Saturday, April 30, 2011

Phoning Up A Buddy

Phoning up a Buddy: The 46th reason to be cheerful brought to mind an old British Telecom ad campaign, "Make someone happy with a phone call", the bird was called Busby and like The Wombles was voiced on TV by Bernard Cribbins.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Something Nice To Study

Something nice to study: With only 8 more Reasons To Be Cheerful to go, I've a feeling this one wasn't Ian Dury necessarily musing about sitting down with a text book. So here's Marilyn Monroe.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Volare: The song was originally recorded in 1958 and was the Italian entry for that year's Eurovision song contest. With only 10 entrants that year the song only came 3rd. It was the last year to feature no songs in the English language and the last year the UK didn't enter. It was not originally called Volare, but "Nel blu di pinto di blu" and written and originally recorded by Domenico Modugno. The song has been recorded 100s of times, arguably the most famous version is that of Dean Martin. In 2005 it came second to Abba's Waterloo as the greatest Eurovision song of all time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Balabalabala: The occasionally incorrect yet informative H2G2 breakdown of Reasons To Be Cheerful speculates that Balabalabala could be the opening of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, it could also be a bit of filler when Ian couldn't think of anything else. Alternatively there are several places in the world called Bala, Ian Dury could be referencing three of them, one in Wales, one in Romania and a small town in Kansas that has the signpost pictured.


Pasquale: Assuming Ian Dury was referring to Don Pasquale and not Joe, this is a picture of Luigi Lablache playing Don in 1843. Don Pasquale is a comic opera. There are obvious differences between Don & Joe Pasquale, one is quite amusing and often incorporates new and original material, the other is a comic with a squeaky voice.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Dmitri: Dmitri Shostakovich was a 20th century Russian composer. 15 symphonies, 6 concertos, 2 operas, film music and some other stuff (extensive research here!). Ian Dury perhaps considered his music a reason to be cheerful, that or his face.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Dali: Ian Dury studied art and Salvador Dali painted some "eyeball pleasers". On the surface he appears to be a bit of a nutter with a crazy moustache, but he was quite a talented nutter with a crazy moustache. The last public release of his was a short animated film "Destino" a project he started with Walt Disney in 1945.

Woody Allen

Woody Allen: Here pictured in a still from the film Sleeper. Reason to be cheerful number 39.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Slap and Tickle

Slap and tickle: What better way to signify such an expression than a still from a Carry On film. In Carry On Up The Khyber the use of 'tiffin' had the same meaning. Other expressions to slip in could be 'a bit of how's your father', 'nookie', 'hanky panky'. Ian Dury was more than fond of a euphemism. In the song This Is What We Find, Harold Hill comes home to find another gentleman's kippers in the grill and that's nothing compared to what Billericay Dickie gets up to with Nina in the back of his Cortina.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Vincent Motorsickle

The Vincent Motorsickle: So here is a Vincent motorycyle. Phil Vincent founded the British manufacturing company in 1928, producing many models until their liquidation in 1959. The company has since had several other incarnations and attempts to resurrect the brand.

Cheddar Cheese & Pickle

Cheddar cheese & pickle: For Ian Dury's 36th Reason To Be Cheerful we bring out the Branston or maybe Ian had piccallilli

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Harpo, Groucho, Chico

Harpo, Groucho, Chico: Could there ever be a better Reason To Be Cheerful than Minnie's boys, Harpo, Groucho, Chico aka Adolph, Julius and Leonard.? The Marx Brothers were all born, otherwise they would never have existed. Groucho was the one with the moustache, which he originally painted on and then went with real hair. Chico got his nickname from his ability to attract the ladies. Harpo was quoted as saying "                                                                                          ". There were some other brothers, but they weren't as funny and Ian Dury never mentioned them so why should I? Our 35th reason to be cheerful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Listening To Rico

Listening to Rico: Rico Rodriguez, a Jamaican born jazz trombonist, Presumably Ian was referring to listening to this guy rather than the kid who appears as Manny in Modern Family, given that the latter wasn't born when the song was written. Rico of the song toured with Bob Marley, played with Prince Buster, The Specials (he played the solo on Ghost Town) and a plethora of other artists. It's also stated that he inspired the Beatles to let their hair grow, although that could be just hairsay...

Bantu Stephen Biko

Bantu Stephen Biko: A South African anti-apartheid activist who dies in police custody in 1977. He used the term "black is beautiful" as a slogan describing it as meaning: "man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being".

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wee Willie Harris

Wee Willie Harris: Here's a bill from The Ritz, Wigan from 1958 or 1959 before Cliff Richard's then backing band The Drifters had become The Shadows. Apparently billed as 'Britain's wild man of rock 'n' roll' in the 1950s. He had limited commercial success (none of his singles charted), but was popular through live performances and TV appearances. His mention in "Reasons To Be Cheerful" led to a comeback in the 70s and in 2000 he even released an album entitled 'Twenty Reasons To Be Cheerful'. Right I'm off to Wigan, looks like a good bill and only 6 bob for a decent seat.

Lighting up a chalice

Lighting up a chalice: Well with 21 more reasons to be cheerful left, I'm sure there's one for you. Here's a smokie Keith Richards. Just say no Keith.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Taking Mum To Paris

Taking Mum To Paris: I didn't know Ian Dury or his mum, but if taking her to Paris made him cheerful then that's OK. For my picture of the line is the daughter of everyone's favourite mum (The Queen Mother, her daughter is The Queen or as she is sometimes known The Queen Mother's Daughter). So here is The Queen getting off The Eurostar in Paris, it must be cold on there she's got her gloves on. Mind the gap love.

Round or Skinny Bottoms

Round or skinny bottoms: From the mind of Ian Dury comes another choice of a reason to be cheerful. Queen made their's in my Reason to Be Cheerful picture of the day.

Gigolos and brasses

Gigolos and brasses: So another couple of reasons to be cheerful. They are the male and female versions of prostitution. Brass is supposedly rhyming slang 'brass nail' = tail. Anyway, not the most cheery professions, but it can be well paid! Here we see Warren Beatty in the movie Shampoo and Julia Roberts in Prettty Woman. Julia particularly proved that it can be a more glamorous profession and a little bit of luck and the right boots can turn your life around.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Health Service Glasses

Health service glasses: Spectacles provided by the NHS, I guess if prior to the NHS you were shortsighted and couldn't afford glasses then having them would indeed be a reason to be cheerful. Generally speaking though they were an excuse for schoolkids to get bullied. So here's a picture of everyone's favourite schoolkid, it's Roland. From the popular school drama Grange Hill a programme that spawned Tucker who ended up Dancing on Ice, Zammo who inspired the global hit "Just Say No", and remember without Grange Hill there'd be no Hollyoaks or possibly even Waterloo Road, oh now I'm not so cheerful, pass us a crisp Roland....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Curing Smallpox

Curing Smallpox: A little known fact that it was Granny Clampett's rheumatids medicine that formed the basis for the original cure for smallpox. Surprisingly this fact may not be true, but I was trying to find a cheerful picture and a picture of a smallpox vaccine isn't that cheery, a picture of Granny C. from The Beverly Hillbillies is, weeeell doggy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sitting on a Potty

Sitting On A Potty: Well I guess it's cheerful, but most of the pictures I could think of or indeed find tended not to be, but then Lego came to the rescue (again), hooray for Lego. Did you know James May and 1000 others made a full size house out of Lego? Well they did and then it got knocked down again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Days When I Ain't Spotty

Days when I ain't spotty: So for keeping cheerful with your lack of acne, here's Keith Moon from the album cover of The Who Sell Out with a mock ad for spot cream.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Elvis and Scotty

Elvis and Scotty: Presley and Moore. Sam Phillips had Scotty Moore back Elvis on guitar in 1954. Along with Bill Black and DJ Fontana they performed as the Blue Moon Boys in 1954. So be cheerful with a little bit of groundbreaking rock and roll.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

No Electric Shocks

 No electric shocks: Here's Jack Nicholson as Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. It could be that Ian Dury was referring to electroconvulsive therapy or just regular electric shocks. He came into contact with both. Generally speaking having none of either kind is a reason to be cheerful, as is Jack Nicholson. in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Going On 40

Going on 40: There isn't really a picture that would signify 'going on 40' unless like me you're a fan of one of the all time great comedians Jack Benny who was permanently 39. Ian Dury's first taste of great success was in his late 30's so when writing Reasons he was cheerfully going on 40. Jack Benny was born in 1894. His radio shows ran from 1932 until 1955 and on tv from 1950 to 1965. The Jack Benny program featured the wondrous Eddie Anderson as Rochester and the many voices of Mel Blanc. The radio and later tv character of Jack Benny was a skinflint wo liked to play the violin badly. Benny was known for his long pauses, a contrast to many of his fast talking contemporaries, especially on radio. His most famous (if not infamous) routines was when a mugger accosted him "Don't make a move, this is a stickup. Your money or your life." Benny paused, the robber went on: "Look, bud! I said your money or your life!" another pause and Benny replied, "I'm thinking it over!". Jack Benny died in 1974 (aged 39) shortly after being cast in The Sunshine Boys, one of his dying wishes was for his close lifetime friend George Burns to take the part. Burns went on to win an Oscar as best supporting actor.

Too Nutty To Be Naughty

Too nutty to be naughty: Now then, what does that phrase mean? I thought of Kenny Everett who managed to get away with far more on prime time national TV than most people would have. Not least the character portrayed here, "Cupid Stunt", whose malapropism was missed by TV bigwigs and even by the TV clean up campaigner Mary Whitehouse who was more concerned by Hot Gossip, the suggestive dancing group on the same programme. Everett even managed to string Cliff Richard up (literally). So be cheerful for Kenny Everett, it was all done in the best possible taste.

Too Short To Be Haughty

Too short to be haughty: The picture that immediately springs to mind is from the classic sketch written by Marty Feldman & John Law and first performed on The Frost Report in 1966. John Cleese was the haughty upper class toff looking down on the middle class Ronnie Barker who in turn looked up to John Cleese and looked down on the working class Ronnie Corbett, who got a pain in the back of his neck. Ian Dury had his own personal class issues coming from a working class father and a (at least) middle class mother, he would often effect a cockney worker's accent not quite in keeping with his upbringing, the little rascal.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Yellow Socks

Yellow socks: So what better reason to be cheerful could there be than yellow socks? Yellow socks are socks that are yellow, they were first worn by Benjamin Disraeli in 1847.

You're welcome we can spare it

you're welcome, we can spare it: so we grin and bear it, ask others to come and share it and then say that's ok, we've got plenty! I did wonder about a picture for this, but then I remembered one of the most cheerful things I read about is when cash machines give out extra money, when they put the £20 notes where the £10 notes should be. I guess this picture wass taken in the days when banks could spare it. Nowadays banks are all very poor. The chairman of Barclays has now resorted to taking in washing to make ends meet, allegedly

A Bit Of Come & Share It

a bit of come and share it: The cheerfulness that's brought on by spreading something you have (not like that, clean thoughts please). This picture is part of the government's campaign in the mid 80s for the sale of British Gas, which was then a public owned company. The campaign was to promote to members of the public the chance to own something they already owned, a fabulous sharing scheme. This was part of the Conservative government selling off the "family silver", the Labour government later came in and sold off the gold supplies at a carboot sale in Rotherham.

A Bit of Grin & Bear It

a bit of grin and bear it; the old British stiff upper lip is another reason to be cheerful, despite all his adversities Prince Charles can still smile, his inability to squeeze toothpaste on to his royal toothbrush doesn't stop him from giving a grin every now and then. Prince Charles is currently working on a stammer of his own and the screenplay for The King's Speech II.

Porridge Oats

Porridge oats: I don't really see porridge as a reason to be cheerful (except the BBC sitcom, but that may appear later, who knows?). I do like the Scott's guy though, with his kilt and red socks and ball throwing. I am slightly concerned about his left arm movement, but I'm prepared to let that go. Porridge is more fashionable of late. I was talking to someone who was using porridge as part of a diet, they didn't like it much though and were adding spoons of sugar to it, thus making the diet pointless, they may as well be eating cake. Now if cake rhymed with 'nanny goats' I could have a nice picture of a piece of battenburg here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Being Rather Silly

being rather silly: here is John Cleese in various stages of silliness. He was Minister of Silly Walks in Edward Heath's government in the 1970s. Sadly there is no longer a Minister of Silly Walks, this post is now incorporated with The Mayor of London's duties

Fanny Smith & Willie

Fanny Smith & Willie: I'm led to believe that Fanny Smith & Willie are Ian Dury referencing private parts. This is very tasteful, being an oil painting by Albrecht Durer. It is supposed to be Adam & Eve, the first Fannie Smith & Willie, reasons to be cheerful indeed.

Seeing Piccadilly

Seeing Piccadilly: I toyed with Piccadilly in Manchester, but I reckon Ian was singing about Piccadilly Circus in London, besides there were no pictures of nude cyclists riding through Piccadilly in Manchester, they'd have probably got caught in the tramlines or stopped in Primark for a cheap fleece.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Plus Equal Votes

plus equal votes: women over the age of 30 received the UK vote in 1918 and universal suffrage was introduced in 1928. Ian Dury's mum was born in 1910, so would have been one of the first women to benefit from the 1928 introduction and would have been able to vote in the 1931 general election.

All Other Mammals

All other mammals: Some mammals are quite scary, did you know? They don't really all make me cheerful, but animate them and get them to dance around to some jazzy tunes, hey presto, I'm a cheerful boy. I was going to close with a bare necessities pun, but I won't, so ner.

Dominecker Camels

Dominecker Camels: Thanks Ian! Dominecker camels indeed. So the internet tells me that there aren't any actual 'dominecker' camels, there are dominecker or 'dominique' chickens. They are black & white chickens. The internet says that possibly Ian was referring to Camel cigarettes, I don't know if there was a domineker variety of Camel cigarettes, besides cigarettes don't make me cheerful. I did wonder if there were any other types of 'camel' and thought of camel coats, I looked for a 'dominique' style camel coat but couldn't find one. Then I remembered someone who wore a camel coat and it made me cheerful. So here is a picture of George Cole as Arthur Daley wearing a camel coat and I made the picture black & white, so it is in fact a genuine 'domineker camel' as Arthur would say, "stand on me".

18 Wheeler Scammels

18 wheeler Scammels: Scammels were a British truck company. Their 'Showtrac' was used at fairgrounds, they were the trucks that included the generators that kept the rides going. So I was on and saw this picture of a fairground exhibit of Scotland's tallest man. The picture is from 1983, it made me cheerful, a bit more than a picture of a truck. Perhaps George drove an 18 wheeler Scammel for the fairground. Coming soon, what on earth is a domeneker camel?

Add Nanny Goats

Add nanny goats: It's amazing what you can find, who knew there was It was either this one or the goat getting a piggy back on a bicycle. Anyway, I'm surmising that Ian Dury hadn't yet seen any goats in panties, otherwise he would have issued the album "New Boots & Nanny Goats in Panties", rather than just "New Boots & Panties", see it all ties together, and that makes me cheerful.

Jump Back In The Alley

Jump back in the Alley: A couple of sites give this as being a reference to a Little Richard song Tutti Frutti, it isn't. The closest Little Richard song is Long Tall Sally and the phrase is 'Duck'd back in the alley". As an aside, if you tend to think in euphemisms, Long Tall Sally is possibly the rudest song ever. I'm inclined to think that Ian was indeed referring to a "jump" in an alley. Given his disability, I'm fairly sure jumping off the ground didn't make him cheerful, it was another use of the word 'jump'. So here is a picture of 4 lads who were very familiar with back alleys in their younger day and it's a cheerful fun picture, The Beatles.

The Bolshoi Ballet

The Bolshoi Ballet: I had a nice picture of a lady in the air doing the splits, but then I found a cartoon of swans wearing tutus. I've only ever seen a couple of ballets, but it cheers me to know they exist, even if the film Black Swan would have you believe that ballerinas are all sex starved, miserable sods and a bit mental. So if you don't like ballet, you have to like Russian flag waving swans, wearing tutus, paddling in the Thames.

Hammersmith Palais

Hammersmith Palais: The Hammersmith Palais de Danse started off as a ballroom and went to being a more modern music venue. The bit about it being demolished and the wranglings between councillors and developers about what to do with it are hardly a reason to be cheerful. Equally a picture of the outside of the venue or the remaining wall are hardly reasons either. So here we have a nice cheery oil painting of some people dancing there in its early days. Possibly where Ian's parents met, the venue would have been a 'reason' for Ian in many ways, just the fact that it existed was one, a place where you can go and dance, be entertained is always a reason to be cheerful.

and boats

and boats: How much more cheerful can you get than seeing a boat made out of Lego?

Good Golly Miss Molly

Good Golly Miss Molly: here with John Goodman as King Ralph, I'm sure given that it wasn't made until 20 years after he wrote the song that Ian Dury wasn't referring to the John Goodman adaptation but most probably to the Little Richard version. Naff films are a reason to be cheerful, as indeed is the classic rock and roll song first recorded by Little Richard in 1958 and covered by many artists since.

The Working Folly

The Working Folly: not sure what Ian meant as 'the working folly' to be a reason to be cheerful, possibly just having a job and a wage or possibly he found the work of other people a reason to be cheerful.
Anyway this is LS Lowry's "The Factory Gates" and I'd give some of Lowry a good reason too.

Some of Buddy Holly

Some of Buddy Holly: The opening verse, first line of the Ian Dury song Reason's To Be Cheerful, Part 3, I'll be running through a pictorial representation of the whole song lyrics in the next 50 odd posts. 

So here indeed is a bit of Charles Hardin Holley, who went by the name Buddy. Music that inspired generations of followers is indeed something to be cheerful about.
Buddy Holly died at 22 years old, amazing given his legacy and lasting popularity. He styled himself and his band heavily on Bo Diddley and recorded a great version of Bo Diddley's self titled song.