I think it was Liza Minnelli’s bright-eyed character Eliza in Albert Finney’s film Charlie Bubbles who noted that all the pleasure in life when collected together would probably only fill a thimble when compared to all the dull, beige and unhappy moments that weigh-in by the bucketload. Strangely, perhaps, I’ve always found this a reassuring thought as it makes life an adventure to be won. It’s always gladdening, therefore, to find one of those precious little delectations that put a skip in the day. Such a delight, well for me at least and hopefully for you too, is the Bonzo Dog Band’s short film The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage from 1969 or thereabouts. This little vintage piece of Bonzology turns up now and again like some long lost friend, but usually disappears with the speed of a unauthorized clip of Prince getting his groove on.
I have loved the Bonzos since being smitten by their presence on Python-forerunner series Do Not Adjust Your Set when a very young thing, and was genuinely more disappointed by the news of their disbandment than by the break-up of The Beatles, or the retirement of Ziggy Stardust or the demise of The Young Ones after only two series. Why this should be has everything to do with the sheer pleasure to be found in their music—their love of novelty tunes, their ability to pastiche pop and an unruly genius for original and unforgettable songs. It is as if The Goons, Monty Python and The Beatles had formed a band.
The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage is like the Holy Grail of Bonzo clips. It’s their take or version or whatever you want to call it of the Fab Four’s Magical Mystery Tour (which, of course, the Bonzos are in themselves, singing “Death Cab for Cutie” in the strip club scene), where similarly not very much happens, other than a trip out to the country, a visit to a farm, a meeting with some children, a game of football and a performance of the songs—“Rockaliser Baby,” “We are Normal” and “Quiet Walks and Summer Talks.” It’s a bit like the 1960s as a film—indulgent, fun, bubbly and rather messy.
This won’t be to everybody’s taste, but then again, why should it be? If you know it, you’ll enjoy it. If you don’t, why not give it a try?
Bonus: Bonzo Dog Band at the Plumpton Jazz and Blues Festival, 1969. Look out for a very fleeting shot of artists Gilbert and George around 30 seconds in.