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Music chat > A tribute to Mortimer Chalfont

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message 1: by Sera69 (new)

Sera69 | 1563 comments Now, I understand there will be a certain antagonism amongst the membership, being that it is a not particularly well disguised fact that Morty was amongst one of the reasons for 'Zon closing their discussion forum, but I don't feel that should detract from our appreciation of his genius. Also, while I may be endangering our nascent caravanserai by bringing this up on the Goodreads forum, (Morty's diaries were a scandal when first published and the fallout has never subsided; the ALF still have that pogrom against his person for Morty's "trip" to Japan, but really, who can say if the whale was still alive at the time? And the less said about his tenure with the Boston Philharmonic the better!) we should not be bowed by censure! True, Morty's works are also strangely absent from Goodreads but we should not take that as a reason to stay quiet!


message 2: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments I'm relieved to see the Cult of Morty Chalfont has found a new home. I spent an hour this week copying the Amazon discussion into a Word document to preserve the myth for posterity. I can provide a digital copy to anyone interested.
Meanwhile more revelations about the man and his influence emerge from recent interviews with Joni Mitchell (we wish her a full recovery from the brain aneurism). Joni clearly recalls meeting Mortimer in the mid 60's. He had a major drug habit in those days ( despite several spells at a posh Rehab Clinic called The Garden ) and was smoking about 60 herbally enhanced fags a day - containing a hallucinogenic substance he called "Stardust". He was clearly mixed up and described himself variously as a "Child of God" and "Billion year old carbon" and told Joni that he had got to get himself back to the clinic. Joni recalls that Morty's nickname back then was Ciggy Stardust ! Her last sight of Chalfont was watching him get into a large yellow cab on his way to visit a tree museum.


message 3: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Huck, I would love a copy.


message 4: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Have messaged you.


message 5: by Val (new)

Val H. | 13591 comments nc - I don't know if you saw my last comment on 'Zon before the Iron Curtain came down, but "Mornington Crescent" can still be seen by googling:

"thunderclap newman" "mornington crescent"

and viewing the cache:

https://webcache.googleusercontent.co...

I don't know how you get past Page 1 though. Googling

"thunderclap newman" "mornington crescent" nocheese

will get you to Page 2, after that, who knows. Maybe someone here can figure out if part of that long URL above denotes the page number.


message 6: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Hi Val, yes I did see your comment and googled accordingly. I think I had the whole thing, although I only read a few pages. I kept your link, so will have another go at some point. Thanks also for the message.


message 7: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments And while I'm here, many thanks to Huck for my vellum bound edition of A Tribute to Mortimer Chalfont. I shall treasure it always.


message 8: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments nocheese wrote: "And while I'm here, many thanks to Huck for my vellum bound edition of A Tribute to Mortimer Chalfont. I shall treasure it always."

Is there a Kindle edition? If so who’s reading it? ;-)


message 9: by suzysunshine7 (new)

suzysunshine7 | 14505 comments Lez wrote: "nocheese wrote: "And while I'm here, many thanks to Huck for my vellum bound edition of A Tribute to Mortimer Chalfont. I shall treasure it always."

Is there a Kindle edition? If so who’s reading ..."


I am! ... it came downloaded in Paperback Format and so now my Kindle App keeps on flashing up something about a Paper Jam ... which is very annoying because it doesn't also give the Recipe and I've got plenty of fresh Paper here all just waiting to be Jammed ;o>


message 10: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments It's interesting to hear about different formats of Chalfont's works - some of you may recall Morty was the first to propose releasing his Greatest Hits album in braille. Some critics felt this was a cynical attempt to boost sales after a disappointing launch; leading academics claimed that it was simply pointless as blind people could hear the music anyway. In the end it was discovered that even at 33 rpm the record still spun too quickly to be read successfully and the friction of the little dots on the fingers was quite painful. A later attempt to perform his single "Does This Smell Normal?" over long distances using Morse code was also unsuccessful.


message 11: by Tech XXIII (new)

Tech XXIII  | 6369 comments however it did make history by being the first download! if people were too mean to buy the morse code receiving gear, then it wasn't morty's problem! except that it was! his attempts at marketing his ansaphone tapes as 'audibles' was pretty sad though!


message 12: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Especially as they consisted in the main of other people who were trying to speak to him, most notably his landlord and his dealer, both seeking payment. His attempts to disguise his voice in his various salutations were quite amusing though. 'Frank Spenser' lacked originality and let's face it anyone can do that one. My favourite was Churchill - 'We shall nevah surrender'.


message 13: by Huck (last edited Oct 15, 2017 07:48AM) (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments Fitting to announce on Goodreads the publication of the new edition of Fritz Schnauzer's (unauthorised) biography of Mort called 'Mortimer Chalfont: The Man, The Myth, The Music, The Madness'. Have only had it a few days but it is revised and extended by editor Sarah Tompkinson (daughter of Monty's old euphonium player Dizzy). Apparently dissatisfied with the quality of the first edition, Sarah went back to Schnauzer's original recorded dictations (stored on mp3 files) and "re-translated" the text. Schnauzer of course spoke in English but with a strange guttural north german accent, somewhere between Arnie Schwarzenegger and a tumble drier. In some ways this is the first example of a book being digitally remastered, and we can only hope Chalfont's recordings receive the same treatment. As a result some anomalies are cleared up that always puzzled me - the first edition mentioned (Chapter 3) that Morty had cancelled a gig in Bristol due to "a baleful trombonist" - now corrected to "a painful thrombosis" and the puzzling reference to Morty's improved guitar sound on "Something Squidgy" being due to his having "two large hamburgers" is also corrected - apparently he actually had 2 new Humbuckers (electric pickups) fitted to the guitar! See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humbucker.


message 14: by suzysunshine7 (new)

suzysunshine7 | 14505 comments WOO-HOO!!! - I must have an extremely rare Edition then?!! ;o>

I have just checked and mine most definitely says that Morty attached two large Hamsters to his Guitar - which presumably were responsible for those absolutely extraordinary background squeaks that can just about be made out on the B-side track ... 'Getting My Furry Freak On' ... ?


message 15: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments indeed Suzy - i suspect you've got hold of an early proof reader's copy. The background squeaks on "Furry Freak" may also have been made by feedback Morty sometimes experienced between his Marshall amp and NHS Hearing Aid.
Further news on the Schnauzer book - apparently it is planned to produce an AudioBook version. Despite being turned down by Stephen Fry and Patricia Routledge, negotiations are going ahead with John Motson as narrator of the unabridged release.


message 16: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Not sure how well that will go, to be honest. Remember when the sports headlines (and indeed the wider media) were dominated by the theft of Motty's sheepskin? Well, it was hushed up at the time, but it eventually emerged that Mortimer, having been invited as a visiting celebrity to the commentary box (I forget the match, no doubt someone will keep me right), and very much in his cups, saw the garment in question casually discarded on a chair, mistook it for his beloved pet poodle, slipped a lead round it and set off for home, dragging it along the ground. The incident went unobserved at the time, since everyone was absorbed in the activity on the field. The police were notified, and eventually the garment, very much the worse for its journey through the streets, was recovered. Motty was traumatised, and disinclined to accept Mortimer's version of events. He did, however, accept a handsome cheque from Mortimer's management for his silence, and a new coat.


message 17: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments Yes, i dimly recall the story nocheese and doing a bit of research i find the game was on 5 February 1972 - Motson covered the FA Cup third round replay between Hereford United and Newcastle United for Match of the Day, which the BBC anticipated as a five-minute segment following their two main games. Non-league Hereford won the match 2–1 and it became the main featured game on the programme. Motson later said: “It changed my life because my boss on Match of the Day realised I could be trusted to commentate on a big match". So you can imagine he wouldn't hold much of a grudge. The mistake is easy to understand with the names Motty and Morty being so similar. He may have misheard someone say "that's Motty's petit coat" and thought they said "That's Morty's pet Heathcote"


message 18: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments I know some of you will find it hard to believe but Motson appears to have been carefully considered for narrator of the Audio Book:
(From Wikipedia) In 2001, speech therapist Jane Comins conducted a voice profile analysis to study the patterns of eight top television and radio commentators. The criteria included pitch, volume, rhythm and tone, and Comins found that Motson scored the best results. This was backed by 32% of football fans in a survey who voted him Britain's favourite commentator. This is despite Motson having a characteristic speech impediment – sibilant speech, in which he pronounces the "s" sound as "sh".


message 19: by SussexWelsh (last edited Oct 16, 2017 08:44AM) (new)

SussexWelsh | 4849 comments You may remember that the pitch was a mudbath that day due to the torrential rain. Apparently Morty paused for some time on the pavement after crossing the road to get to Hereford railway station without noticing that the water laden coat was still in the raging flood flowing down the gutter. By the time realisation set in and seeing the lifeless object, he was distraught in the belief that Heathcote had drowned. He desperately flagged down a passing cab to take him to the closest vet and it was only then that the driver, an avid football fan, recognised that the bedraggled "corpse" closely resembled Motty's garment.


message 20: by nocheese (last edited Oct 16, 2017 10:20AM) (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Perhaps Motson wasn't actually as angry as Morty thought he was in that case, Huck. He certainly had the impression that Motson swore at him when he attempted to explain and apologise, but perhaps he was only offering him a seat? Such a tragic misunderstanding, with far-reaching consequences. Morty always believed he had made a lifelong enemy.

In tandem with the trauma induced by his supposed loss of his beloved Heathcote, as detailed by SW, it's little wonder he went into one of his declines.


message 21: by Huck (last edited Oct 16, 2017 12:31PM) (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments None for ages then two come along at once! Got hold of "Mozart versus Chalfont" a book by Cambridge scholar Jacqueline Anna Bienstock who has published her research on a series of cognitive development experiments designed to test the "Mozart Effect" and the claims that early exposure to music makes children more intelligent. Extending the scope of the original studies, Bienstock used Mozart on a control group (Group A) of 3 and 4 year olds and for a similar test group (Group B) selected the music of Mortimer Chalfont (she said she wanted to choose music that was unorthodox, complex and almost totally unfamiliar.)
Fascinating stuff and I won't spoil it for you but as a taster, measuring the effects of prolonged and regular exposure to the music on non-verbal reasoning, manual dexterity, spatial awareness and bed-wetting, Bienstock recorded that Group A subjects were able to follow very complex instructions and retrieve objects (eg a pair of hidden shoes) but were then unable to tie the laces, whereas Group B subjects were unable to find the shoes, but, when the shoes were brought to them they could tie the laces (although they simultaneously wet themselves).
I haven't yet read the conclusions but, as a Chalfont fan, I hope it will be enlightening. Not available yet on Amazon!


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 600 comments Didn't I hear somewhere that he invented an instrument, called the Chalphonium? Unfortunately he didn't have the money to actually make any, and by the time he had raised the money he had lost the plans. What majestic sounds has this world lost.


message 23: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments Schnauzer is rather ambiguous on the reason for the failure to build the instrument Gingerlily. Apparently [citation required] when Chalfont asked Chris Barber to look at the plans, Barber was of the opinion that a decent sound could only be produced by an extra large conical bore, to which Morty needlessly took offence. Perhaps he thought Chris said "comical" ?


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 600 comments Or was calling him a bore? You know Morty had very bad hearing at that point.


message 25: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Much though I would love to share your excitement , Huck, those findings sound entirely predictable. I do hope this isn't another of those investigations from the University of the Bleedin' Obvious, funded by the long-suffering taxpayer. One can only hope that Dr Bienstock's conclusions offer some genuine and original insights.


message 26: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments I'm still reading through the new edition of the Schnauzer biography and finding interesting corrections and updates. I noticed in the list of Morty's TV appearances that he appeared on the Lulu Show in March 1969. The earlier edition claimed he performed "Hey Jude" - I didn't question this at the time because it had been a big hit the previous year for The Beatles. The new (Tompkinson) edition changes this to "Hey Joe" and of course it all comes back to me. You will recall that Jimi Hendrix appeared on the show weeks earlier and was asked to play "Hey Joe" but after only a few bars, threw a strop and started playing Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" instead, causing an uproar. Not to be outdone, when Morty took the stage to play his new single "Soup, Bring Me More Soup", after a few bars he announced "This is rubbish, I'm going to play 'Hey Joe' !". That's where things went a bit pear shaped because Morty was only miming to the track and it looked ridiculously out of sync on camera. Meanwhile the studio sound engineer, in an attempt to find the Hey Joe backing track and rescue the situation, mistakenly put on Lulu's own "Boom Bang a Bang" and Chalfont and band mimed to that instead. Lulu stormed out of the studio in tears and Morty wasn't invited on BBC again for several years.


message 27: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Mind you, "Boom Bang a Bang' was actually a better fit with Morty's song, so maybe that unfortunate sound engineer (who I believe lost his job at Lulu's insistence, the vicious little madam) was only trying to help. You be the judge:

"Soup, Bring Me More Soup

Soup in a bowl, soup in a cup
Bring me more soup
Soup on the brain, soup in my heart
Soup on a loop
Lentil and pea, carrot and bean
Favourites of mine
Soup every day,
All the time."

I think it's out of copyright?


message 28: by Tech XXIII (new)

Tech XXIII  | 6369 comments chalfont? that wee baisturt, ah'll sue the breeks aff his bahookey when ah get a haud o' um! eh' owes me big time, an' eh's gauny get malkied tae!

Love

Lulu x


message 29: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments I think Lulu was worried that when the public heard Chalfont sing the song he might have got singing it in the Eurovision Song contest. Happily of course she sang it and came joint first.
Another happy outcome was that Morty visited his doctor shortly afterwards complaining that his heart went "Boom Boom a Bang" and it was discovered that he was missing a beat and had to have a pacemaker fitted.


message 30: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments That pacemaker was a mixed blessing, though. Morty had been building a reputation among the cognoscenti as an avant garde artiste on account of his arrythmic musical compositions. He was for a time the darling of the chattering classes. After the operation, however, his output reverted to more conventional time signatures, and the fickle sensation seekers gave him the cold shoulder. Recordings from that period are notoriously hard to come by, and if you have one lurking in a dusty cupboard, you could find yourself quids in.


message 31: by Sera69 (new)

Sera69 | 1563 comments Morty's attempts to recapture his glory period (Thursday 3.45pm - Saturday 12.03am) are comical to say the least. I was browsing a local record fair back in my youth, not long after Morty had reluctantly parted from his then label Parlephony due to the predictable nature of his once advent garden works, and came across a live recording, presumably bootleg, titled "Chalfont Charged! - Mortimer Chalfont Electrified". I wish I'd not passed up the purchase but do remember he included a Dr M. C. Homer as shock jock, inspirationalist and charge hand, in the credits and thanked the Dr a second time for motivational support. Subsequent investigation on Morty's band led me to the conclusion the good Dr would be positioned just off stage with a dial and electrical switch to provide random "boosts" to Morty's performance. Literally shocking Morty's pacemaker to stutter and fluctuate. From these shows Morty unwittingly gave rise to scratching, breakbeat and of course the entire Hip Hop movement. Not bad for the wee little folk singer.


message 32: by Huck (last edited Oct 27, 2017 03:42AM) (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments An interesting and little documented musical fashion Sera. Dr Homer had honed (pardon the near pun) his skills working with Joe Cocker until the electro shocks caused permanent damage producing uncontrollable spasmodic attacks of the entire body. His modifed Cardio-Booster focussed the signals on Chalfont's larynx, tonsils, lips and nasal cavity and used in a fluctuating pattern made him sound successively like a bullfrog, hyena, vacuum cleaner and "constipated goat" (Melody Maker). Homer went on to work with Wilko Johnson and Aled Jones with varying levels of success. When MC Homer parted company with Chalfont, Morty was forced to release a stripped back acoustic album titled "UnPlugged" - the first in a line of similar projects by major artists, but it failed to get positive reviews which said it "lacked spark" and didn't generate many sales.


message 33: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments He should never have turned down the chance to record live with AC/DC and ELO.


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 600 comments Did you know he had a small part in Electric Avenue?


message 35: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments Gingerlily - Mistress Lantern wrote: "Did you know he had a small part in Electric Avenue?"

Obviously I was aware that Chalfont had a number of small parts; I just didn't know where he used to put them.


message 36: by Lez (last edited Oct 27, 2017 04:32AM) (new)

Lez | 7490 comments Is that akin to Roddy Llewellyn having a small part in ‘Charley’s Aunt’?


message 37: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments Lez wrote: "Is that akin to Roddy Llewellyn havng a small part in ‘Charley’s Aunt’?"

I'd rather not go there, Lez !


message 38: by Huck (last edited Oct 31, 2017 10:34AM) (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments I've been contacted by someone (who wishes to remain anonymous) but who has from time to time followed the discussion (on Amazon and now Goodreads). They were in Chalfont St Peter getting a rinse and perm last week and while they were waiting for it to set they became aware of the strange background music on the salon PA - they recognised it in fact as "Something Squidgy". Suddenly it all became clear. Check out the website: https://www.mortimershair.co.uk/. Do you recognise anyone in the staff ? Kaz ?


message 39: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments What a remarkable find, Huck. I do think the beefy chap in the final frame may be none other than Scromo Bunge. the son of Morty's harmonium player, Lomo Bunge. (See recent discussion on 'Crack the Code').


message 40: by Huck (last edited Nov 03, 2017 08:10AM) (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments nocheese wrote: "What a remarkable find, Huck. I do think the beefy chap in the final frame may be none other than Scromo Bunge. the son of Morty's harmonium player, Lomo Bunge. (See recent discussion on 'Crack the..."
Perhaps Nocheese, but my first impression was that he looked like The Fast Show's Swiss Tony character. That brought back memories of the time (early 90's I think) when Chalfont went out on the road with bass player Tony Reeves (ex Greenslade etc). Morty had star billing of course and demanded priority on posters and press releases. Rumour has it that he was so incensed to see a radio times headline about "Reeves and Mortimer's New Show" that he disbanded the group before their maiden tour and went into a reclusive period refusing to give interviews. The article of course referred to the show The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer featuring Vic and Bob (and introduced the Swiss Tony character). Chalfont may also have been hurt by reviews like "Reeves and Mortimer are funniest pair on TV" and references to "absurd musical slapstick" although, to be fair, he should have been used to that !


message 41: by nocheese (new)

nocheese | 6014 comments Wasn't it SwissTony who said 'Listening to Mortimer Chalfont is like making love to a beautiful woman.......actually, no, it's nothing like that" ?


message 42: by Huck (last edited Nov 13, 2017 09:00AM) (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments Folks - my FOI request has confirmed that Mortimer Chalfont is definitely NOT in the list of famous UK people in the Paradise Papers scandal that includes Mrs Windsor, Lewis Hamilton and Bono. Chalfont's PAYE self assessment returns were compiled in the Appendices of Schnauzer's biography (cynics claimed it was due to paucity of other material - who is having the last laugh!) and appear to include all his known revenue. Also listed are his Tax Rebate Claims for expenses incurred against his job, such as liposuction and 4 Harley Davidsons he claimed were necessary for the upkeep of his "image". The only "scam" of which he was accused was the purchase of lots of his own product - the 3rd album "What Comes After Two?" to artificially distort sales figures in the hope of a higher chart position and retail price. Chalfont claimed this was common practice and cited Norman Greenbaum with "Spirit in the Sky". Chalfont's album and rebate claims proved equally unsuccessful.


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 600 comments Isn't it time for a re-release of that album? I think there is a swell of support which might catapult a judiciously chosen single into the christmas charts.


message 44: by suzysunshine7 (new)

suzysunshine7 | 14505 comments WoW?!! - I tried a similar FOI request last year on Mortimer Chalfont but all I got back was a scanned copy of a Return Bus Ticket to Woking dated 1984 and a barely legible 2006 Morrisons Café Receipt for two Lattes, one Big Breakfast with a side order of Chips and a Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard!


message 45: by Huck (last edited Nov 13, 2017 07:14AM) (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments Gingerlily - Mistress Lantern wrote: "Isn't it time for a re-release of that album? I think there is a swell of support which might catapult a judiciously chosen single into the christmas charts."
Chalfont shot himself in the foot again with that GingerLily - no Record Company is going to release the album knowing that Morty might flood the market and deflate the price, despite rumours that Chalfont cut his losses some time in '84 and sold his stock to a Clay Pigeon Shooting Club down in Woking.


message 46: by Huck (new)

Huck Flynn | 158 comments suzysunshine7 wrote: "WoW?!! - I tried a similar FOI request last year on Mortimer Chalfont but all I got back was a scanned copy of a Return Bus Ticket to Woking dated 1984 and a barely legible 2006 Morrisons Café Rece..."
I'd no idea Morrisons kept these records so long Suzy. An untapped resource and one that might shed light on the life and habits of other famous folk! Well done.


message 47: by Gingerlily - The Full Wild (last edited Nov 13, 2017 08:10AM) (new)

Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 600 comments Chalfont shot himself in the foot again with that GingerLily - no Record Company is going to release the album knowing that Morty might flood the market and deflate the price, despite rumours that Chalfont cut his losses some time in '84 and sold his stock to a Clay Pigeon Shooting Club down in Woking.

Well maybe the time has come for him to experiment with social media. I would love to see him running a facebook /twitter campaign...


message 48: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments Huck wrote: "suzysunshine7 wrote: "WoW?!! - I tried a similar FOI request last year on Mortimer Chalfont but all I got back was a scanned copy of a Return Bus Ticket to Woking dated 1984 and a barely legible 20..."

I’d forgotten that the garden centre at Morrison’s in Boroughbridge has a framed copy of Morty’s order for 2 gnomes and a watering-can from 1999. Amazing that no-one’s nicked it yet.


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 600 comments Which? The gnomes or the watering can?


message 50: by suzysunshine7 (new)

suzysunshine7 | 14505 comments Gingerlily - Mistress Lantern wrote: "Which? The gnomes or the watering can?"

No, Morrisons ... despite all of the technological improvements in state of the art Store Security it would seem that shoplifting continues to remain such a huge problem these days.

Morrisons is technically still in Boroughbridge - but brick by brick it has now been moved almost half a mile down the Main Road from where it was originally sited ;o>


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