Spike Milligan and Irish humour.

An eccentric Irish hooligan?

Spike Milligan, had an unbelievably wonderful sense of humour and was an eccentric Irish hooligan second to none.It might strike one as strange that he was prone to this inherent streak in all Irishmen. That is, their inherent ability to be prone to ‘eejitry’? At it’s best it’s an art form and at it’s worst, is just plain old less than funny, tomfoolery. He was an accomplished veteran of both, depending on his mood, which changed about as frequently as his ‘eejitry’.I used to be an avid reader and a(bit of a mimic in my school-days), which sadly passed me by. The thing is despite being a mimic with a sense of humour, I seldom, if ever, laughed out loud. I often found things funny and laughed inside my head. Occasionally though something made me laugh out loud, often with dire consequences.In the light of this, please permit me to lead you on a journey showing you someone who could make me laugh out loud, almost at a whim.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce you to, Spike Milligan, an eccentric Irish hooligan.

(Sustained applause)?

Good old Spike

Eccentric Irishman

Spike MilliganWell I did try and warn you? The trouble with Spike was, he wasn’t ‘birthed’ or ‘reared’ in Ireland. No Sir. He was birthed in India, in the bygone ages of Colonialism (perish the thought), but his Mammy or Pappy, why, one of them was Irish (sometimes spelled Oirish), and no matter which one it was, the eejitry was inherent. He got a massive dose of it fortunately or unfortunately depending upon which way your wind blows?Which leads us to, here was an Irishman with an English sense of humour. Stranger things could have happened and indeed did. This never sat well with holy Ireland of the time. Akin to being Afrikaans, yet speaking with a la, de, dah, upper crust British accent. Aye, I’ve seen some terrible things in my short life?The long and short of all this, is that the Oirish (Irish), are very quick too claim anyone famous as their own. They are masters of this, after all we didn’t build the whole Atlantic eastern sea coast of America, plus most of Australia and any where else you care to mention, for nothing ye know? So they jumped on Spike all a glee.Little did they know that he provided something more than their usual craic. As soon as they realised his humour was more British and he loved nothing better than pulling the Mickey out of dear old Paddy. Why the retaliation was swift and brutal and they banned his book.

It does seem nonsensical that this humourous book was ever banned. It just goes to show how touchy people can be. My father in laws Dad used to go out to a friend for dinner, where they used to take turns reading this book to each other in Irish accents. To them this was entertainment of the highest order. I guess everybody’s  sense of humour is just different?

Spike Milligan


Spike portraitSpike, real name Terence, was gifted, it’s as simple as that. He began his career in music as a trumpet player and played for many big bands of the time. His musical career was cut tragically short by the advent of the second World War. Sadly, despite trying his best to resist being ‘called up’, eventually he ran out of ideas and was conscripted.He later penned a series of short stories of his time in the army, from basic training through to his deployment as an artillery man to Africa, to Sicily and other parts besides. Hilariously funny and also partly tragic as befits times of war. Unforgettable characters who this and any other generation, owe, a huge debt of gratitude too.An accomplished artist in his own right, his series of character sketches in his books, whether they be his friends boots, or his new Commanding Officer, were an absolute delight and part of the fun of all his books. He was also well known after the war for his portrayal in the Goon show with such celebrated names as Peter Sellers , Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine.Poet, actor and playwright were a few of his many other talents and he also wrote some memorable children books. To have such a talent, what more could any one ask for?

Milligans orders

As a young signaller

The German invasion was imminent

Milligan was despatched with orders

From his Commanding officer

To the overall Commanding officer

Written on the back of an old menu,

Milligan delivers,

C. O. peruses it and gives back to Milligan

With the order

“I’ll have the roast beef and three veg.”


Spike signs up for a driving course

Instructor begins the course with;

“This vehicle is like a human being,

It has got to be feed.”

Scratches nose whilst looking at notes written on his palm,


“It has got to be feed

Peterol and Hoil.”

Who wouldn’t laugh?

No wonder we beat the Germans?

Bipolar disorder

Spike’s nemisis

Spike the ladInto each life there falls a bit of sadness? Despite all of his many talents Spike (Terence) was a manic depressiveIt hardly seems plausible, given his sense of humour and his many talents? But there it was and he had at least ten mental breakdowns. In today’s politically correct world, this is now known as ‘bipolar disorder’ and I often wonder if he who was the exact opposite of this (politically correct), thought? We’ll never know as he has sadly passed.Nevertheless, he never tried to hide this and did his best to try and highlight this, with his pull as a very famous person. All credit to him.
Now children, they are the best of all. Their open minds and their ability to laugh. Who could be a better proponent of this, than someone who had the ability to make people laugh? He wrote many hilarious children’s books as well and who could do this better than him?I have deliberately chosen Spike Milligan,  Firstly, because I’m so sick and tired of political correctness. And secondly, because I know, here was someone who didn’t give two hoots about this? It’s a more than a welcome change.Immortalised by this quote:
“What is success? To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; That is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emmerson.
It’s just that lately I’ve been undergoing a huge dose of nostalgia. So many great people who are no longer with us, how sad? More importantly, a reflection of lost ages where being politically correct was unheard of and characters were people who called a spade, a spade. Which brings us back to mimicry. Is this a bad thing, is it bullying, is it cruel and the list is almost endless?I’d welcome your views. And more importantly, thanks for all the laughs Spike. I sure miss you.

Amazon.com Widgets



About spookmoor

I'm a 61 year old happily married man with three grown up children. I lost all my hearing as an eighteen year old whilst doing National Service and then had a Cochlear Ear Implant twenty years later. I love trying to explain these things to people and bits about my life. I never thought so at the time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thus one gets Random ramblings from a man who has seen a lot with a touch of humour underlying all.
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44 Responses to Spike Milligan and Irish humour.

  1. Tess Bold says:

    He was a character….and like you have stated not in just one field…I think many of the people who come into our life’s and make us laugh are the most troubled. Sad but true….Thank you once again Spook for an enjoyable read….. …

  2. Irishlass says:

    I remember being on Teaching Practice and using his poem, ‘On the Ning Nang Nong’ – the kids loved it and I passed with flying colours!

  3. msasa13 says:

    I’ve read many of his books as well as Puckoon, but there were bits of it I read over and over, laughing every time. Best one was ‘an economical way to travel’, a quote we occasionally used in company as a private joke!
    We went to his show at Seven Arts in Avondale, never to be forgotten. In the midst of the hilarity, he unexpectedly recited a poem he’d written after seeing the effects of myxomatosis. It had the lines
    “Little baby rabbits,
    Eyes filled with pus …”
    I was nearly in tears, but the majority of the audience laughed, if a little uncertainly. About a quarter, perhaps, got his message. It has stuck in my mind ever since.
    Wonderful man.
    Thanks for bringing back some treasured memories. D x

  4. maggi says:

    I was introduced to Spike by my husband years ago and I struggled at first, heck what does has Afrikaner girl want with this person who invaded my mind … To this day I cannot say why, it just happened. We introduced our son to him years ago via a lovely little book Dip the Puppy…. God bless him and may he rest but not peacefully rather largely like he did in life…. That is how I saw him.

  5. A favourite dessert of mind was discovered after being struck by one on the head one evening, whilst strolling along the Bexhill-On-Sea shore line 🙂 .. but I digress. I was saddened to read that you don’t laugh out loud Spook. That is one of my most endearing qualities (or so I have been told). The raucous, albeit evil sounding, cackle of mine has chilled the blood (or alcohol) of many an unwary person in earshot. I, too, am a disparager of “Political Correctness”, which is in real terms an oxymoron of note .. anything political is certainly never correct ! I think taking the mickey has strengthened me to meet this challenge we call life head on and, I think, succeed quite well at it. Although I have found that children and even some adults that don’t know any better resort to spiteful mimicry and taunting, which has further strengthened my resolve to “poke them in the eye”. Anyway before I descend into a gibbering state and succumb to the “dreaded lurgy” … I must just say that it is a very sad phenomenon that so many of the funniest people in the world are plagued by afflictions that leave them rather unhappy in their own. Peter Sellers and of course Spike are two of the greats that were amongst this band, that could make us all roll in the aisles, but had little mirth in their own lives. We have lost these two and many others along the way … which brings me back to the point of this rambling diatribe. Spook enjoy humour and laugh long, loud and hearty my friend, for laughter is often shared. Mirth within your head, may have the greatest audience, but seldom has the release of a belly giggle. As always .. thank you for your post.

  6. Stevo says:

    I think the quote about success is so true
    “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; That is to have succeeded.”
    And so my challenge to you Kevin and everybody else who reads this……. let’s try and laugh more, love our children better, appreciate all that is good and beautiful and look for the best in all our family, friends and enemies. In other words lets do our best to be successful!!!!!!!

  7. spookmoor says:

    Well said Sue and couldn’t agree with you more. The trouble with mimicry is that often people get offended with it even when it is not meant that way. You mentioned that somewhere along the line people forget how to laugh, especially at themselves. The self same ones will of course be rolling on the floor when it is someone else. Go figure.

  8. sue stolk says:

    Spike _ one awesomely talented man, who left us such a rich heritage, beyond measure! I’ve often thought he led a pretty driven life, which we can enjoy today at leisure, and should rightly revisit regularly, if for no other reason than to connect with our humanity again. I am so glad he allowed us to look at life in general and his life and experiences, in particular, during this very important time in world history, via his participation, through his eyes.
    Is there anything more fulfilling than to laugh, often and much, as Emmerson so succinctly put it? We were made for laughter, one just needs to watch children at play (and i mean the babies) to realise this .. so where and when do we lose the ability _or do we as adults come and rub off our stinking thinking onto our children and rob them of their natural ability to laugh and generate laughter?
    Mimicry_always loved and admired those with the talent to mimic… it is a gift not endowed on everyone and one that i always think can bring great fun, hilarity and laughter to gatherings. I think if done in good spirits, with a clean heart lacking maliciousness can be, and usually is hugely entertaining. But sadly there are those with cruel black hearts among us who use their talents to degrade, hurt, bully, intimidate, bring shame and embarrassment to their targets _ when such are encountered they should be routed out, with force if necessary, being left in no doubt as to how loathsome their actions are, and if it can be caught and arrested in childhood, then so much the better.
    Generally speaking though i do not believe mimicry to be a bad thing.
    Thank you for this walk down memory lane, may we put aside that which has so desperately tried to kill our ability to laugh and re-learn this precious gift, to laugh often, long and hard … Somewhere in scripture is says something like ” laughter is as medicine to the bones” – there are even documented cases of cancer patients actively seeking laughter, through books and films,being healed .. Let us actively pursue it, laying aside our stinking thinking and help bring a little joy into this bleak world we live in….
    Laughter is a powerful weapon in our hands _ let us not be afraid of using it, it will revolutionise not only our lives but also those around us !
    Be Blessed !

  9. Ying tang ying tang ying tang ying tang, ying tang yiddle yi po…….

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