I’ve Seen Your Art…


The peerless Arthur Smith returns to Radio 4 this evening with the first in a three-part comedy series about the history of art.

Visitors to his triumphantly silly gallery/installation “Arturart” at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2007/2008, or to his somewhat legendary “Arthur Smith Sings Andy Williams” Fringe show, will have some idea what to expect.

1. Classical Civilisation & Arturantiquities

Radio 4, Tuesday 24th March 2009, 11pm (30 mins)

Arthur considers the beginnings of art with a visit to the oldest man-made image in Britain, reveals the truth about Van Gogh’s ear and presents a guide to the unfathomable world of Dada. With contributions from Miriam Elia, Phil Nice and Paul Bahn.

2. The High Summer Of The Arturart Renaissance

Radio 4, Tuesday 31st March 2009, 11pm (30 mins)

Arthur deconstructs the Renaissance and asks if it is time for a ‘Re-Renaissance’. The artist of the week is Caravaggio, who was not a very nice man. With contributions from Miriam Elia, Phil Nice, Leslie Primo and Jessica Hynes.

3. Modern Arturart – Post-Modern Then Email-Modern

Radio 4, Tuesday 7th April 2009, 11pm (30 mins)

Arthur continues his journey through the history of western representation and arrives at its most glorious flowering – his own work. With contributions from Miriam Elia, Phil Nice, Arnold Brown, Ian MacPherson and Simon Munnery.

Thrumblenose heroes 1: Andrew Sachs

Andrew Sachs

It’s been a sad spectacle to witness the hysteria and subsequent witchhunt over Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross’s misjudged and, let’s be honest, crass phone call to Andrew Sachs. Having a wayward granddaughter hardly makes him a deserving target for mockery, which is of course why the whole thing misfired so badly. (Well, that and the rabble-rousing Mail’s pathological hatred of the way the BBC is funded.) But throughout this lamentable episode Sachs has shown true class, accepting their belated apologies and dropping the whole matter without any needless fuss.

But enough about it, here at Thrumblenose Towers we prefer to concentrate on the good stuff. And so it was that John (m’colleague, if you will, and even if you won’t) reminded me of a wonderful but little-known gem from Sachs’ C.V.

Tales from the crypt

Tales From The Crypt was a delightfully silly radio comedy from around 1981 featuring Andrew Sachs, Rory McGrath, Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith and Chrissy Roberts. Sachs played the splendidly-monikered Professor Glompus Van de Hloed, a retired Belgian supernatural investigator who runs a mini-cab firm. That the bizarre plot makes little sense matters little as the cast are clearly having so much fun that the shambolically fun atmosphere is infectious.

Unfortunately reliable information about the show is sketchy at best, but it’s a lost classic and worthy of a comprehensive article of its own. So while we put that together let us tease you with a few choice lines from the show…

Sergeant Porno:
“I think he died of Dutch Elm disease, sir.”

Inspector Bribeeasy:
“Why sergeant? Well look sir, he’s got no leaves.”

“We ‘ave a lot of sayings in Cornwall. Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning. Minced beef and mashed potato, shepherd’s pie.”

Sergeant Porno:
“I found a little box of white pills. Thought it might be drugs, sir.”

Inspector Bribeeasy:
“Yeah, so what did you do with it?”

Sergeant Porno:
“Well I didn’t want to take any chances, obviously, so I immediately went to the bathroom and poured the whole lot down my throat.”

Inspector Bribeeasy:
“Then what did you do?”

Sergeant Porno:
“Then I flew to Neptune on a magic swan.”

Andrew Sachs’ work on Fawlty Towers and Tales From The Crypt make him a worthy inductee as our inaugural Thrumblenose Hero!

The Blaggers Guide to Country

Last week saw the welcome return of David Quantick’s wonderful Blaggers Guide series.

Co-written with Simon Poole this is the kind of music history lesson you wish you’d had at school. Packed with weird and wonderful true stories it’s the perfect platform for Quantick’s eclectic musical knowledge, rapier wit and delightfully silly sense of humour. However much you may disagree with his iconoclastic opinions, he has that rare disarming ability (akin to P J O’Rourke) to make you laugh, because his clear love for his subject shines through.

Past series covered a diverse and seemingly scattershot selection of popular music genres, together with a short series devoted to classical music. This time around it’s country music. Yeehaw!