Mr Blint's Attic

Peter Cook: Tragically I Was an Only Twin

Parallels with Consequences in Peter Cook's early work

I was lucky enough to get William Cook's compendium of Cookery Tragically I Was an Only Twin for Christmas 2002 - I've just finished mining it for references to or parallels with Consequences and I found a fair few outlined below. The book includes many well-known sketches but also some long-lost gems, especially Peter Cook's column for the Daily Mail, which he wrote around the time Consequences was recorded - it's a real shame he didn't stick to this kind of journalism, as it's some of the best writing he did.

In the intro to his anthology, William Cook (no relation as far as I know) says that Peter Cook never wrote a play - well he did, and you can find a transcript of it right here in Mr Blint's Attic.

Apart from enjoying Peter Cook's humour, there's fun to be had looking for parallels with Consequences, and sure enough a sketch from 1960 called 'Second Flood' will seem rather familiar to anyone who knows the triple album well:

    'Oh look there's a bowler hat floating by... Must have blown off in the wind - there's quite a wind... I'll give the police a ring... Hello? Hello? What do you mean, glug, glug, glug?... Mary, just for your sake and to be on the safe side, I think I'll go up into the attic...'

An E L Wisty monologue from the TV Times in 1980 includes the phrase 'Rome wasn't burnt in a day', which Walter uses in Consequences.

A 1966 Pete & Dud sketch from BBC2 ('What time do you call this?', 'It's four o'clock in the morning, father') has the father lamenting his wife with the words 'Oh Rosie, Rosie, why did you leave me, my darling...', which is very strongly echoed by the dialogue and song 'Rosie' in Consequences.

Mr Blint perhaps makes an early appearance in a very bleak, nay Pinteresque, stage piece called 'Mini Drama' from 1973. Peter Cook plays a cab driver who puts on a cassette of music. The composer 'was never recognised by the critics.' Another sketch from the same period, 'Frog and Peach' refers to World War 2 as 'an absolutely ghastly business' much as Haig describes the war when talking to Pepperman about gambling.

Also on the theme of gambling, a Daily Mail column from 1977 - the year Consequences was recorded - has a some dialogue between Cook and Ladbrokes on placing strange bets; rather like Pepperman calling Ladbrokes in Consequences, and I think we might assume Cook's own bookmaker of choice at the time was the same firm!

Divorce - one of the main themes of Consequences - is also the theme of one of Cook's Daily Mail columns from April 1977. Consequences itself gets its sole mention in the book in a Mail column from 26th September 1977: "Only last weekend I was in Amsterdam to attend the launching of the triple LP, Consequences, by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley. Lady Judy Sexburga Cook, Sarah Vaughan and myself are guests on this work."

The final reference of note comes in Peter Cook's forward for Paula Yates' 1980 tome Rock Stars in their Underpants where he asks:
"Why aren't the Troggs bigger in Japan? Was it 'artistic differences' or incompatible underwear that led to Godley and Creme splitting with 10cc? Why isn't it Creme and Godley? And who are they anyway? The answers lie hidden in the tell-tale creases of their knickers...
[Paula Yates] did... assure me that all the profits from this venture would go towards wiping out endangered species. I took this to be a reference to herself and agreed to put pen to paper."

As it happened, both Ms Yates and Peter Cook were endangered species...

Best wishes,
Giles Booth
London, UK - January 2003


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