Ivor Cutler at 90 – BBC Sounds

A celebration of the 90th anniversary of poet, humourist and absurdist Ivor Cutler.

The deceptively quiet wordsmith was born on 15th January 1923 near the Rangers ground at Ibrox Park in Glasgow.

“I have a harmonium and it’s going to explode in two minutes”, were the opening words spoken on BBC Radio 1’s Andy Kershaw Show in 1980 by a gentle voiced Scotsman called Ivor Cutler.

Championed by everyone from the Beatles to Billy Connolly, Ivor Cutler was a poet, humourist and absurdist whose appearances on BBC radio and TV span over 5 decades. As well as producing a vast body of records, books and plays, Ivor was a notable eccentric, often seen cycling around London in plus fours, handing out homemade stickers and badges to strangers.

To mark what would have been Ivor’s 90th birthday in 2013, BBC Radio 4 held a ‘party’, to celebrate his life and BBC archive in particular, with a full house, with performers, fans, collaborators and even his long-term partner, Phyllis King, introducing their favourite poems, songs and memories of Ivor. Weirdness from the archives, pleasure for fans, and a singular introduction to those encountering him for the very first time.

Highlights include Bramwell and King re-enacting a morse code performance of “The Little Black Buzzer”.

Presenter David Bramwell is a writer and musician. He is the founder of the “Catalyst Club”; a place for enthusiasts to speak on any subject close to their heart. Ivor Cutler is a subject close to his, having kept correspondence with him in the 1980’s.

Ivor died aged 83 in 2006.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in August 2013.

Source: Archive on 4 – Ivor Cutler at 90 – BBC Sounds