Morpheus on… Kenneth Williams: “Diary Of A Madman”

If you want to HEAR this piece, hit

It was recorded – in STEREO – in 1963, with a small orchestra, for a Richard Williams animation that never happened. Richard (no relation to Kenneth) like most cartoonists, prefers to record the audio first, then match the animation to it.

But when the project foundered, Kenneth’s extraordinary reading of Nikolai Gogol’s 1835 short story, detailing as it does – in the first person – a man’s descent into schizoid paranoia, REMAINED.

I first encountered it twenty years ago, while driving alone very late at night, across a desolate Scottish moor. I turned on the stereo radio’s scanner and suddenly, a voice I immediately recognised filled the car.

The piece soon reached the part where Poprishchin COMPLETELY LOSES it and Kenneth’s insane cackling – with echo – FLEW around my head. It was a bizarre experience.

A while back, I tried to find it on the Interweb. It was available, but being twenty-eight minutes long, only as a “torrent” – and a right pain in the arse THEY are.

But eventually I managed to capture the work and as YouTube were by then allowing longer uploads – to save others the aggravation, I put it up into the Public Domain.



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