söndag, augusti 23, 2009

Cleese sista ord till Graham Chapman

Ni har väl läst att Monty Python-gänget återförenas i höst? De ska fira 40-årsjubileum och lansera en ny dokumentär. Förrförra återföreningen, på humorfestivalen i Aspen 1998, innebar en av de mest svindlande komiska uppvisningarna någonsin. Det skrev jag om här.

Dagens arkivklipp handlar dock om något annat. Något lite mer stillsamt. Det är John Cleese klassiska tal på Graham Chapmans begravning, från 1989. Kärleksfullt, modigt och till fullo sant mot sin vän. Dessutom förstås, vansinnigt roligt:

Faktum är att det där inte var hela talet. Han fortsätter så här:

"You see, the trouble is, I can't. If he were here with me now I would probably have the courage, because he always emboldened me. But the truth is, I lack his balls, his splendid defiance. And so I'll have to content myself instead with saying 'Betty Mardsen...'

But bolder and less inhibited spirits than me follow today. Jones and Idle, Gilliam and Palin. Heaven knows what the next hour will bring in Graham's name. Trousers dropping, blasphemers on pogo sticks, spectacular displays of high-speed farting, synchronised incest. One of the four is planning to stuff a dead ocelot and a 1922 Remington typewriter up his own arse to the sound of the second movement of Elgar's cello concerto. And that's in the first half.

Because you see, Gray would have wanted it this way. Really. Anything for him but mindless good taste. And that's what I'll always remember about him---apart, of course, from his Olympian extravagance. He was the prince of bad taste. He loved to shock. In fact, Gray, more than anyone I knew, embodied and symbolised all that was most offensive and juvenile in Monty Python. And his delight in shocking people led him on to greater and greater feats. I like to think of him as the pioneering beacon that beat the path along which fainter spirits could follow.

Some memories. I remember writing the undertaker speech with him, and him suggesting the punch line, 'All right, we'll eat her, but if you feel bad about it afterwards, we'll dig a grave and you can throw up into it.' I remember discovering in 1969, when we wrote every day at the flat where Connie Booth and I lived, that he'd recently discovered the game of printing four-letter words on neat little squares of paper, and then quietly placing them at strategic points around our flat, forcing Connie and me into frantic last minute paper chases whenever we were expecting important guests.

I remember him at BBC parties crawling around on all fours, rubbing himself affectionately against the legs of gray-suited executives, and delicately nibbling the more appetizing female calves. Mrs. Eric Morecambe remembers that too.

I remember his being invited to speak at the Oxford union, and entering the chamber dressed as a carrot---a full length orange tapering costume with a large, bright green sprig as a hat----and then, when his turn came to speak, refusing to do so. He just stood there, literally speechless, for twenty minutes, smiling beatifically. The only time in world history that a totally silent man has succeeded in inciting a riot.

I remember Graham receiving a Sun newspaper TV award from Reggie Maudling. Who else! And taking the trophy falling to the ground and crawling all the way back to his table, screaming loudly, as loudly as he could. And if you remember Gray, that was very loud indeed.

It is magnificent, isn't it? You see, the thing about shock... is not that it upsets some people, I think; I think that it gives others a momentary joy of liberation, as we realised in that instant that the social rules that constrict our lives so terribly are not actually very important.

Well, Gray can't do that for us anymore. He's gone. He is an ex-Chapman. All we have of him now is our memories. But it will be some time before they fade.

Varje söndag rotar jag lite extra i arkiven för att bjuda på ett okänt eller bortglömt klipp ur populärkulturhistorien. Här hittar du en sammanställning över de jag har hittat hittills.

5 kommentarer:

Erik "Semlan" sa...

Det är ett underbart tal! Tror jag själv haft med det i min blogg. Så skönt att det blir skratt och att Cleese vågar ta det vidare. Såg du namnfadäsen som SVT gjorde igår i Minnenas television? Jag har blogginlägg om det http://erik56.blogg.se/2009/august/nojesmassakern-och-vackra-malningar.html
Ja, klantigt av SVT (fast det händer ju nu och då).

saom sa...

Nej, det hade jag missat. Märklig historia!

Maria sa...

Helt fantastiskt underbart och ett härligt sätt att säga adjö till en sån makalös man. Hade inte läst eller sett det innan så det uppskattas att du lade upp det! ^^

Maz sa...

Oj vilken kul blogg :) *addar*

Ester sa...

Svar: Tack så mycket! :)