Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Goon for Lunch (book review)

     Harry Secombe. Goon for Lunch. (1975) Secombe played Neddy Seagoon on The Goon Show, his tag line was It’s all rather confusing, really. These pieces, written for Punch and other magazines, make up a glimpse of an autobiography. He grew up in Swansea at a time when children spent as much time as possible out of sight and hearing of grownups. He was in North Africa and Italy for most of the War, and didn’t like it. But he did meet Spike Milligan there, and they ended up doing skits together, which  helps explain the Goon Show.
     The pieces are mildly funny, they recount small injuries and large confusions. I enjoyed reading them, both for the reminders of post-war England and for Secombe’s company. He was a nice chap, on the evidence. His Neddy Seagoon is not far removed from himself. In Italy, he and a comrade were almost blown up removing an unexploded bomb from a house in a village that had been recently vacated by the Germans. His comrade believed the bomb was a dud. It sounds like a Goon Show incident. I suspect that the craziness of War fed into a lot of Milligan’s scripts.
     The book is out of print, but worth a search. ***

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