Jeff Nuttall - Never preoccupied with well-wrought description and dialogue that attempted to simulate real events, his objective was far more provocative: to lure readers into original experiences, from the carnal to the cerebral, from high art to low down and dirty humour

Jeff Nuttall, An Aesthetic of Obscenity: Five Novels,  VerbivoraciousPress, 2016.

Jeff Nuttall’s fiction displays an impatience with the constraints of words and language; the predictable course of a line carrying a thought across a page. The conventional order of narrative traditions were beneath his initial ambition. Never preoccupied with well-wrought description and dialogue that attempted to simulate real events, his objective was far more provocative: to lure readers into original experiences, from the carnal to the cerebral, from high art to low down and dirty humour. His strategy included the prospecting of biological intimacy, through conduits and chambers, tactile immersions in flesh, fluids, viscose matter; resurfacing where instincts manifest through swelling, dilation, tumescence; changes in hue, temperature, scent and flavour. He was a shameless chronicler of the body, as labyrinth and topography. His commitment to his material was intense and sustained. This anthology collects five novels published between 1975 and 1994: Snipe’s Spinster, The House Party, The Gold Hole, The Patriarchs, Teeth.

“We are left with a handful of novelists preoccupied with purifying their own means and materials . . . Jeff Nuttall has pushed this situation towards one of its most interesting ends and, in doing so . . . has given the novel a whole new voice to work with.” — John Calder

It is good to see Jeff Nuttall returning as Jeff Nuttall. Those who care should brace themselves for a whole wave of Nuttall nonsense to come. Papers already exist that link him to Deleuze and Guattari, missing the way Jeff hated them, outlined with little ambuguity in Art and the Degradation of Awareness, one of his best books.
Jeff hating them doesn’t mean those links can’t be made, but those links are very weak. There are theorists attempting to push the cumbersome Nuttall body into genderless Bataillean theorising, which itself arrives largely via Allan Stoekl’s flawed Marxist readings of Bataille. Nuttall was phallocentric if he was anything, performing with his cock and balls out often.
‘The subversive thread of the imagination’ currently being claimed for Jeff, is now the most re-directable force for capital there is, on the planet. ‘Social’ labour on the internet is all surplus value for others who know how to profit from the processes.
‘Happening assemblages’ are supposedly all unconscious intensities, but Nuttall hated what happened to the experiments of Allan Kaprow. The ultimate end of those were U2s Zoo Tour. They were absorbed into Neoliberal Europolitics, the Rock ‘n’ Roll dome of Blair and a Stratocaster in number ten, a rebound from Clinton, the first black man in the white house, with his saxophone.
Nuttall hated rock music, he once told me it was ‘stand up wanks using somebody elses’s fist.’ I’d like to propose that Nuttall is a radical materialist, something that has been and will be overlooked. These collected novels give me ballast.
In them, Nuttall tries to use words, often to describe sex, that will wake our switched off bodies to their anaesthetised conditions, conditions he thought were injected by the presence of the nuclear bomb.
Nuttall’s small press poetry was put out by tiny outfits like Arc, struggling for years and then selling the remainders as rare luxuries. I have never seen the novels and so hats off to Douglas Field and Jay Jones for collecting them in all their profane glory. They have done a marvellous job here.
These novels should be read by all the academics preparing to chop Nuttall’s body up even further to use as fuel in the Higher Education novelty race. Snipe’s Spinster proves what they all conveniently forget, that Nuttall was ANTI-COUNTERCULTURE. Bomb Culture was a way of distancing himself from it all, rather than pulling himself further in.
This does not mean that Nuttall was some kind of conservative, far from it, he saw the counterculture commodified and he disaffiliated immediately. For Nuttall, the counterculture was not radical enough.
There’s lots of fucking of the non-transgender sort. Cocks and fannies. Very British, and the novel writing in between the mad nutty riffs is so very British too. Kingsley Amis sticking two fingers up then getting his wanger out. This isn’t Joyce or Burroughs, no matter how much people want to claim him for ‘non-linearity’.
There’s a clear lineage of music hall smut, stand-up comedian, jazz riffer and scat singer. These novels are a whole lot of fun and they are an antidote to the pretentious radical posturing being performed around Nuttall’s corpse, which oddly makes them a whole lot more radical than they were before, somehow.
I can’t imagine that this collection exists in vast numbers or that they will hang around for long. Get one from -

Jeff Nuttall’s professional life started and ended in relative normality, first as schoolteacher and latterly mainstream film and television actor, but the dynamic central thrust of his work as writer, performer and innovator strained the belts of convention, as tightly as his notable girth. This new release by the VP Reprint Series of a quintet of seminal works by Nuttall, written between 1975 and 1994, shows not only how expert their author was as a stylist and storyteller but also how important he was as a thinker and spokesman for writing with a capital W, art with a capital A, and response with a suitably big R. He raged WAR on convention, first directly and then I am sure, in repose.
In editors Douglas Field and Jeff Jay Jones’ introduction, Nuttall is reported as formerly telling IT, that ‘I paint poems, sing sculptures and draw novels’ and so he does here, blending the forms  in these effortlessly successful experiments and playgrounds for prose. The creamy heft of the paperback brings something of Nuttall’s silky corpulence to the hand and one is reminded instantly of his presence and voice on reading. The Gold Hole and Snipe’s Spinster are perhaps the most well known of the five books collected here but each is vital. For instance, the much neglected and shortest book, Teeth, written in a day after a booze infused  challenge at The Groucho Club, shows how the most shallow of prompts can allow for the most profound and entertaining of speeches; Chapter Sixteen’s
‘Day spread itself apologetically, the way they sometimes do.’
echoes the opening lines of Beckett’s Murphy beautifully.
As the writer of one of the most famous books on sixties’ counter culture, Bomb Culture, Nuttall knew what to exploit and how to seek and advance renewal. His easeful control of all areas of literary, artistic and musical innovation were in many ways more impressive than his contemporary BS Johnson’s insistence on his somewhat stringent ideas for reforms to the style and content of the modern (or postmodern) novel. This is evidenced in specific details, such as references  to the Edinburgh haircut received, marked and celebrated in the opening pages of Snipe’s Spinster. The prose sings due to its careful power and clarity and transmutes images upwards to the air, with the grace of cigar smoke, curling and coiling fresh thought. Written in first person, Snipe himself is a thinly disguised Nuttall who leads us through the remains of the society he signposted in Bomb Culture towards an acid tinged dawn. Pot (no pun intended)  shots at various figures occur, most notably old IT associate, Mick Farren, but there is in the spite and subsequent drug struck languor, both an invective and charge at and for the pivotal forces  of change. Sublime sentences drift past;
‘The acid wore off around half past eight and I went home, clip-clop down the mountain…lights of Leith winking like dropped glass..’
‘..the rich, bright light that had shot across the city into my time-warps, swam in browns:’
Snipe, after his embibements of Guinness, light suppers of Ryvita and Cheese, experiments in homosexuality and desk tested erections thanks to female student Janet, resulting in ejaculations
 ‘that feel like a ‘bullet being drawn from a wound..delicately, carefully and with endless subsequent happiness’
meets up with associate and road manager Crane who after briefly swapping conspiracy stories tries to inveigle Snipe into the kidnapping of a Government minister’s daughter. The ensuing romp is ripe with the fruits of invention as Snipe’s Spinster, an aspect of the first person narrator’s own personality is endlessly subdued and challenged in 83 of modern literature’s most entertaining and subversive pages.
The House Party is even more revolutionary. It does what the aforementioned BS Johnson attempted with more brio than even he achieved in the Shandy-esque Travelling People, as form and layout, footnote, marginalia and illustration are blended into the thrust of the text to truly create the idea of novel as sculpture, as work of art in and of itself. This, then, is writing as its own lysergic. Rather than something that has resulted from the indulgence of substance, this is the substance itself. As Nuttall says in his introduction to the text, the book exists as an attempt to extend the possibilities of the blown mind and to see what that can really achieve. Full realisation at any cost. The House Party as a force for change and experiment, attempts to build on Joyce’s intentions in Finnegan’s wake which as quoted in the introduction was written  ‘about dream, in the language of dream and about a dreaming man.’ and succeeds admirably. A parody of the country house novel it speaks through the experience of its four main characters and the sheer exuberance of its prose to the voice in the head of each reader that none of us can quite discern but which we each perhaps suspect is not entirely our own;
 ‘I could nudge you their nature, the lilyblow daffodils set in reverse, the childslace cupcakes turned in their cream,  the swell and the suck-swell.’
‘Lay in the wet, in the swim, in the fishes and kippers that float up her fuck-tunnel,’ said George.
The mind shouts and flings its dream-paint over the drab confines of the skull, re-ordering it in an instant and teaching us that behind words and language itself is the vibrant desire to express every facet of existence and experience. All of Nuttall’s writing in this edition and what I know of his work through the beginnings of The People Show and the Performance Art Scripts are excavations of language and its possibilities. Indeed, they become challenges to the accepted and acceptable modes of expression that are often clogged or truncated by the pedestrian demands of common discourse. If you don’t have an appetitie for Hippo pudding by page 100, than sir, madam, you have no soul to speak of. And that is no something you will find in Robert Harris, or young master Amis.
As Field and Jones relay in their introduction The Gold Hole explores the ‘psychosexual landscapes of a methedrine fuelled poet, Sam’ and his declining relationship with former paramour, Jaz, set against the backdrop of the Moors Murders. In one chapter the aborted foetus of their lovechild speaks in eerie counterpoint to the novel’s setting, an innovation that certainly puts Ian McEwan’s latest novel Nutshell, to shame with its cursory retelling of Hamlet. Here is real tragedy writ large, and with a stunning level of precision and skill:
’During the first weeks I suppose you could have described me as an impulse of air. I was a small crisis of energy…’    
‘At eight weeks I had something of the fish, something of the plant and something of the human…’
‘Sometimes the voice was like cocoa. I was often brown..’
The revelations drift past like shudders in the amniotic fluid, making us all mothers to our deeper and perhaps deepest levels of response. What strikes you by reaching the third book collected here is just how rich and strange Nuttall’s work and that of his contemporaries was and continues to be, whether living or dead. Modernist and the finest examples of post modernist thought and practise from Johnson to Paul Ableman, Laura Mulvey, Jane Arden and Helene Cixous  and all points  inbetween, exists beyond the constraints of their original forms and approaches. There is no dichotomy when I state that this child of Nuttall’s labours literally infuses death with a new form of life. Writing must transcend the page while still being of it and while contemporary performance, conceptualism  and music often achieves this in isolated or singular examples, it is in someone like Jeff Nuttall that we see a sustained search for renewal of thought and response in every means possible.
Obscenity, if handled correctly as it is here on many of this volume’s seductive pages,  is a weapon that flies with the grace of a bird. All of Nuttall’s writing chimes and resounds with that grace as he aims his flight in our direction. He wants us to celebrate and elevate the only true things we can draw on, where a ‘hand at the heaving ocean’ can bid the deep oyster to suck.  The body’s lowest forms of function are consummations of experience in Nuttall’s worldview and sperm is mere paint in his hands. Piss revives as blood fuels. Shit affirms an intention. A kiss leads to clashes. A fuck makes the soul levitate.
In The Patriarchs, Nuttall explores his own writerly predicament as one of the successors to the previous literary generation though a canny exploration of the poet Jack Roberts, a figure bearing an uncanny resemblance to Ted Hughes. A symposium at a location that strongly sisters the Arvon foundation allows for responses to ebb and flow between writer and reader as the celebrity of the word is expunged. The limits and reaches  of poetry and poetic definition are explored and commented on by Nuttall as unammed narrator, again by placing himself at the centre of the text. This once again fuses the forms as the density of the poetry on offer swirls around us;
‘Dancelocks lopped to the stubble by slums, /She scrabbles in refuse, can’t kiss or sing/ But thrashes on mattresses straddled by starvelings,’
and makes the novelist a conductor for and of the storm and to extend the metaphor, orchestra of response and intention. Nuttall as narrator comes not to praise or to bury Jack Roberts’ Caeser, but rather to examine his laurel wreath, the golden crown of achievement afforded to him and all of the other great voices of linguistic pursuit;
Beneath your voice, sticky flies play, choral over the filth of your dominion.
This truly is writing as Art. An aesthetic on beauty as well as obscenity in which the sound cloud (meant in the poetic sense and nothing to do with the interweb) created by words and their inherent meanings and intentions teleports the reader into higher levels of consciousness. One is struck by how useful the book is and how appealing because of the extent to which it provokes and elevates both engagement and response in the reader.  You, we, I become active participants not just in and because of content as it is relates to us, but to the act of what encountering text is and can be, along with the potential of transcendence.
This collection is a riot of words formed by the decimations of convention won and raged by writers like Nuttall, BS Johnson, Sinclair Beiles, Heathcote Williams, Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs et al in the long decades before. It is both sharply observed and as adventurously surrealist as David Gascoyne in his prime or as coruscating as the poetry and poetics of George Barker, WS Graham, or latterly Iain Sinclair, Alan Moore or Brian Catling. Nuttall’s own court of miracles – to quote Catling’s recent poetry collection – is also one informed by the virtues of the entertainer he indubitably was. His work in the 1970’s with The People Show and other theatrical endeavours such as A Nice Quiet Night and The Railings in the Park, can still be glimpsed in the pleasantly familiar realism of Teeth, whose study of marital infidelity finds greater relevance through the feral fury of its female protagonists.
Jeff Nuttall was a teacher right to the end of his life, instructing us all on the potentials of our own efforts and showing how one could still throw the same sort of signal flares that Be-bop Jazz once fashioned, and that the theatrical Avant Garde developed across the other artistic forms in which it found fruition. He shimmered and glowed through all of his pursuits, cometing in from the basement of Better Books in 1967, to the old Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 1971, all the way through to Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books and bizarrely, ITV’s Kavanagh QC in the nineties. He was a star who shaped the sky to his own image and who allowed the song of art to attain the highest scale. This new reprint by the Verbivoracious Press re-introduces a master to his hopefully willing pupils and quickly and effectively re-orders the house of study into a new and thrilling combination. It is no stretch to say that the works collected in this volume are what Sterne would have grown into if he had an inch of Methusaleh’s reach.
The furthest branches  of the tree are where the bird is now singing of forgotten stories and books strong enough to resist the fires of enveloping time. Amongst and above those spires of nature I am certain that the spirit of Jeff Nuttall capers nimbly beside the divine Ken Campbell  and a chorus of other great ghosts and voices, from Chaucer to Charlie Parker, that are still responsible for our acceptance and understanding of what an idea is and can be. Nuttall’s house party is large enough to contain all of our efforts and the lives that surround them. As stated in marginalia on page 163:
‘Hack at the curtains. Hurl the stair rods at the windows in the front door. Slash the silken ankles’
And walk,
and as you do so, sing with this book as your guide. - David Erdos

Image result for Jeff Nuttall, Bomb Culture,
Jeff Nuttall, Bomb Culture, HarperCollins, 1970.  

Jeff Nuttall was born in 1933 in Lancashire. Prolific in many disciplines, Nuttall trained as a painter before taking up poetry, fiction, and acting. His 1960s publication My Own Mag was among the most significant underground venues for experimental writing. Nuttall published copious volumes of poetry, fiction, cultural criticism, auto/biography, and illustrated chapbooks across his career, acted in many notable films, and worked in various academic capacities at Leeds Polytechnic. He died in Abergavenny in 2004.

Jeff Nuttall was the polymath – poet, artist, jazz-cornetist, anarchist, and sculptor who wrote the insurrectionary tome that defined the 1960’s counter-culture, ‘Bomb Culture’…
Jeff Nuttall, manic polymath – poet, artist, and jazz-cornetist is dead, he’s joined the horn-section invisible. Which is tough. Because I always intended getting around to an interview-piece with him, at some time, when I located space-and-time to do it. Now it’s too late. I did bump into him on several odd occasions, always respecting his fiercely diverse energies. First time was probably the ‘Ilkley Literature Festival’ event way back in the early-1970’s where he does an esoteric lecture-thing about aspects of Aleister Crowley-groupies. I was just starting out, baffled, and totally in awe of him. Afterwards, I stammer out how much I love his book ‘Bomb Culture’ (1968) – which I did, and still do, and he peers down imperiously at me from the podium and utters ‘oh yes?’ A solid very corporeal presence, tousled Dylan Thomas Celtic hair flared up against the light. Challenging, provoking more. So I venture that I admire the ‘Early Lobster’ graphic-strip he was doing for the ‘Styng’ counterculture newspaper at the time, and he looks down at me from the podium and says ‘oh yes?’ And I slink away completely defeated, deflated. He was intimidating. I was intimidated…
The Nutt’s ‘Bomb Culture’ is still here on my shelf, it provided an art-anti-art ideological A-to-Z and brain napalm to me circa 1971. His exploded visceral black-ink straight-razor cartoons were essential cultural programming for the time. I saw his gigs, encountered him slumped-drunk one Tuesday in ‘The Cobourg’, a now-torched and vanished trad-jazz Leeds pub, while he was senior Fine Arts lecturer at the Polytechnic. He pursued life merrily and to the full, and drank with not always discreet dedication.
‘Bomb Culture’ is incendiary. A path through art’s subversive parallel universes. Both psycho-autobiography, manifesto, and exercise in style. The cover of the Paladin paperback edition has a ‘Sgt Pepper’-style collage cover, centred around a naked Allen Ginsberg. Behind him, fanning in an arc, are Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Marilyn Monroe, Brian Jones, Andy Warhol, William Burroughs, Spike Milligan, Timothy Leary, Jack Kerouac, John & Yoko, Jimi Hendrix, Vivian Stanshall. The essential, if unintentional shapers of the culture Nuttall defines. To strum the pages takes you through counter-culture history like clicking through a particularly hip search-engine. His range of references is impressively wide, each one fiercely opinionated.
For example, the Marquis De Sade anticipates dismemberments that the avant-garde will inflict onto formal classical art, annihilating the European aesthetic traditions. And it keeps doing it. Its conduits are the Futurists – ‘the strenuous pantheism of technology’, the Dadaists, Fauves, Bebop, Abstract Expressionists. Nuttall’s heroes are Picasso, Tristan Tzara, ‘the psychopathic genius of Charlie Parker’, Lenny Bruce, William Burroughs. Art is the spirit of perpetual revolution, ‘an explosive planted straight into the human subconscious to blow it off course.’ He notes, with approval, an anonymous 1968 Sorbonne graffiti proclaiming ‘Imagination Has Seized Power’, feeding the spirit of this continuity into ‘my own constructions’ of Action Painting, found-objects and ready-mades shot through with ‘overtones of social comment.’
In his flaring visionary perception, art is the wild-mercury force of perpetual opposition. Because art is ‘irrational in its nature, it can only be irrationally understood.’ He argues that ‘the economic structure works towards stasis centred around the static needs of man,’ but ‘culture, being the broad effect of art, is rootedly irrational and as such is perpetually operating against the economic workaday structure of society.’ Investigating origins, he writes that ‘morality was the province of church and hierarchy, the prime weapons of control and power,’ but ‘at the end of the eighteenth-century religion got caught out.’ It was around that time that ecclesiastical ritual was identified as ‘authoritarian hierarchies which defended exploitation and oppression in terms of the divinity of the social order. For man to be free, god, king, and the pope had to be dethroned.’
Yes, no argument there, but wait, if all morality is the province of the church, must all morality be dethroned too? Must all morality be extinguished in exactly the way that the ‘heads of the French divine authorities dropped into the basket?’ That’s probably too literate an interpretation. Can’t a form of morality exist without the superstructure of religion to enforce it? Surely, a more human morality can be rationally constructed without the superstitious imposition of cosmic deities – can’t it? Maybe back then in revolutionary France, the likes of the Marquis De Sade – newly liberated from divine totalitarianism, had an excuse, but not now after generations of free-thinking enlightenment. Nuttall would say that’s to argue logic and reason. Which is counter to his intuition. Art does not flow that way. To be pure, like jazz, it must be extemporised at the moment of creation, without precedent or consequence. That, too, is a kind of morality. But for Nuttall, it’s more about fierce gesture than parsing minutiae.
Nuttall. Memoirs of The People Show, plus original scripts in two volumes (Calder). He includes a Rose McGuire drawing of a train of cartoon elephants and two dripping penises with the legend ‘piddly biddly boo who are yoo’, which was sketched ‘to spur the author’s imagination’, he interprets it by ‘walking stiffly along the kerb on tiptoe with my cheeks full of milk. Every few yards I spurted a splash of milk out onto the pavement’ -

Jeff Nuttall, who has died aged 70 was a catalyst, perpetrator and champion of rebellion and experiment in the arts and society. Bomb Culture, his 1968 chronicle of the emergence of internationalist counter-culture in Britain, remains a primary source and manifesto for the post-Hiroshima generation.
The vision of Jeff's youth was grounded in "a faith that, given liberation, the human spirit would predominate. I imagined some kind of stone age village. People would build their own houses imaginatively and live there sophisticatedly and in a literate way and they would live with their hands and their minds and they would not be dictated to by anybody selling them anything. People would have the opportunity of coming into their true self, which was generous and creative and permissive".
He was born in Clitheroe, Lancashire, but most of his childhood and teens were spent in Orcop near Herefordshire's Welsh border. His father was the village headmaster but the most formative years of Jeff's education were at Hereford and Bath art schools (1949-53). In 1954 he married Jane Louch, the painter who had taught him at Hereford, with whom he reared a daughter and three sons. They stayed more or less together for the next two decades.
From the late 1970s to 1984 Jeff drove around Britain, Australia and Portugal with Amanda Porter, as svelte as he was chubby, with whom he had another two boys. The rest of his life was shared with Jill Richards, a diminutive Welsh actor as hard-drinking and sharp-witted as himself.
From 1956-68 Jeff was a secondary school art master, and for the following 16 years he worked at art colleges, in Bradford, Leeds, and then as Liverpool polytechnic's head of fine art. But while bringing a transformative zest to those jobs, he was also getting on with his mission.
From 1964-67 he edited and circulated My Own Mag, a bran tub of anarchic texts and images, with William Burroughs lavishly featured in most issues. In 1966 International Times, the first London-based "underground" newspaper, was set up. Jeff contributed articles and cartoons to IT and other underground publications which emerged in its wake.
Central to the burgeoning oral verse, jazz poetry, happenings and performance art movements, he also played effervescent jazz piano and scalding cornet in the Red Allen-Roy Eldridge idioms, and sang infectiously genial vocals. The humours of Fats Waller were recreated in Jeff's persona, yet he struck some on a brief encounter as a show-off. For many more he was an outstandingly original artist also possessed of a gift for helping others appreciate their own potential.
Other precursors whose legacies he extended were the dadaists, surrealists and beats, Dylan Thomas, John Bratby and kitchen sink painting, McGill postcards, bebop and northern music hall. In 1967 he co-founded the People Show, an improvising theatre troupe with which Jeff travelled, wrote and acted for five years.
From the mid-1980s he took cameo roles in films and television. Throughout his days he made and exhibited hundreds of lyrical-threatful-polemical artworks.
He was the Guardian's incisive poetry critic (1979-81) and during the last 40 years he published some 40 books. There were poetry, plays, fiction, memoirs, essays, and verbal portraits of kindred spirits like Blackpool's star mid-20th century comedian Frank Randle (King Twist, 1978) and the free jazz virtuoso Lol Coxhill (The Bald Soprano, 1989). Jeff's Selected Poems has just appeared (Salt Publications).
In 1990 Jeff summarised his artistic approach: "I make a line out of a rhythmic figure. The previous figure suggests the subsequent one. The rhythmic figures owe much to Charlie Parker's saxophone phrasing." Thus a characteristic Nuttall poem opens:
So brightly blisters the great regurgitating ribbon of the Thames.
Sculls skim through like springtime swallows.
Keels kiss tidal scum, lancing the stolen sun - boils  or bops to a stop, as in
The bee on wheels has laments on a stick
Wags weepy banners with gypsy ribbons...
The tiny wheeled bee has the sky on a stick
Idly waves as she buzzes through the afternoon
Kicking the tears around like bean tins.
Two defining moments for Jeff - and for the future he considered crucial for human survival - were the beginnings of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the late 1950s, with its anti-H-bomb marches and the first grand scale cosmopolitan poet-meet that filled the Albert Hall in June 1965. Jeff felt confirmed in that "all our separate audiences came to one place at the same time, a frisson for us all to savour as there had been at the first Aldermaston, and the underground was suddenly there on the surface, in open ground with a following of thousands".
Nuttall and John Latham had planned a happening for that gig which encaked them both top-to-toe in blue paint, but this blocked their pores, and Latham passed out. A hot bath was needed fast but the only bath in the building was in Sir Malcolm Sargent's dressing-room. The dazed duo tumbled gratefully in, to be discovered, reviving, by a caretaker, who assumed that unimaginable beatnik outrages were being enacted beneath his eyes.
In Jonathon Green's Days In The Life: Voices From The English Underground (1988), Jeff recalled "a shift between 1966 and 1967 from poetry and art and jazz and anti-nuclear politics to just sex and drugs, the arrival of capitalism. The market saw that these revolutionaries could be put in a safe pen and given their consumer goods. What we misjudged was the power and complexity of the media, which dismantled the whole thing. It bought it up. And this happened in 67, just as it seemed that we'd won".
Nuttall lived to see that spirit rekindled 35 years later, with wise children again marching, speaking, and acting out their hearts and minds against the philistines, profiteers, and warmongers who go on ruling the west.
He died on a Sunday, leaving the Hen and Chicks pub in Abergavenny, where his trad band's lunchtime gig had been the highspot of his week for 10 years. At his soul's incarnation in Elysium it will surely come to pass, as Jeff once dreamed, that "Spifflicate water-buffalo drunk on rainbow fish will snore beside the oval father where he basks". For the rest of us, as long as "global politics" fester in lies and pea-brained Hollywooden mega-violence, it is bollocks to them, and long live Jeff Nuttall. -  Michael Horovitz

A comprehensive selection of obituaries, critical appreciations and short memoirs.

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