George Melly

Img069, originally uploaded by upst1.

Photo from 2006. Larger here.

Today’s tag search was ‘george melly’. The jazz veteran, writer, broadcaster, and lecturer in surrealism has finally died after a battle against lung cancer and vascular dementia. He was 80 years old. Melly started his musical career way back in the 1940s and did his last gig at the 100 Club in London on June 10th 2007.

By anyone’s standards, it’s fair to say that he lived a full and colourful life. I once listened to a radio interview in which he discussed his childhood, his sexual awakening and his early days in the music business – it was really fascinating. More than most people, Melly was always unashamedly himself.

When asked recently about death, he responded:

I don’t fear death, I’m a fatalist, although I would rather death came as a shock to me. I’ve always said I wanted to die either coming off stage with the applause in my ears or of a terminal stroke on a river bank with two trout by my side.

Here’s a brief obituary.

This was the only You Tube footage I could find – not of him performing but of him presenting a programme about the history of jazz. He had a great speaking voice.

Melly had a devastating sense of humour too. When talking about getting old, he famously remarked:

Losing my libido was like being unchained from a lunatic.

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