Ivor Cutler

Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Vol. 2

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Ivor Cutler's indisputable masterpiece, Life In A Scotch Sitting Room, Volume Two (there's not a Volume One) is a live album recorded in Cutler's hometown of Glasgow. Based on Cutler's Depression-era childhood in a large middle-class family, these stories are a combination of straight autobiography, daffy surrealism and droll one-liners. However, even at their most outlandish, such as the highly improbable reports of bathroom etiquette in "Episode One," these stories have a nostalgic warmth that gives depth to the humor. The hometown crowd gets even Cutler's most subtle jokes, and the enthusiastic response gives the poet and humorist a more animated tone than his usual deadpan. By the closing story, involving memories of horses in the street in front of the Cutler home, Cutler is even cracking himself up, once or twice unable to finish punchlines for lack of breath.

Interspersed with the 13 episodes are four otherwise unrelated short poems, "Jungle Tips," surreal suggestions on dealing with attacks by owls, lions, leopards and boas. The poems and monologues are also available in a book of the same title, illustrated by Cutler's longtime collaborator Helen Oxenbury.

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