Skip to content

John Dowie \ An Arc Of Hives [BOUCD 6630]

Definitive compilation by influential writer and humorist John Dowie, acclaimed by many as Britain's first 'alternative comedian' and an unlikely early signing to Factory Records. Born in Birmingham in 1950, Dowie might have rivalled John Cooper Clarke as a literate punk poet had an EP recorded for Virgin in 1977 outsold God Save the Queen. Feted by Tony Wilson of Factory as a new wave Lenny Bruce, Dowie went on to record with Martin Hannett and Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, before moving on to stage and television work, and finally retiring from stand-up in 1991.

This remastered archive CD (and download) includes all tracks from the original singles released between 1977 and 1981 (including Fac 2 and Fac 19), as well as unreleased demos recorded with the Smirks, Albertos and Fabulous Poodles, plus live stand-up material recorded in 1985. The booklet features detailed liner notes by Stewart Lee, Dave Cohen and James Nice, plus cover art by Ralph Steadman.

Tracklist

Acne
Idiot
Hitler's Liver
It's Hard To Be An Egg
Mime Sketch
British Tourist
Jim Callaghan
Naked Noolies in the Moonlight
I Don't Want To Be Your Amputee
Mew Wave
Time Warp
Snail Tamer
Irritation
Beer
Grounded In Reality
Angry Old Men
Love You (Like Hell)
I'm Here To Entertain You
Miserable Childhood
Nietzsche
No More Fucking

An Arc Of Hives [BOUCD 6630]

Reviews:

"The most influential comedian you've never heard of" (Dave Cohen)

"John Dowie performed art-house proto-Alterative Comedy before it even had a name. He was tired of it by the time the tropes he'd established became commonplace, and then he just sort of slipped away" (Stewart Lee)

"We might not know that much about Dowie today, but this is a great taster for a genius lost to comedy and a welcome step in the right direction" (chortle.com, 10/2012)

"Without doubt the most interesting re-release of the year" (Caleidoscop, 10/2012)

"Why oh why didn't hilarious sub-grumpy Brummie surrealist John Dowie cross over to the mainstream during his heyday in the 1980s? To coin a cliche, he was simply ahead of his time, a twisted and sometimes bittersweet alternative writer and comedian who steered a course through the choppy waters of stand-up and poetry, and as a recording artist in his own right. Wonderful it is too" (Flipside, 11/2012)