Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ken Campbell has left the theatre

Very sad news that Ken died suddenly (and unexpectedly) on Sunday August 31st, at the age of 66. He had performed in Edinburgh only a few days before.

You can find obituaries from the British Press online, which I may collate for you later - but you can handle Google, right?

In my initial scan this morning I found reference to a DVD set that Jack Phoenix made, of The Meaning Of Life: A Letter To Robert Anton Wilson. Anyone who hadn't seen Ken live (especially in his solo shows) missed something really extraordinary. I have literally dragged friends out, and got them to drive cross-country to see him working.

I haven't manage to contact Jack Phoenix yet, but found a couple of clips on YouTube...


He could reduce me to tears of laughter, and although that sounds like a cliche in his case that proved literally true - I would become hysterical.
. . . . . Ken continues his search for the Holy Grail of Comedy, the state of mind in which EVERYTHING IS FUNNY . . . . . .

ken campbell's meaning of life: a letter to robert anton wilson . . . .

Ken and RAW . . . is it our mission in life to discover our adventure and pang ourselves off on it - or are we merely entertainment for deranged demi-gods, the butt of a joke of such cosmic proportions it may be necessary to travel through the Wall or on very personal orificular journeys in order to appreciate it? . . . . .

. . or is it dogs? . . . . .

"That there is a meaning to life can be peripherally sensed by being astounded and also by astounding others. And it may be fully glimpsed by astounding yourself" . . . . .

"the Gnostic thinking was that the Creator is a mad barmy deranged demiurge, and that everything which exists in our universe is evil, nasty, mucky and abhorrent . . . . whereas God Almighty they saw as gNothing . . or Eternal Ineffable Laughter . . hence the only really decent thing you could do with your life is to laugh or encourage laughter . . " - Ken Campbell . . .

. . . . . what links Jackie Chan, Anne of Green Gables and the 9/11 tragedy? . . . who is the mysterious Italian futurenaut Oberto Airaudi, and what is his mission on Earth . . . ? . .
whatever became of the Laughing Jesus? . . . Do you suspect you might be an arsehole? . . And what can you do about it if you are? . . . .


I like this interactive VR portrait of Ken at home....wonderful! Thanks to Jonathan Greet (some of you conspiracy types might enjoy his versions of Rosslyn Chapel, too!)

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing." — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a shame. I don't know whether the Jack Phoenix DVD double is currently available (it's pretty interesting), but the best single Ken Campbell performance available on DVD is his appearance at the Fortean Times UnConvention in 2002. It's available here:
http://www.playbackarts.co.uk/meryfela/video.htm
It's Ken at his best.
A feature-length documentary was made about Ken in 2005, but has never seen the light of day. This is exceedingly irritating.I don't know why the director sat on the thing.

Bogus Magus said...

Thanks for the recommendation Anon - I had looked at the Merrifield page, and wondered what my quote from the Scottish Play would sound like in Pidgin! So I might have to get hold of Makbed blong Willum Sekspia, as well!

DVDs recommended above. See also Playback Arts Limited online shop.

Anonymous said...

Sheridan MacMillan-Thayer, now an LA-based producer on the US TV series Monk, made a feature-length documentary on Ken, "Antic Visionary", in 2004. It was shown once, and has never been made commercially available. Now Ken is dead, Mr Thayer owes it to Ken's memory, and those of his fans, to do something with this long sat-on retrospective. I have long-since lost Thayer's email address. If anyone can contact him, maybe they can help rectify this demand/supply situation.

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