Tag Archives: Vivian Stanshall

When Big Joan Sets Up 21st April – The Return of The Wrinkled Retainer

Every year since When Big Joan Sets Up came screeching into a hostile world back in 2006, for one week a year we have put aside our commitment to new music (why I’m referring to myself as “we” as if the progamme is put together by an assemblage of like minded enthusiasts, when in actuality, it is created by me hunched quasimodally over a virus ridden computer in a foul smelling back bedroom festooned with Everest like piles of 7″ singles, yellowing back issues of the NME and curiously, a ukelele which I don’t remeber having bought , I don’t know) to bring you an installment of the “Rawlinson End” saga as recorded periodically for John Peel’s peerless Radio 1 programmes between 1977 and 1990 by the late great Vivian Stanshall.

This is done for two reasons. Firstly because these grotesquely surreal vignettes are among the greatest radio broadcasts of our age, and, more pertinently, because I can’t hear Sir Henry Rawlinson’s butler Old Scrotum described as “the wrinkled retainer” without snorting like a Swallow Bellied Mangalitsa with rabies.


If you too have a favourite breed of pig, please feel free to add a comment.

Monkey Maffia – “Yo Baby Yo” (v/a LP – “Kompakt Benefit Compilation for Japan”) (Kompakt Japan) availble from http://kompakt-japan-benefit.bandcamp.com/
Meat Curtains – “I Hate Rock n Roll” (Cassette – “Eden Disorder”) (Scotch Tapes)
The Germs – “Sugar Sugar” (LP – “Germicide”) (Bomp)
cp – “Smoke Crack With Whitney (Long Love Version)” (download EP “I’ve Been Really Trying, Baby”) (Self Released)
Trap Them – “St. Peelers” (LP -“Darker Handcraft”) (Prosthetic)
Marry Waterson and Oliver Knight – “Curse The Day” (LP – “The Days That Shaped Me”) (One Little Indian)
African Headcharge – “Undulating” (LP – “Voodoo Of The Godsent”) (On-U-Sound)
Vivian Stanshall – “An Absence of Whelks (Part 34)” (John Peel Session)
FFF – “Acceler8” (LP – 20,000 Hardcore Members Can’t Be Wrong) (Murder Channel)
A Grave With No Name – “Streams” (7″) (No Pain In Pop)
Orchestre Poly – Rhythmo De Cotonou – “Ma Vie” (LP -“Cotonou Club”) (Strut)
Duke Ellington and His Cotton Club Stompers – “Carnival In Caroline” (LP – ‘Duke Ellington At The Cotton Club”) (Storyville)

When Big Joan Sets Up 4/2/10- An Ooly Ginger Geezer


Vivian Stanshall

There is nothing in broadcasting history quite like the collection of Peel Sessions recorded by the late Vivian Stanshall for John Peel between 1975 and 1990. These stories of Sir Henry Rawlinson and the cast of grotesques that inhabit Rawlinson End, all rendered in Stanshall’s lavish prose with his rich fruity voice have been, like a lot of things, all but forgotten since the deaths of Stanshall in 1991 and Peel in 2004.

Lines like “A pale Sun poked impudent marmalade fingers through the grizzled lattice glass and sent the shadows scurrying, like convent girls menaced by a tramp…”

deserve to be disinterred from the dank, unloved corners of the internet and broadcast across the Aire Valley into the welcoming earholes of our avid audience of 4 people, some of whom I’m actually not related to.

And so they were, or one of them was, from 1977, on When Big Joan Sets Up this week alongside raggedly distorted Roy Orbsion covers, frenzied Dancehall about chickens and a raft of rude words.

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