only interesting thing about his passing will be to see the extent to which the Beeb try to rehabilitate him, now
he's no longer around to collect the royalties or moan in public, When they show the re-runs, watch Q or the Goons: you'll
notice you're unable to spot even the faintest hint of humour in either.
Spike Milligan was Prince Charles's favourite comedian. Nuff said.
Take your views elsewhere
Just stating a simple fact, sorry if it doesn't sit well with your cosy little outlook on life, but there you go.
It's not fact, it's mostly your opinion. To post it after what has been posted before goes beyond bedevilment.
You do of course have the right to say whatever you feel and I also have the right to say that I think you are so wide
of the mark that it is an embarrassment. Monty Python and NTNON would simply not have happened without Milligan so that argument
doesn't have legs. Of course the Goons have dated, but it was nearly half a century ago and you are completely ignoring his
greatest works, his canon of war diaries, which are utterly essential. He was darkly comic, strangely unnerving, hugely influential,
highly creative and delivering all this over 5 decades whilst battling with his breakdowns (NOT madness) add up to one thing:
the most important person in British TV and radio comedy bar none. Yes, we bandy the word genius about a lot these days but
Milligan was one person with whom the term fitted foursquare.
Of course we are also mourning the fact that someone we loved/respected/looked up to has died, so I think a certain amount
of circumspection and repect is due before firing off such remarks.
[This message has been edited by Boris the Tonk (edited 27 February 2002).]
oh? why is that, are people not allowed differing opinions?
Or would you like everyone to think as you do...what a boring place that would be....
I started the thread as soon as I heard because I knew it would be important to people here, as has been proved.
I too find the Goons less than hilarious, but they did have one essential ingredient that you seem to lack.
Leave it Barry , the grave pisser isn`t worth a word of yours.
Is someone hiding behind another name here?
Treehouse tip - Make your first few posts slightly more neutral. Another character.
I concur with Robbo here, double user name postage.
Still, without it we wouldn't have got that superb put down from Mr HZH.
Very sad to hear about Spike
Sad day indeed. My favoutite Q bit was the David Attenborough p-take. 'Hello, good evening and expenses..'
The woman whose house has been infested with a plague of Liberace's - priceless stuff.
In the last week or so we have lost three great men, some say masters of their craft, Thaw, Jones and now Milligan.
Its been a real smack in the face for fans of all three and we can only thank them for the pleasure they have given us
in our little journey through life.
A truly wonderful man.
He made me laugh every time I saw him, heard him or read him.
He was still writing every day (with his friend Eric Sykes) even though they knew the stuff was so off the wall it would
never be published.
His memoirs were stunning; I've read them so many times.
He once made my week my announcing on TV, much to the horror of the obsessive I was with at the time, that Miles Davies
might have started out as a genius but his playing now sounded "like someone with a red hot poker up his arse".
I will never see a Dalek without hearing the line "Put it in the curry".
From the Telegraphs obit ...
It was not until 1992 that he finally received an honorary CBE in the office of the then Heritage Secretary, David Mellor,
who made the presentation.
The visibly frail Milligan had everyone in stitches, quipping: "I can't see the sense in it really. It makes me a
Commander of the British Empire. They might as well make me a Commander of Milton Keynes - at least that exists!"
When I was 12 I found myself dumped at my Uncles
while parents and him went for a drink. On a shelf I found an old
copy of "A dustbin of Milligan".
This changed my life.
While still on holiday I scoured Newquay's second hand bookshops
of Milligans war memoires.
I'm sure my parents thought I was strange, as I cried with laughter
at these WWII stories, and why would I want tapes of an old
radio show?. Then I found Puckoon.
Still (for me) the single funniest book ever. (The scouts play at
the old folks home, is a masterclass in painting cartoons in
I'd never thought about it before today but Spike is responsible
more than anyone else, for who I am and how I think. That hasn't
I really hope that people will now see him for the giant he was.
I honestly believe he will be regarded as important as Shakespeare
or Dickens. But that's going to take some time. I'm just glad I
lived at the same time as him.
The effort in writing the Goons for 10 years has never been equalled. (And he may have suffered too much for it, I hope
space to smile)
I don't know whether it means anything, but in tribute I am wearing
a "luggage tag".
(What are we going to do now?....What are we going to do now?....)
"humour and music are only relevant to the era in which they are created." This is excellent news.We can get
rid of Mozart,Da Vinci,Sinatra,Marx Brothers,Charlie Parker,and ,well,virtually everyone,to make room for Will Popidol and
Ant and Dec.
On the other hand,you could just be rather dim.Not a new thought,but,I'm sure you'll agree,a modern and relevant one.
Oh, and to that awful early poster, you are indeed allowed express alternate views but I hope when someone performs an
equal act of gross insensitivity upon you or those that you love, you'll meet it with the same restraint that we've shown
Goon but not forgotten.
"You're a spy"
"I'm not a spy, I'm a shepherd"
"Ah! A shepherd's pie!"