I only recently saw the Get The Horn video and,
firstly, I was quite amazed at how young Peter and Dudley looked.
Secondly, and more amazingly, is the difference between the film
and the album. The album, being obviously an aural experience, enables
you to imagine Derek & Clive, the characters, in whatever you
imagine them to dress in, however you imagine them to look. The
film's a somewhat different proposition, where we have Pete and
Dud, best of friends and best of enemies, on their stools in the
studio, needling each other. You'll notice in the film Pete and
Dud, when performing, always face the control room. We would be
their focal point; they needed to feel like they were playing to
an audience. The great thing about them was it was all so mad. You're
either into that humour or you're not. But, for me, even the larking
around between takes is priceless in its way because it's not ever
going to happen again.
Personally, I prefer the more scripted, prepared,
stuff "Behind The Fridge" and so on - because there's
more substance to it. Not so reliant on effing and blinding. The
Derek & Clive albums deserve their place 'cos no-one but Pete
and Dud had the balls to do it and I suppose it broke down barriers
for the next wave of comedians. Some Derek & Clive skits are
very funny, others marginally so, but seeing the film again brought
home to me the fact that Pete and Dud as a collaboration were past
their best. The first Derek & Clive was the most spontaneous;
the other two were very formulaic. Their Derek & Clive alter-egos
became sort of restrictive.
I record and produce bands and the trouble with
musicians is that by the third album they can get lazy, rest on
their laurels, and become repetitive. They constantly need kicking
up the arse to get them to be as inspired and responsive as when
they began; fresh and hungry. Peter and Dudley had the same trouble
with "Ad Nauseum". Rather than working with each other
as they used to, they were working against each other. A
lot of their comedic vocabulary narrowed and they went for easier
laughs through general laziness. Bits of the film are great but
a lot more, for me in hindsight, is tinged with sadness. One upsetting
incident was the stripper episode, when Peter has his hands round
her neck. You can see she's shitting herself. Absolutely mortified.
He had this mad look in his eyes that was unnerving. I think Peter
got peeved about her telling him he's horrible and going off to
talk with Dudley at the piano. While Dud's flirtily chatting with
her you realise there's not another sound in the room. Peter's there,
but he's silent, perched on his chair. He's probably thinking,
How can I get one up on him? That's maybe why he launched himself
onto her. He gave her a hug after, but she was frightened there.
The old myth about comedians being miserable sods may be true, and
you wonder whether Peter was a bit of a woman-hater. It's hard to
tell when comedians are being themselves or when they're putting
on an act, deliberately acting contrary, and that 'Line Of Snot'
skit, the Guinness Book Of World Records skit, is a case in point.
This begins as a really cool sketch, going on about the ten yard
trail of snot looping, and then it suddenly degenerated into this
'I kicked and kicked for half an hour!' Jekyll and Hyde time.
The whole experience of watching the film is an
odd one. The film is very dark - they didn't use any of the lights
film sets generally employ - which gives it that forbidding atmosphere.
It looks like they're down a mineshaft or in a cell. Uneasy viewing.
It's the end of a long and close relationship, and it's ugly in
places. A shame, but there it is. The record is much funnier, more
entertaining, With the film, you're left wondering about the state
of Peter's mind. Pete and Dud are caught in the twilight of their
career together; not only does Dud seem unable to make much of a
contribution to the session, he also seems to be unwilling.
Saying all that, though, there are moments when Peter cracks Dud
up hilariously. That's when the bitchiness stops and you see the
friendship. Those instances are warm and touching. Then they go
and call each other 'Cunt!' again.
After the second night we all went off to some party
and got horribly drunk. I can't recall much of it since I got pretty
drunk myself, although I vaguely remember Dudley trying to say some
mad drunken speech. After that, Peter and I went to The Manor, which
is a huge, vast place with four or five live-in staff. We had two
and a half staff each. Peter would get up very early, about 5 or
6, and I'd wake up at 10 to start work by 11. He'd already had most
of a bottle of wine by then. He was alright, his judgements weren't
impaired, but he carried on drinking through the day. We had a good
time and we got the work done. We listened to all the tapes and
did lots of editing. We tightened up the material by 'losing' fluffs,
stammers, pauses and giggles, and occasionally by splicing one-take
of a sketch to another. 'Endangered Species' is a particular favourite
Peter would toddle off to bed by about 10 or 11
at night. He would be fairly sozzled by then because, other than
working on the record, there was absolutely nothing to do at the
Manor. There was a snooker table and that was about it for entertainment.
If you didn't relish long strolls in wintry countryside then you
had pretty much had it.
He'd wake so early because that's generally what
happens when you have a skinful the night before. He may have been
an insomniac, I dunno. But he was always pleasant. There was none
of the verbal violence and obnoxiousness one saw in the studio.
So, because of his sleep habits - or lack of them - we worked quite
early in the morning. Early for me, anyway - we rock and rollers
don't usually emerge from our beds till midday! We'd work through
the afternoon, supper, then perhaps an hour or so after that. It
was a lot of work dredging through the tapes, marking the good bits,
cutting. Nowadays, with digital editing, it would take a fraction
of the time. After a day's work I'd go and play snooker with the
staff and Peter went off to his room. He didn't socialise particularly,
but he was never rude or brusque with anyone. He smoked the entire
time we were there and still liked his joints. I saw on the credits
to the video - 'Herbal cigarettes by Haile Selassie'.
As for the shocking content of those Derek &
Clive records, I suppose Peter just didn't care about what
anyone else thought, but I think he probably needed a drink inside
him to conjure up some of those statements. He didn't act like a
raving nutcase when he was sober. He was perfectly nice to everybody.
That part of him, to me, was him showing off when the microphone
was on and he being pissed. You know, 'Right, I'll shock the fuckers!'
I think there was a side of Peter that never grew up, the naughty
It's a bit weird not having him around anymore.
There are some good comedians around now but no-one's going to replace