Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future.
Manage episode 290946421 series 1301287
Ivor Cutler is hard to categorise. Whimsical and uncompromising, depressive yet joyful, childlike and curmudgeonly, an 'outsider', championed by insiders like Paul McCartney, he's perhaps best known for his collection 'Life in a Scotch Sitting Room Volume Two" (there is no volume one) or his much-covered 1983 indie hit 'Women of the World'. Cutler often referred to himself as a 'humourist', though his work spans music, poetry, children's books, performative and visual art. A sensitive soul and keen member of the Noise Abatement Society, he loved the small, quiet things in life - bugs, flowers, birds, small kindnesses and cups of tea. He hated chemical smells, loud noises and cars and always rode his bicycle to get around - whether peddling his harmonium to a gig to support Soft Machine or heading to Hampstead Heath to sit quietly with his notebook under a tree. The Scottish eccentric had a distinctive style - wearing plus fours and often with a flower adorning his hat. He would approach strangers offering small sticky labels with 'cutlerisms' on like "Never Knowingly Understood", "Illiterates Against the Nizis" or "Funny Smell". He was convinced that the world was absurd and met it with a unique blend of dark and daft humour, refusing to let it crush his child's eye view. John Peel, who recorded many sessions with Ivor Cutler, once remarked that Cutler was probably the only performer whose work had been featured on Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4. He continues to inspire a cult following 15 years after his death. Matthew Parris and nominator KT Tunstall are joined by Bruce Lindsay, currently at work on a biography of Ivor Cutler. We also hear excerpts from interviews with Ivor's partner Phyllis King and his son Jeremy Cutler, conducted by the producer, Ellie Richold. Image: Courtesy of Jeremy Cutler