In between snoozing and boozing, Viv Stanshall actually fitted quite a bit into his 52 years. On a good day, he'd call me "Amigo"; on a bad day "Arthur Daley"; and that about summed up our relationship over the last 27 years.
His talents included water-colours, oils and acrylics, pottery, carving, etching and (my favourite) making masks from dog ends. He would paint everything - chairs, cups, walls and toilets.
He had no truck with politics or sport, but he did play snooker very well indeed, loved nature and was a member of the Zoological Society, where he would take lunch and attend lectures. He liked all his clothes to be handmade by craftsmen; he was mad about books, especially biographies and reference works, and would never leave them out of sight. He would agonise over everything... he was always working on a final draft, hating to let it go. He was a perfectionist. His musical tastes narrowed towards the end but included Glen Shirley, Link Wray and the Fairports. The death of close friends - Moonie, Rebop, B.J. Wilson and Ollie Halsall - left deep scars. His last public gig was at the Malt Room, Kendal, on Friday December 20th, 1993.
As far as I know, Viv had been recording stuff under his own steam over the last few years and, having just secured a deal with Warners, all was looking rosy. The tracks he played me had no vocals on them, so I'm not sure they will ever see the light of day.
I hope to put out the Radio Flashes tape one day. It is fantastic! There is a Strange Fruit compilation of Bonzo sessions ready, and maybe a poetry book - so watch out for them.
I am left with many rich and terrifying memories of this man. I bet you all have too.
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