“Ivor Cutler is a Glaswegian whose humour is surreal, to say the least. He is a master of anecdotes, monologues, comic songs and poems, commentaries on the more neglected aspects of everyday life, and just sheer nonsense. But very often, if one looks beyond the nonsense facade, there seems to be a glint of a message in it all – whether or not he intended it to be, we will never know.” – DA Eger
I first saw him in concert in either 1969 or 1970, at, probably, the Royal Festival Hall in London. The concert by Soft Machine had two halves, a fairly unusual event for a rock (or was it jazz) group but then these were unusual times. In the interval Ivor entertained us with wry songs accompanied only by a harmonium, a child’s toy. It was so small that Ivor had to sit on the floor to play it. His lyrics were somewhat baffling, even if you managed to get past his thick Glaswegian accent. They made sense, sort of.
If your breasts are too big
you’ll fall over
unless you wear a rucksack.
In my second bachelorhood days, I used to have Saturday dinner parties in my Herne Hill flat. If the night went on beyond my bedtime, I would play an Ivor Cutler album I’d come across in a street market, Who Tore Your Trousers? (1961)
No-one would stay long enough to listen to both sides. Not even me.
Remember, you can’t erase a love letter with a nipple, however rubbery it is.