Scouse Mouse

This episode was recorded in the great city of Liverpool and celebrates the life and work of a great Liverpudlian: George Melly, sometime writer, jazz and blues singer, artist, critic, lecturer and aficionado of surrealism. We are joined by two resident experts: the writer Jeff Young and the playwright and screenwriter, Lizzie Nunnery. The book under discussion is Melly’s Scouse Mouse, which is chronologically the first part of Melly’s memoirs. It was first published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1984 and was the third to be released despite covering the first fourteen years of Melly’s life, painting a vivid portrait of growing up in a middle-class Liverpool family, tinged with eccentricity and theatricality, and his painful experiences at boarding school. Subtitled ‘I Never Got Over It’, it was preceded by Rum, Bum & Concertina, an account of his time in the navy, published in 1977, and Owning It, which covers his years as an aspiring musician in the jazz world of the 1950s, first published in 1965. The final volume, Slowing Down was published in 2005, two years before Melly died. 


Scouse Mouse was his Melly’s personal favourite of the four: ‘I don’t know why the events of over sixty years ago should be so much clearer than those of yesterday afternoon, but they are.’ He also adopted that ever-useful motto for the memoirist: ‘Life is lived forwards but understood backwards.’ How much this classic childhood memoir helps us understand the outrageous, complex and multi-faceted life of the grown-up George Melly is just one of the things the panel explore. They also revisit his brilliant book on the pop culture of the1960s, Revolt into Style, a book Andy first discussed back on episode 22 on Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family.

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