all things blurt!

Herald Scotland, july 25 2012 continued

"I guess I could've been called a beatnik, really," Milton reflects, "bumping into Gregory Corso and all these people at parties in north London, and doing readings with the New Departures crowd, Roger McGough and Brian Patten. I'd always had this sense of recalcitrance. I'd been to school and was so bored with everything, then I said to my father that I wanted to go to this jazz festival. Once I got there I woke up in a field, and there were these people nearby who were cooking sausages who invited me over. That turned out to be (poet and Cream lyricist) Pete Brown. I came back to London and wore dark glasses a lot, which was totally unremarkable, because everyone was wearing them."
He "bumped into Christopher Logue," who sent off his poems to the Paris Review, and for a few years was part of a scene recalled by Eric Clapton in his auto-biography. Clapton remembered Milton as "the first person I ever saw physically interpreting enact it with his entire being, dancing and employing facial expressions to interpret what he was hearing. Watching him, I understood for the first time how you could really live music, how you could listen to it and completely make it come alive, so that it was part of your life."


Milton, however, was moving in other directions. "I was just hanging about in my dark glasses and very long hair, saying 'man' quite a lot. People were getting bored with me sponging drinks off them, and I saw this ad for a job in a puppet theatre in Wolverhampton. I don't know why, but I applied, and ended up working with 3ft marionettes for a couple of years."
After this, Milton founded his own set-up, Mr Pugh's Velvet Glove Show, and, for the grown-ups, Mr Pugh's Blue Show. "I got good write-ups, and got Milton, "then got kicked out of various educational establishments, because the show was becoming more provocative."
Milton and Mr Pugh toured Europe's underground arts labs, and ended up touring a punky circuit as support to Ian Dury. These shows, Milton remembers, were "psychologically scorching, spiritually impaling experiences, being in a room with several thousand people, all shouting for you to **** off. But then, you'd play Ireland, and people would be attentive and applaud. That part of the world was culturally more sophisticated."
By the time Milton appeared on the late Tony Wilson's ahead-of-its-time late-night show, So it Goes, in 1978 – the same year he provided a puppetry routine for Terry Gilliam's film, Jabberwocky – Mr Pugh had become "a nasty piece of work designed to empty theatres."