Ivor Cutler

Ivor Cutler being terribly happy

Ivor Cutler had the MMR jab in 1936 although it was not invented until 1987. The unlikely consequence of these two events not happening shaped Cutler's destiny.

Ivor Cutler is not a Scottish Pop group. He is not a Scottish writer, playwright, comedian, raconteur, poet or musician. Cutler is all of these and none of them. He defies categorisation. So FirstFoot has stuck him in Good Scottish Pop.

He was born on 15th January 1923 in Govan, a picturesque part of Glasgow spoilt only by tenements, dockyards, other assorted heavy engineering and mass poverty. He has not changed his name.

Perhaps his book "Befriend a Bacterium" will go some way to explaining the man:

Like many of his works, this is a small book. It contains images of small labels with phrases which Ivor has had printed on them by address-labelling companies. He sticks the labels in places he thinks pertinent. Labels included in the book are "The essence of a label is to inform, but.... Not this one, Amigo", and "he stopped for a right good blink". He was recently reported as placing a "This smells funny" label on a Sheryl Crow poster. "Nothing wrong with that" you might say, and you would be right.
A portrait of Ivor Cutler for "Life in a Scottish Sitting Room 2"
A portrait of Ivor Cutler for "Life in a Scottish Sitting Room 2"

In a varied career, he has worked for Rolls Royce as an apprentice fitter, for the RAF, from which he was discharged; "Dismissed for dreaminess." For twenty years he was a children's teacher in London teaching music, African drumming, movement and poetry.

His public broadcasting began in 1959 but he became a cult icon when John Peel offered him sessions on his Radio 1 show. He has now broadcast more than 20 Peel Sessions. His reply on being asked why John Peel continued to champion him is typical of the man, "When I asked him (John Peel) why, a couple of times, he just smiled quietly and said nothing. Maybe the Director-General forced him to. "

Ivor Cutler lives in Parliament Hill Fields, London. On the LP Prince Ivor, he describes how you can get to his house and anecdotal evidence suggests that if you follow the instructions you will end up there. However, he is a private man.

"Since the acceptance of bacteria as a life form, bacteria bridge clubs have sprung up all over... A whole tournament can be over in one tenth of a second: you should see them deal."


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