At The Shed
Fellows is a British comedian, perhaps better known to many people in his incarnation of John Shuttleworth, an aspiring singer/songwriter from Sheffield in South Yorkshire, and a bit of a nerd.
The recording for Radio Four involved Fellows sorting out his antecedents and his influences and telling exactly what books or cultural events have had a bearing on his development as a comedian. He was helped by a couple of actors who read the literary lines that have lodged in his brain.
We listened to John Hegley (who likes chicken soup spiked with Ecstasy) singing Luton Bungalow, about the house in which he grew up.
Hovis Presley, the Bolton wit and poet who died of a heart attack in 2005 when he was only forty-four, was represented by three of his short poems: Thought For Christmas (“Wait ages for a wise man, then three come at once”).
We listened to poems and extracts from the work of Keats and Laurie Lee.
Some pathos was provided by the reading of the last logs of Donald Crowhurst who, in a deeply conflicted psychological state, leapt from the deck of his trimaran and watched it drift away, during the round-the-world race in 1969.
The real surprise item was a reading from Hunger by the Norwegian writer, Knut Hamsun. This is a tiny sample:
If one only had something to eat, just a little, on such a clear day! The mood of the gay morning overwhelmed me, I became unusually serene, and started to hum for pure joy and for no particular reason. In front of a butcher’s shop there was a woman with a basket on her arm, debating about some sausage for dinner; as I went past, she looked up at me. She had only a single tooth in the lower jaw. In the nervous and excitable state I was in, her face made an instant and revolting impression on me – the long yellow tooth looked like a finger sticking out of her jaw, and as she turned toward me, her eyes were full of sausage. I lost my appetite instantly, and felt nauseated.
(Knut Hamsun, Hunger)