Rik Mayall: An artful dodger. #blogjune 2014

In hindsight, I first met Rik Mayall through “The Comic Strip“. We watched “Five Go Mad On Dorset” and “Five Go Mad On Mescaline” more or less at the time they aired in New Zealand, which would make me twelve or thirteen. I enjoyed the comedy – what I got of it – but wasn’t really aware of Rik as a performer.

That came later – through an artful dodge, and not of my making.

It was my brother’s ruse. He’d negotiated the watching of a late night movie – Zardoz, an examination of the clash between a high-cultured society on a future earth and the more primitive remnants of humanity who had been left behind. I was very pleased, as I was by the age of fifteen deeply into speculative fiction, and this came across as the real stuff.*

I was used to my brother’s ruses, but I’d thought his end goal was the erotic content hinted at in the tv listings. I was dismayed and vocally annoyed when, just as the story was starting to develop his real agenda showed, and he changed the channel. Above my protests I was assured it would be worthwhile.

It was. “The Young Ones” was to be, as for many I suspect, a formative experience. I could sense aspects of myself in all the characters – my ability to pontificate in the style of Rik, to complain like Neil, my secret desire to be a force of anarchy like Vyv, and obviously my wish to be like Mike – the cool one.

His later work was also, obviously, hilarious; whether as the slimy Allan B’Stard, the noble Lord Flashheart or the crepuscular Richie from Bottom.

RIP, Rik. I’ll leave you with his words.

*A later watching revealed it to be very stylised and needlessly campy – but still fun.

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About seanmurgatroyd
Library (Shared blog): http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Personal including infoculture, book reviews: http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Music: http://seanfishmusic.wordpress.com/ Last.fm band page: http://www.last.fm/music/Seanfish @seanfish

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