THE FUNNY FARM

The Funny Farm was a co-operative of new comedians, based in Glasgow, in the 1989-90 period. We were a varied bunch, thrown together by necessity in our need to do-it-ourselves, as there was literally no comedy scene whatsoever at that time in Scotland, outside of the mainstream club comics, and pantomime and summer season vaudevilians.
We set up our own gigs in pubs, clubs, and community centres … did improv comedy and workshop nights, and in the course of a couple of years established ourselves to the extent that Scottish Television recorded an eponymous series of stand-up comedy, based around our members, which I hosted each week, on Friday, late-night
The original Funny Farm members were a lovely bunch of people … keen, funny, and great to have as friends … our enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment spilled onto the stage, and it was a great experience to be involved with such a fine bunch
Here’s a foto of myself, Parrot and Bruce Morton

Here are some really low quality shots, taken from a contact sheet I found, of some of the original gang.

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DAVID COSGROVE / KEVIN KOPFSTEIN

FRED MAC AULEY / GORDON ROBERTSON

BORIS VESTA (LEWIS MACLEOD)

MAY MACREADIE / STEWART MACDONALD

The Funny Farm tv series, was produced by the wonderful Kim Kinnie, whose Comedy Store connections in London allowed the show to feature guest artistes of an astonishing quality and pedigree, such as Bill Hicks, Lee Evans, Jo Brand, Jimmy Tingle, Sean Lock, Nick Revell, Paul Merton, Eddie Izzard, The Comedy Store Players, and practically every good comedian who appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe over the years the show was broadcast

Mall Teaser

Sculptor, Tony Morrow, famous for his Loby Dosser & El Fideldo statue in Woodlands Rd, used to live near me, in Kildrum, here in Cumbernauld.    At that time, he was a fireman, hadn’t yet been to art-school, and was a mate of mine .. with a great sense of humour.  The first time I ever visited his flat, I sat down on the couch, as he went to put the kettle on, and I started to skin-up, a wee  number on his large coffee table

 

Situated at the opposite end of the table was a box of Maltesers … but a box which was maybe four or five times bigger than even the biggest, family size, Malteser box

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“That’s some fukkin size of a box of Maltesers, Tony!” I shouted through to Tony in the kitchen

“I love Maltesers. Have one”  he shouted back

I lifted the partially opened flap top of the box.

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Inside was one HUGE brown, chocolate Malteser, the size of a volleyball.

“But don’t eat the last one”  Tony shouted ….

Leave the last one fur me”

I doubled up, pissing myself laughing

“That is fukkin genius … You should do stuff like that professionally”  I told him … constantly for the next few years, … and eventually, he did

Over the years, I saw dozens of people fall for his little trick … he’d made the box and Maltesers, perfect to scale, and it was typical of the daft visual gags he eventually did in his sculptural work

MEW SICK

MRI MEW SICK

In hospital today, for an MRI scan, which involves lying prone for a half-hour or so inside that large, donut-shaped apparatus, which is highly reminiscent of a cheap, sci-fi, time-portal.
You are advised that you can bring your own CD of music to play, through their headphones and, on my first visit, I’d taken a chill-out, Café Del Mar compilation, but found out it was totally drowned out by the noisy scan equipment … so, this time I’d taken along some throbbing dance tunes, courtesy of “Meccano Mind” by Syntax, which raised a few eyebrows from the nurse, and a huge smile from the radiographer.  I don’t think that 62 year-olds are meant to like bangin’ choons.
The radiographer was very friendly, and he enquired as to what the album I’d brought was, saying that the previous patient, an elderly lady, has just inflicted upon him with over an hour of “The Best Of Jim Reeves” … which should at best be ten minutes long, and two tracks at most, in my opinion.
I’d noticed that on the hospital’s own play list of albums available, there was a compilation of military marches played by The Royal Dragoon Guards Band, and I wondered if it was ever requested … “Constantly!” he replied “So many elderly guys ask for it … and it’s rather bizarre watching them lie there, their toes twitching away in military drill”
The fact that you’re supposed to lie there, motionless, made this seem rather silly, and I remarked that I’d heard a story, on a previous visit, of an elderly lady who’d come along with a CD that her son had bought her especially for her MRI session.  She was duly fitted with headphones and left in the MRI suite for her scan.
Within some minutes, they realised that she was twitching and flailing her arms about, and also raising her legs … this concerned them, as people with pacemakers, metal pins in their joints, etc, can be adversely affected by the electro-magnetic field of the scanner … so they stopped the scan and rushed in to see if she was ok.
When questioned about her movements, she said that she was just doing what they told her to do on the headphones … It transpires that her son had given her a relaxation CD, which featured dreamy, chill-out music, and then a soft mellifluous voice, saying “Lift your left leg … raise your arm in the air slowly, etc”
”I was on duty that day … I saw that” said the radiographer … “We thought she was having a fit!”
Fantastic … it must have been a sight to behold … so beware folks, pick that music carefully.

CRUCIFICTION

Many decades ago, when I was a graphic artist, we were told a cautionary tale with regards to checking your sources when combining foreign elements in a design
Seemingly, or so the story goes, when Japan was becoming Americanised in it’s commercial culture, some time during the late 60’s, the concept of Christmas as a shopping extravaganza was slowly and gradually foisted on the non-Christian, Japanese consumer.
To this end, a major department store in Tokyo commissioned two trendy, young, inexperienced but hip, Japanese designers to produce a huge & costly window display for their flagship store.
Being in an era before Google and the Internet, artists would leaf through books and magazines to obtain source material and artistic references and inspirations when designing such a major undertaking
If I, for example, were designing a Japanese-themed display at that time, I would probably have referenced images of snow-topped Mount Fuji, lotus blossom, the Rising Sun emblem, samurai, Japanese calligraphy, etc
The young Japanese designers obviously did the same, and produced a snow-covered landscape, with reindeer, snowmen, penguins, in pride of place, at the centre of it all, a large, and beautifully fashioned, Santa Claus figure nailed to a seven-foot high wooden cross.
A beautiful cross-fertilisation of Christian symbolism, in a manner that any non-Japanese artist might’ve easily misinterpreted Shinto symbols … maybe!!!
Whether true or not, I’ve always loved the idea of a crucified Santa … and being a heathen, non-believer who is aghast at Xmas tacky decorations, imagery, and symbolism, I’m amazed it took me so long to realize that vision.
Merry Whatsits To Y’All … Do What Ya Do!!
Love’n Stuff – Stu & Maggi