Biography by Mark Lodge

Ivor Cutler was born on 15th January 1923 in Glasgow, 100 yards from the Glasgow Rangers football ground, Ibrox. His austere childhood in Glasgow has been a source of inspiration for a number of books of prose such as Glasgow Dreamer and Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Vol.2.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, he was evacuated to Annan. In 1940 he became an apprentice fitter with Rolls Royce. In 1941-2 he trained as a navigator with the RAF, but was too dreamy and absent-minded. In an article for The Sunday Times, 9th July 1995, Ivor Cutler remarks:

"Oh, the clouds were beautiful that day, so I spent some time looking at them. It didn't escape their attention. I'd already written home saying I was going to be Sergeant Cutler too. Dismissed for dreaminess."
For the remainder of the war, Ivor Cutler was First Aider and Storeman for Winsor Engineering Company.

In 1950-51 he taught at A S Neill's Summerhill. He then moved to the Inner London Education Authority for whom he worked until 1980. From 1961 to 1970 he taught music, African drumming, movement, drama and poetry to 7-11 year-olds, giving that up to concentrate on his other activities.

Ivor Cutler's first gig was at the Blue Angel in 1957 but was, in his words, an "unmitigated failure". He started to write poetry at the age of 42, and claims that he wasn't any good until six years later.

He broadcast thirty-eight stories on the BBC's Monday Night At Home between 1959 and 1963. His first screen appearance was as the character 'Buster Bloodvessel', one of those on the bus in the Beatles' film Magical Mystery Tour. He began recording sessions for John Peel in 1969, and continues to do so, most recently for Andy Kershaw.

Ivor Cutler now lives in Parliament Hill Fields, London, where he takes his chances cycling through the traffic. Should you wish to visit him, he describes how to reach his home on the LP Prince Ivor, but remember to take a spoon. He clearly loves cycling, and hates noise pollution. I can tell you little more about his personal life than that, for he appears to be a most private man.

So, what does the man look like ? Here's a portrait I've done of him. I'd appreciate the donation of more Ivor Cutler images.


Back to the main Ivor Cutler page
© 1996 Mark Lodge
Last Modified: Thursday November 21st 1996