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Friday, June 09, 2006

A candy-colored clown they call the sandman

Boy, did I feel like a candy-colored clown today! What are the odds of finding a shirt and tie with so many different colors that (almost) match? An officemate even wondered if they came together as a set, but no, they are separated by decades in manufacture, the shirt from 2005 and the tie from around 1970 (by "Hall of Fame" and made of silk, something of a rarity from that era). Wearing this outfit I felt like Charlie Higson's office joker Colin Hunt from The Fast Show (though he's a bit lacking in the necktie department). Charlie Higson is my idol of the moment. In the 1980s he fronted the Norwich-based band The Higsons, who specialized in both energetic 60s-style pop ("Music to Watch Girls By") and more contemporary funky silliness (you can't beat the groove they work up in "Gotta Let This Heat Out" or the giddiness of "I Don't Want to Live With Monkeys"), with a horn section (a.k.a. the estimable Terry Edwards) and everything, all expertly arranged; think Talking Heads without the artistic pretensions. I even saw them at DC's legendary Bayou nightclub (demolished in 1999), where my party of three made up about half the audience. Higson exhorted us all to dance, but I was eighteen and too self-conscious to dance in an empty club, so I just sat there and bobbed my head to a fantastic set. The Higsons' infectious tunes are documented on three CD's: Curse of the Higsons, Attack of the Cannibal Zombie Businessmen, and It's a Wonderful Life (the latter two graced with cartoon cover art by Higson himself). Higson and college pal Paul Whitehouse went on to create and star in the fast-paced comedy The Fast Show in the 90s, which I think is pretty obviously the blueprint for the current (and raunchier) hit Little Britain. There have also been at least three spinoffs of The Fast Show: Ted and Ralph, Grass, and Swiss Toni. But that's not all there is to Charlie Higson: he's a novelist too! I've just read his crime caper novel Getting Rid of Mister Kitchen, which reminded me of Martin Amis's Money but funnier, gorier, and less Self-important (a little in-joke there, haha!). He's written three more crime novels which I'll be enjoying later, and now he is writing the official Young James Bond novel series (Flash site here). My son is reading the first one now, Silverfin; he says it's "good," which from him is a ringing endorsement. Howard Stern, King of All Media? No way, it's Charlie Higson!


jackadandy said...


Kate said...

There is another one that would make a fantastic painting. I've been so busy with other paintings that I have not had time to do the circles Tie yet.

AND I may be doing a local TV celebrity's tie for a fundraising auction to raise funds for Prostate Cancer research.

Burl Veneer said...

Hello, and thank you both (unless Jack is speechless from horror, in which case I apologize)!

Kate, I look forward to seeing your new paintings, they're all going up on your website I hope?


jackadandy said...

Hardly horror, BV! Just rendered incapacitated by neurological response, heh... ;-)

Joe said...

I know it's a bit off the subject, but if your son is enjoying 'Silverfin', do you mind if I recommend my own books?
I write the 'Jimmy Coates' series - action thrillers in the same same sort of genre as Higson and Anthony Horowitz.

Hope you don't mind me recommending them. I've been enjoying your blog for a while and I couldn't help myself when I saw you mention 'Silverfin'.
Joe Craig