That pure Cane Spirit since 1848.
Friday, March 17, 2006
…Cue the music…(Yehudi Menuhin)…
…Hand of God passes imbuing spark to Adam…
Melvin Bragg (for it is he) :
Tonight’s South Bank Show celebrates the life and work of one of Britain’s most prolific artists.
He has been known variously as ‘The Scourge of Pomposity’, ‘the new Liechtenstein’, the ‘Hogarth of the Blogosphere’.
He has courted controversy, as evidenced by the recent fatwa and his third excommunication.
His books sell out.
His retrospective at the Barbican closed to great acclaim and last year he was voted Best Beard, by Asian Babes readers’ wives.
He is of course El Barbudo.
Bragg: El Beardy, welcome. It’s quite a list of achievements.
Barbudo: Thanks Melvin. Yeah I’ve come a long way.
Bragg: And yet in March 2006, you came close to “ending it all”. tell us a bit about that.
Barbudo: Yeah. Well, I’d hit a wall.
Bragg: A creative blockage!
Barbudo: No a wall. I was on a bike at the time. Right fucking mess.
Bragg: At anyrate you surmounted your tribulations and reaped the plaudits of your peers.
Bragg: Early on, you won a Maroon didn‘t you? How did that affect the way you viewed your work?
Barbudo: Oh Yeah. Best use of the C-Word.
Bragg: The C-word?
Barbudo: 'Contrapuntal.' You see Melvin, we were a loose grouping of likeminded souls seeing how far the envelope could be pushed. A sort of Bloomsbury Group in the rough. We welcomed all comers. It was self regulating. We could spout anything really. No one gave a toss.
Bragg: You believed in ars gratia artis?
Barbudo: No, I just told you, no one gave a toss.
Bragg: And yet, it was around then that you produced a definitive, for many, a seminal work; “God Is A Stupid Cunt”.
Barbudo: Well he is isn’t he? Look Melv : You’ve got all these dirt poor Pakistanis up in the mountains struggling to make ends meet. India on the one side ready to nuke them, the Afghanis on the other, running wild, hiding from American helicopters and British Special Forces who, as it happens, are shooting anything that fucking moves. Then you’ve got your Taliban remnants who’ve totally lost the fucking plot, beheading all and sundry and what does God do? Gives them a fucking EARTHQUAKE!. Sends forth ruin upon their fucking heads, that’s what. I mean come on! I mean Christ! You don’t have to be Brain of Britain to work that one out.
Bragg: But some would argue the notion of free will…
Barbudo: Would they? They must be cunts. Where’s the free will in that?
Bragg: Moving on if I may, you famously tried to have sex over the internet with a girl in Iceland.
Barbudo: The Elfshagger! That’s right!
Bragg: How did that come about?
Barbudo: Well I figured if she shagged elves, I was in there, know what I mean? Also, coming from Iceland, the chances were she was pretty fit and probably had a runny nose. Now that combination always gives me wood…
Bragg: That’s all we have time for. Next week, the secretive, reclusive writer and philosopher, K. Ayres joins us to discuss…
Barbudo: Hey! How’s your brother Billy doing?
“I WAS A MINER, I WAS A DOCKER, I WAS A RAILWAYMAN, BETWEEN THE WARS.” Great stuff. You don’t hear from him now….
Cue the music, end credits.