Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Bernard Manning: "I'm not that fond of queers."

The title is a quotation taken from Bernard Manning's obituary in the Telegraph yesterday. Paradoxically I found his humour refreshingly honest; of course it was completely awful in any formal sense, but he was pretty 'equal-opportunity' in those he targetted for his very special brand of humour - I think the Telegraph obituary gives a fair and balanced assessment of his life and his, to use a very grandiose term , oeuvre, or 'body of work' (and appropriately enough this Wikipedia article is in French, as this fits in quite nicely with the rather whimsical sentiments I had when I heard of Manning's death).

I think the world will be a much blander, sadder place now that this maverick has gone. He seemed to pander to the baser instincts of his audience, and he did, but the brilliance of his technique was that he shone a very bright light onto the prejudices everyone has and I think most of the audiences at his club must have known this very well; quite why mothers-in-law and the disabled should apparently have been the only two categories he did not 'poke fun at' (i.e. pour scron and abuse on) is anyone's guess. The nearest equivalent I can think of is Coluche (there is a briefer article in English here), whose style of provocative and seemingly crude humour I found riotously funny, as did many, many people in France until his untimely death in a motorcycle accident, even if I always felt rather guilty that I did find it amusing. Like Manning, Coluche devoted considerable efforts to charity.

I have only a very slight hesitation in writing my usual phrase when posting an obtiuary:
Bernard Manning (1930-2007) - Rest in Peace

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