The Illustrated Vivian Stanshall
Twenty three years ago Vivian Stanshall died in a fire, trapped in a north London flat. Drunk, he slept through his own death.Vivian was the ineffable, unflappable, elegant and irreverently funny frontman and songwriter for the Bonzo Dog Dada Band, a group of art students who’d created a band unlike any other band one could name - and still adored by thousands long after their short time in the sun was knocked on the head by Vivian himself. "We were art students. We were Dada. We were making fun of the worst excesses of rock 'n roll. One day I looked around to discover we'd become what we were parodying." Written by his wife of 18 years, an artist in her own right, this is a behind-the-scenes, beneath-the-sheets, under the bed tale of an actual genius – few who admired him would disagree. In many ways this is Vivian through his own private words gleaned from his personal journals. It’s also full of up close and revealing portraits of legends: Keith Moon, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Stephen Fry, Michael Palin, John Peel, Joe Cocker, and so many more. But even more than all that, it’s an ART BOOK: crammed full of Vivian’s paintings, sketches, unpublished family photos, letters and poems.Vivian Stanshall was the last of the true Bohemians. This is also a tale of Dada, a mad sad glad voyage through life on a grand scale made by one of England’s greatest treasures: the genius who was Vivian Stanshall.(As Ki writes: all memory is Kurosawa's "Rashomon". These are her memories accompanied by Vivian's actual journals.)

The Illustrated Vivian Stanshall Details

TitleThe Illustrated Vivian Stanshall
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2018
PublisherEio Books
ISBN-139780975925584
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Biography, Art, Sequential Art, Graphic Novels

The Illustrated Vivian Stanshall Review

  • Casey Hazzard
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot wait for this book. I've been a rabid Vivian Stanshall fan since forever. Illustrations, paintings, his own journal, and his wife's great writing. A knock-out combo.
  • Teton Blues
    January 1, 1970
    News of this book is getting around. For those of us who believe Vivian Stanshall was/is a genius, this is something we HAVE to have. I'm already saving my pennies. Bless a true genius!
  • Shauna G.
    January 1, 1970
    If it's about Vivian Stanshall, I'm first in line. The man was one of our greatest artists as well as the most versatile. He wrote songs, performed them, composed music, painted, sculpted, performed, made films, oh, it just goes on and on. I am thoroughly thrilled a book is coming, one I'm told is stuffed with illustrations: drawings, paintings, photos. As a big fan of his wife (she wrote this book) it has to be exceptional.
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  • Meg Taboni
    January 1, 1970
    Not familiar with the husband of one of my favorite writers. But if she loved him, I will love him. Because of Longfellow's amazing talent I can only imagine her treatment of Vivian Stanshall is something I'm going to want to read. And to see. It's illustrated. From the cover alone, it looks fascinating.
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  • Maeve Covell
    January 1, 1970
    I've waited years for a real book about one of my heroes. Vivian Stanshall! With his paintings and photos I've never seen and letters. I confess, I am very excited. When I get a copy into my waiting hands and read it, I'll be back for a review. Wow.
  • Monika B.
    January 1, 1970
    Vivian Stanshall was about the greatest person to ever come out of Southend - my home town. I read the only book out there about him but was, to say the least, disappointed. But here comes one by his wife, a writer of great skill and deep understanding, and to say I want this book doesn't come close to my desire to read what she has to say about him. March, roll on!
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  • Dennis Lawal
    January 1, 1970
    The best voice to come out of Great Britain finally gets a real book? And his missus pens it? I've read her work, all of it. Who said (something like): Lucky is the man who gets a good biographer. Though she says this isn't a biography or a memoir. How intriguing. It's full of the great man's work? Paintings, sketches, etchings. I am atremble. I have all his albums. I still listen to his solo work because his solo work is timeless, especially that prodigious genius displayed throughout the spoke The best voice to come out of Great Britain finally gets a real book? And his missus pens it? I've read her work, all of it. Who said (something like): Lucky is the man who gets a good biographer. Though she says this isn't a biography or a memoir. How intriguing. It's full of the great man's work? Paintings, sketches, etchings. I am atremble. I have all his albums. I still listen to his solo work because his solo work is timeless, especially that prodigious genius displayed throughout the spoken Sir Henry at Rawlinson End. Add all this to Ki Longfellow's poetic understanding and I itch to get my hands on a copy. I wonder if I can bear to review it? I'll find out. First in line, me. Oh, and I've forced my friends to listen to Vivian Stanshall too. Some don't get it, but a lot do. I'm thinking of culling friends based on how they respond to "Strange Tongues", one of the greatest songs ever written.
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  • Perry McFall
    January 1, 1970
    I wandered into a Bonzo Dog DaDa Band gig BEFORE they were official. Once seen, never forgotten. So I followed them through their short professional career, bought every album (all in plastic sleeves to this day) and died a little when they hung up their Bonzo hats for good. (Those calling themselves the Bonzos now are a pure embarrassment.) But the man I sat clutching my seat in awe of was the frontman, a beautiful graceful creature who could do anything and DID. When he wandered off into a sol I wandered into a Bonzo Dog DaDa Band gig BEFORE they were official. Once seen, never forgotten. So I followed them through their short professional career, bought every album (all in plastic sleeves to this day) and died a little when they hung up their Bonzo hats for good. (Those calling themselves the Bonzos now are a pure embarrassment.) But the man I sat clutching my seat in awe of was the frontman, a beautiful graceful creature who could do anything and DID. When he wandered off into a solo career I followed after him. I have ALL his Vivian Alone recordings too but his are in plastic in a heavy box and put somewhere no one can get at them. The very idea his widow has written about him curls my toes. How delicious if I could get the first copy. I've been a fan of hers from a book called The Secret Magdalene. No wonder she and Vivian were together however that played out. But it seems I'm going to get to find out. It's said there are Vivian's personal diaries contained within. Be still my heart.
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  • Kitty Bourne
    January 1, 1970
    Just heard about this book on facebook. If there was one English artist I should have liked to have met it was Vivian Stanshall. The very idea there's a book coming written by his wife, one of my favorite writers, is very exciting. Plus I'm reading there are 600 images! Believe me, this is something I have to have.
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  • Ira Robbins
    January 1, 1970
    This is a truly extraordinary memoir of "Mr. Standstill" by the woman who knew him best. The writing is affectionate, insightful and clear-eyed, capturing the man's genius while making no effort to smooth over his messy life. It is very odd to read an interview one did in 1979, and which one can scarcely recall beyond its occurrence, narrated in prose, but that is typical of the book's achievement -- to bring the distant past very much back to life. The loosely structured -- but extremely deep a This is a truly extraordinary memoir of "Mr. Standstill" by the woman who knew him best. The writing is affectionate, insightful and clear-eyed, capturing the man's genius while making no effort to smooth over his messy life. It is very odd to read an interview one did in 1979, and which one can scarcely recall beyond its occurrence, narrated in prose, but that is typical of the book's achievement -- to bring the distant past very much back to life. The loosely structured -- but extremely deep and detailed -- story of Vivian's life as well as Ki's is revealing, illuminating and highly entertaining, despite the tragedy and disappointments strewn throughout. Packed with family photographs as well as Vivian's art and pointed new illustrations by Ben Wickley, this is a must for anyone to whom the phrases "English eccentric" or "Bonzo Dog" ring a thrilling note.
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  • Jelia Coffen
    January 1, 1970
    There is too much to say about this book in one little box. Besides I have to process what I've just read. It's beautiful in so many ways and tragic in so many ways. Longfellow has offered her husband a love letter than buckles my knees. BEYOND RECOMMENDED. REQUIRED IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT AN ARTIST'S HEART.
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  • Jessikka Brannagh
    January 1, 1970
    Best book about an artist I've ever read.
  • Jase
    January 1, 1970
    I've waited for this book for so long I thought it couldn't be what I hoped it would be. It is! It's much more than I hoped for. Pictures and paintings I'd never seen, Vivian's own words from his private journals, horrible things, wonderful things, warts and bruises and kisses. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I read certain things over and over to make sure I understood what his wife was saying. As for his wife, the woman who wrote the book she promised him, he was a lucky bloke. So many reasons I've waited for this book for so long I thought it couldn't be what I hoped it would be. It is! It's much more than I hoped for. Pictures and paintings I'd never seen, Vivian's own words from his private journals, horrible things, wonderful things, warts and bruises and kisses. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I read certain things over and over to make sure I understood what his wife was saying. As for his wife, the woman who wrote the book she promised him, he was a lucky bloke. So many reasons to say this but the one I think of now is to have his portrait painted by an artist of her ability. The language is sometimes poetic, always clever, and her understanding of the man she was with is way beyond the usual biographer. As she says this is not a biography and she's right. It isn't but it also is. I came away loving my hero more. Vivian was a tragic figure, a beautiful soul, and a destructive mess. He changed my life in so many ways. This book told me how and why and who. It's also a daring look at the nature of the artist and of art. Brilliant brilliant book. 10 stars. (Forgot to mention the extraordinary work of her illustrator. Pure delight.)
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  • DadaDaddy
    January 1, 1970
    Not yet finished and I'm already sure this is the closest I'm ever going to get to the inner world of a honest-to-god genius. Wonderfully written and presented. If Vivian were alive, he'd be sure to say "talent is sexy".
  • Nathaniel Fox
    January 1, 1970
    To begin with, the writing is stunning. Depending on what is being described or discussed, it is poetic, transcendent, informative, funny, enlightening, and deeply understanding of its subject which is of course the genius who was Vivian Stanshall. No wonder he called Longfellow his "translator". It might have taken her too long to understand alcoholism, but it took her no time at all to recognize his brilliance. What she didn’t recognize was her own. But Vivian did. She allowed herself to becom To begin with, the writing is stunning. Depending on what is being described or discussed, it is poetic, transcendent, informative, funny, enlightening, and deeply understanding of its subject which is of course the genius who was Vivian Stanshall. No wonder he called Longfellow his "translator". It might have taken her too long to understand alcoholism, but it took her no time at all to recognize his brilliance. What she didn’t recognize was her own. But Vivian did. She allowed herself to become subservient to his varied and astonishing talent. As I read along, I saw that he, in turn, was secretly subservient to her talent. His pride kept this from her until just before his death. By then, she was doing no more than waiting. She still believed he'd choose life. If he had, I don't imagine this book would ever exist. They'd have too much still to do together to bother looking back.I've read quite a few biographies, a handful of memoirs, but I've read nothing like this. Many close to such brilliance as Vivian's simply describe what happened on this day or that. (In Vivian's case a repetition of his so-called zaniness.) Not Longfellow. She describes inner truths, deep and surprising insights, sad memories of sad moments, glad memories of glad moments. She understands what he lived for, what mattered to him. As an artist herself, she understood his drive, his obsession. She understands Art. That's what we're being given here: the mystery of the born artist through the life and death of one sublime artist.All in all, it's a love story of surpassing sadness and beauty. There's also what I consider a clever and telling use of the Akira Kurosawa's film "Rashomon". In Rashomon all tell their own story and all the stories are different. There is no one truth. This book is Longfellow's truth. But she adds so many other truths, different voices, even those who disagree with her, never claiming hers is the final say. Vivian himself has his own say in language meant only for himself. His say is surely none of those who love him would ever expect to hear coming from the master of language. He stands revealed by his own simple words.Aside from all these "truths we are being given as a great gift, there is also all the paintings, the sketches Longfellow saved, the carvings, the images of the things he loved, gorgeous photos I've never seen before, and the truly exceptional illustrations of Ben Wickey, a very young artist who is very old in his ability and his insight. What Wickey has done would no doubt delight Vivian down to his unusual toes. There are things Vivian would adore. A model of the Thekla (the Stanshall's magical ship that launched not only itself but prodigious talent of every kind), a flip book, a page of paper dolls (oh how I wish I could deface my copy to cut them out!), a double image of Vivian to color - the book seems unending in its visual invention. If nothing else, and I can't believe anyone would see nothing else, the book doing no more than lying on a table will make any room explode with color and interest. If you're looking for a pop bio, perhaps this book is not your cuppa tea. For one thing it's much too beautiful… just as he was. But if you love Vivian, if he changed your life, if you want to reach out and touch the real man (so much is gleaned from his private journals, no lying, no trying to impress, just a man's naked soul) then any price is worth this magnificent book.
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  • Skylar Harner
    January 1, 1970
    This book will break your heart. But it will also stimulate your brain, make you laugh, cause wonder at how some people give everything to life. And then there's all the art and the photos and the illustrations. Huge kudos to the young illustrator, Ben Wickey. I'll just bet he's going places. As for the writing... Vivian is a lucky Dog. He's been immortalized by his own wife, a great talent.
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