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Derek and Clive

‘All right, love, you can come out of the cubicle…’

So begins a wonderfully anarchic sketch from the late Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, as their alter egos Derek and Clive. Their first album Derek and Clive (Live), made in 1976, received mixed reviews but was quickly adopted by the punk generation and hailed as a masterpiece.

Peter Cook began life as a satirist and writer of comedy sketches for the Cambridge Footlights Club, of which he became President. Widely acknowledged as a comic genius by contempories and fans alike, his later foray into ‘pure vulgarity’ was seen by many as a step backwards. Derek and Clive trawled previously uncharted depths in the search for new material, using such luminaries as Jayne Mansfield and Winston Churchill as comic foils.

As the years went on and more albums were made (Derek and Clive Come again 1977, Derek and Clive Ad Nauseum 1978) the material became more and more offensive. Peter Cooks alcoholism has often been cited as a factor, as has his strained relationship with Dudley Moore who had, by then, become a Hollywood film star. But, whatever the critcism, the popularity of the albums continues.

Derek and Clive break every taboo you could possibly think of. Religion, public schools, marriage – even the postal service! – all get a thorough mauling in the worst possible taste. I first heard them as a shy and retiring teenager at the house of a friend whose parents were out and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. So in the words of Cook’s manic gameshow host:

‘Have a good time, be nice to each other….’

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