Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most of you will by now be aware that Dave Brown’s behind-the-scenes photos of The Mighty Boosh have become an exhibition, Behind the Boosh, which is currently showing at Proud Camden. A few of our gang were lucky enough to be at the opening night; here’s a summary of what it’s all about from Velveteer Mog:
The opening night of Behind the Boosh was buzzing. The gallery was full of friends and fans, including the Mayor of Camden (!), and a bevy of TVO-connected folk such as Noel Fielding, Julia Davis, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Arnab Chanda, Nigel Coan, Barunka O’Shaughnessy and Mr Bingo - plus Dave Brown of course.
You may feel like you’ve seen a significant chunk of Behind the Boosh reproduced in the various newspapers and websites that have been writing about the show. Trust me, it’s worth seeing the pictures in the flesh if you can.
The images themselves are undeniably aesthetically pleasing, and all the more so in larger dimensions than the recent online coverage has provided. But more than that, the photographs really come to life when viewed in the physical form: from the gentle undulations of the photographic paper beneath the glass of the frames to the signature delicately scratched onto the bottom right hand corner of every shot, it lends the images a warmth and authenticity that feels just right for the Boosh. It’s something you simply don’t get from a computer screen. The real life photographs present personal glimpses into their world as opposed to being just a visual report of something that happened.
Some of the photographs are so familiar they’ve become synonymous with the Boosh ‘brand'; it’s odd to think that someone actually took them. Others have never been seen before, and for those of us who are familiar with the TV show’s visual history, it’s these which have the greatest initial impact. An ambiguously moody shot of Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt in Buxton, which draws you in and holds you there, being a case in point.
Some of the photos depict the Boosh as a modern day rock band on tour: skinny jeans, tousled hair, stages, tour buses. By contrast, the black and white images from behind the scenes of the TV show have a timeless quality about them – the costumes, the intense conversations and the camera and lighting equipment that frames the shots makes them feel like they could have been taken in the early days of television.
Across the exhibition we get to see The Mighty Boosh in all its colours and shapes: the daftness and the the seriousness, the joy and the boredom, the camaraderie and the loneliness.
Throughout, their personalities come across as human, likeable and open for scrutiny. The result of the photographer being a trusted part of the story, one suspects. Dave’s absence from the images is the obvious downside of this arrangement, however.
The only complaint one could make about the exhibition is that it ends too soon. When we came to the final picture we were left wanting more; as if we’d been offered a window into the fascinating world of the Boosh rather than being told the full story. We live in hope for a part 2!