Anecdotes

David Gibson wrote:
I saw Ivor Cutler at the Edinburgh Festival in 1982 I think. There was a big trestle table at the back with a selection of hats - one for each poem. Phyllis King (wonderful!) sat at the side of the stage knitting when it wasn't her turn to read a poem. At one point someone took a photo. Cutler fixed them with a glare and paused mid-poem. "Don't you EVER do that again". Someone arrived late with squeaky shoes. Cutler paused whilst they walked up the aisle, found a seat, sat down. The audience was suppressing nervous giggles. "I am here to entertain YOU ..." said Cutler, "and YOU are here to entertain me". All delivered in his wonderful inimitable style.

Mark Lodge (that's me!) wrote:
On the album Prince Ivor, Mr Cutler gives directions to his home. Having little to do one day back in 1989 (well, except a dull lecture or two), I followed then, and was pleasantly surprised to find a flat with a doorbell labelled "Ivor Cutler". If I'd had a spoon on my person, I might have rung the bell...

Steve McGowan wrote this brief review of Ivor Cutler's performance at the Glasgow Fair on Sunday 16th July 1995:
Ivor's show started at 2:30pm, and lasted (including a 7.5 minute break!) until just gone 4pm. (Why 7.5 mins? Well, he conducted a vote to decide whether he should go straight into the 2nd part of his show, or have a 15 minute interval. He eventually compromised by splitting the difference...)
He read from a book he wrote earlier on in his career. In fact, he said that he wanted to see whether his material had stood the test of time.
The book itself I had never seen (I could see both front and back covers). The back cover had a photo of someone with blond hair, lying on the floor with their head propped up by hand and elbow. He also read from his new book "A Stuggy Pren".
Poems and odes read? Well, not too many of his work from the 70s and 80s. The only ones that I remembered from this period included "Gruts" and "I'm walking to a farm" - and that was it!. He performed *no* "Life in a Scotch...".
Classic Moments:

Overall, it was another marvellous performance. I had not seen him live for 8 years or so... Sunday's show was just as good as then...

Mark Lodge wrote:
My copy of A Stuggy Pren has been signed by Ivor, and just in case the authenticity of the signature was to come into doubt, he has written '(genuine)' beneath - No-one could forge *that*

one of [pat olver|sophie lizard|tara & john wilcock] wrote of Ivor Cutler's influence on them:
I am 46 years old and when I was about 10, Ivor Cutler came to teach at my school for a few weeks as a supply teacher. God, he made a HUGE impression on me!
I already knew him from TV - even then he was already appearing on TV, black and white, little 5-minute clips where he would play the table organ and sing. My favourite song of his went

The green rain is falling on Y'hup,
gather your soup bowls,
make your way to the west side of the island
and wait there
for the green rain to come
It falls about eleven o'clock..
I can't remember any more.
I remember 2 things he did particularly. He used to sit and talk to the class about reality, like once he was talking about how in stories and on TV nobody ever goes to the toilet, and he said "everyone goes to the toilet, even the Queen goes to the toilet". I can't remember whether I believed him.
He took a drawing class once and he asked us all to draw a ball, a cube and an umbrella, and then he went round the class commenting on the way we had doneit, the composition of the drawing and the colour and the perspective. I remember he said my umbrella would have looked better pointing into the page instead of outward.

Chris Stephens wrote:
A friend of mine approached Ivor after a gig in Hackney with a view to getting him to perform at his (my friend's) poetry club. He is a big Cutler fan and enthusiastically told Ivor "I've been following you since the early seventies." to which Ivor replied "I'd been wondering who that was behind me." He didn't do the gig either (question of money apparently).

Steve McGowan writes:
Someone approached him at the interval when I saw Ivor at Glasgow Green in July/August this year. He sat down with her on the front row, and then promptly chatted away with her for the duration of the intermission. I don't know what they were talking about, but it was obviously a mutual interest.

Alex Brown asked: Does anyone know the significance of the banner 'Is this your spoon?' someone had brought? (to a performance - ed). They were trying to attract Mr Cutler's attention but he didn't (or didn't want to?) see them.
Mark Lodge explained:
It's from the Radio 4 play 'Silence' on the Prince Ivor LP. A character tries to call Ivor to the 'phone by banging a tray with a spoon. The spoon slips out of his hand (FX: glass breaking), and at several points after that, you hear someone outside call 'Hey Mister, 's this your spoon?' and variations on that. I must admit to that play being one of my favourite Cutler pieces, the enjoyment added to by the fact that all parts are played by Ivor, without any change in his voice for each character.
Charles M Christie further elaborated:
The BBC Radio 3 play I've heard is called "Silence", and is the one with the reference to the "spoon." It goes something like this:

        He has someone from the BBC on the line  No, Mr Cutler is not at home.
        "Would you like a word with him?"
        "I should like that."
        "Then I'll look out the window and see where he is."
        A window opens.  The window shuts. Sounds of footsteps.
        "Hullo."
        "Hullo."
        "He's down the road."
        "Could you call him for me?"
        "He's a mile and a bit down the road.  I'll tell you what, I'll hit the
        teatray with the spoon."
        Sounds of feet, of cutlery [Cutlery!] then the dull sound of a tray
        being hit with a spoon.  Followed by the sound of glass breaking in the
        middle distance.
        Window shuts. Footsteps.
        "I'll need to get another spoon.  It flew out my hand."
        Footsteps.
        Rummaging in cutlery drawer. More foootsteps.
        "I'm using a big fork."
        Goes to window.  Bangs the tray rapidly. ou the open window.
        Voice from outside:
        "Hey! Is this your spune?"
        C. takes no notice, and shouts as he bangs the tray "Ivor, telephone."
        "Hey you. This your spoon?"
        "Ivor, telephone."
        Window closes.
        "Hullo Hullo Hullo."
        "Hullo.  Did you get him?"
        "I can hear him at the door.  Back in a jiff."
     
And so on. All with his usual delivery as if English were a language so impossible that to express any thing at all requires concentration and effort and may often miss its mark.

Dave Anthony wrote:
I was lucky enough to see Ivor twice this year [1996] in Aberdeen in June and in Cambridge in October (?), although I was a bit dissapointed he did pretty much the same set both times. Both highly entertaining though - at Aberdeen someone had the temerity to whistle during the applause at the end of the 1st half which really annoyed Ivor who threatened not to come back to do the 2nd half. At the end of the show, however, he apologised and explained his annoyance was due to the fact that he likes to create an atmosphere during his performances and the whistling had broken it. I think someone whistled again at Cambridge but he didn't get quite so annoyed.....


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© 1996 Mark Lodge
Last Modified: Sunday December 8th 1996