George Harrison Marks at the BFI

Who links George Harrison Marks, The Beatles, Ken Russell, Peter Cook, Richard Lester, Fairport Convention, The Goons, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, cartoonist Bob Godfrey (Roobarb) and Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller? The answer: Mr Bruce Lacey. And if Bruce Lacey himself has somehow remained ‘off our radar’ in recent times, it wasn’t always like that. A legendary figure on the British counter-cultural art scene during the 1960s, Lacey has enjoyed five decades of defining cultural moments, collaborating with all manner of filmmakers, musicians and artists, and making appearances in such era-defining pop cultural experiences as Help! and Not Only… But Also.

Bruce Lacey (born 1927) is one of Britain’s great visionary talents. Artist, stage, screen and TV performer, absurdist, propmaker and filmmaker, he figured prominently on London’s counter-cultural art scene during the 1960s and is as creative now, aged 85. Known for his unpredictable humour and strong political views, as well as his idiosyncratic art practices, he exerted considerable influence on post-war culture. Bruce Lacey made two films with George Harrison Marks, Uncles Tea Party and Defective Detectives. Both films feature The Alberts (more about them another day) and Stuart Samuels.

Uncles Tea Party  is included as part of the new BFI DVD and Southbank season, The Lacey Rituals.

Screening of Uncles Tea Party and other rarely seen short films will take place on:

  • Mon 9 July 18:20 NFT3
  • Thu 12 July 20:30 NFT3

It’s Rubbish, But By Jingo It’s British Rubbish!

Everybody’s Nobody (UK 1960. Dir Bruce Lacey & John Sewell. 20min); Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit (UK 1959. Dir Bob Godfrey. 6min); That Noise (UK 1961. Dir Bob Godfrey. 3min); Monitor: Preservation Man (BBC 1962. Dir Ken Russell. 16min); British Landing on the Moon (UK 1971. Dir Bruce Lacey. 3min); Heads, Bodies and Legs (UK 1965. Dir Bruce Lacey & Jill Bruce. 3min); Uncle’s Tea Party (UK 1962. Dir George Harrison Marks. 5min); The Alberts’ Channel Too (BBC 1964. Dir Dennis Main Wilson. 30min).

Provocative satire, surreal humour and general tomfoolery abound in this selection of snappy, short films and TV shows by Ken Russell, Bob Godfrey and George Harrison Marks – as well as Bruce Lacey and Jill Bruce. Mocking authority and the British Empire in equally startling measures, ‘Professor’ Lacey and friends, cod-Edwardian novelty jazz musicians The Alberts, appear in virtually everything here – their stiff antique attire and playful, physical performances going on to influence both the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and the Sgt Pepper-era Beatles. Look and listen out too for Ivor Cutler, Antony Newley (who dated Jean Spaul) and Michael Bentine.

The Lacey Rituals: films by Bruce Lacey is available from Amazon.

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One thought on “George Harrison Marks at the BFI

  1. Harrison Marks released some of his comedy films on the Maximus label on 8mm under the series heading Crazy Comics: Uncles Tea Party, Dizzy Decorators and Hi Diddle Fiddle.

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