Spasticus Autisticus[ edit ] Dury's song " Spasticus Autisticus "—written to show his disdain for that year's International Year of Disabled Persons , which he saw as patronising and counter-productive—was banned by the BBC.
Dury was a disabled person himself, having been left crippled by childhood polio. The lyrics were uncompromising: So place your hard-earned peanuts in my tin And thank the Creator you're not in the state I'm in So long have I been languished on the shelf I must give all proceedings to myself The song's refrain, "I'm spasticus, autisticus", was inspired by the response of the rebellious Roman gladiators in the film Spartacus , who, when instructed to identify their leader, all answered, "I am Spartacus ", to protect him.
Ian Dury, that 'flaw of the jungle', produced a remarkable and sustained body of work that explored issues of disability, in both personal and social contexts, institutionalisation, and to a lesser extent the pop cultural tradition of disability. He also, with the single "Spasticus Autisticus" , produced one of the outstanding protest songs about the place of disabled people in what he called 'normal land'.
Although the song was banned from being broadcast by the BBC before 6 p. Acting and other activities[ edit ] Dury in concert Dury's confident and unusual demeanour caught the eyes of producers and directors of drama.
An Urban Fairytale , also by Eduardo Guedes. City of Angels , directed by Tim Pope , who had directed a few of Dury's music videos.
Among the cast was actress and singer Jane Horrocks , who cohabited with Dury until late in , although the relationship was kept discreet. Dury turned down an offer from Andrew Lloyd Webber to write the libretto for Cats from which Richard Stilgoe reportedly earned millions.
The reason, said Dury, "I can't stand his music. I said no straight off. I hate Andrew Lloyd Webber. He's a wanker, isn't he? He got Richard Stilgoe to do the lyrics in the end, who's not as good as me. He made millions out of it. He's crap, but he did ask the top man first! The two visited Sri Lanka in this capacity to promote polio vaccination. Dury commented that the album was one of the most "upful" he'd ever heard, and that the album "lifted [his] spirits up" whenever he played it.
The track appeared on — The Love Album. Illness and death[ edit ] It was known for some time before his death that Dury had cancer. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in and underwent surgery, but tumours were later found in his liver, and he was told that his condition was terminal. Upon learning of his illness, Dury took the opportunity to marry his girlfriend, sculptor Sophy Tilson, with whom he had had two children, Bill and Albert. Suggs and the band cite him as a great influence.
It was to be one of his last recordings. He also performed again with the Blockheads in mid at Ronnie Scott's in Soho. This was a special performance recorded for LWT's South Bank Show and the audience were invited fans and friends of the band and crew. His deteriorating condition was evident and he had to take rests between takes and be helped on and off stage.
Dury was noticeably ill and again had to be helped on and off stage. Dury died of metastatic colorectal cancer on 27 March , aged An obituary in The Guardian read: He was cremated following a humanist funeral at Golders Green Crematorium with mourners at the service, including fellow musicians Suggs and Jools Holland as well as other "celebrity fans" such as MP Mo Mowlam. In a "musical bench" designed by Mil Stricevic was placed in a favoured viewing spot of Dury's near Poets' Corner , in the gardens of Pembroke Lodge , in Richmond Park , south-west London.
Ray Winstone and Naomie Harris also appeared. Set in the musical featured Dury classics in a "riotous coming-of-age tale". The production was supported by the Blockheads, while Sir Peter Blake donated a limited edition print of the "Reasons to be Cheerful" artwork.