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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Where do the monkeys all say boo?

For those who don't know the reference in the title of the blog, it's a line from Spike Milligan's poem "On The Ning Nang Nong". We speak/sing it every night during story time. I'm not really sure why I started it but I wouldn't get away without it now ("what about, Ning Nang Nong, dadda?"). Hopefully one day Linus will want to look where it comes from and read and watch some more.

Terence Alan Milligan, more commonly known as Spike was a British comedian and writer born in 1918. His first success was the celebrated British radio series, The Goon Show, which he devised, wrote and performed in. Without the Goon Show it's arguable if Peter Sellers, a star of the show, would ever have had national or even international fame. It was also part of the inspiration for Monty Python.

He also wrote several books relating to his experiences during the war and several TV series.

He had a complicated personal life (another way of saying I'm not writing about it!) and mostly raised his children as a single parent. He wrote a lot of poems and doodles for his kids that were later published, for the first time in Silly Verse for Kids , which included the first publication of Ning, Nang, Nong.

In 1998, it was voted the Nation's Favourite Comic Poem, the full top ten is below.

  • 1. Spike Milligan - On The Ning Nang Nong.
  • 2. John Hegley - Malcolm.
  • 3. Roger McGough - Cake.
  • 4. Sir John Betjeman - Hunter Trials.
  • 5. Hilaire Belloc - Matilda.
  • 6. Lewis Carroll - Jabberwocky.
  • 7. Marriot Edgar - The Lion and Albert.
  • 8. Edward Lear - The Owl And The Pussycat.
  • 9. Allan Ahlberg - Please Mrs Butler.
  • 10. Pam Ayres - Oh I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth.

Here's Spike Milliga performing it himself, below that is one of the finest examples of nonsense humour, direct from the Goon Show in 1957, What Time is It Eccles?

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