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The odd boy: a celebration of Vivian Stanshall

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This article celebrates the work of Vivian Stanshall (19431995), frontman of the anarchic comedy/music group The Bonzo Dog Band, creator of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and ferociously self-aware English eccentric. Though not a household name, Stanshall made an influential contribution to British comedy and culture through his highly original involvement in a range of genres, formats and media. I argue that Stanshall was a significant figure in the 1950s and 1960s art school/art-into-pop phenomenon, and that his work richly reflects and adds to understandings of the cultural cross-fertilizations of the era. With a unique voice, Stanshall explored the visionary, the grotesque and the nonsensical in different English settings, and displayed a desire to both lampoon and celebrate a kind of Englishness that many consider long outmoded.
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Keywords: 1960s; Englishness; Vivian Stanshall; bricolage; comedy; eccentricity; the carnivalesque; wordplay

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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