Last month, we brought you the first part of an exclusive chat with Dave Brown. We could have given you more so much sooner, but we thought we’d wait to give the Luxury Comedy push some second wind. And so, with Episode One fading into memory, and Episode Two on the horizon, we bring you Part Two!
During the rise of the Boosh, Dave Brown provided the vast majority of the designs for the DVD covers, menus, posters and beyond. As the work flowed in a steady stream, the time came to start up his own design company and so, APE was born. At the moment The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton book and Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy may be at the top of the barrel but you can find APE’s work in many other places.
While all this work was being produced, Brown could still be found on screen and on stage either pulling some shapes, singing or posing as our favourite gorilla. The line between designing and comedy could seem somewhat fuzzy; how they become separate from each other is a question that Dave answers with an admirable perspective and confidence, “They do overlap occasionally, I like to think I approach creative work with humor in mind, its not always easy but wherever possible I try, people react and gravitate towards something that makes them smile, its human nature. Over the years I have worked with more comedians through Boosh work and contacts like Tim Key, Rich Fulcher of course, & Jimmy Carr, I think being involved in comedy helps you understand what comedians are after design & photography wise, I’d like to work with more to be honest, It’s always annoyed me how so many comedians have the same style posters, lazy designs with little ideas, without blowing ones trumpet The Boosh as well as those that do care and appreciate the power of good branding stand out a mile!”
This poignant insight into his workflow is broken as Dave quips about his current situation, “I’ve obviously worked loads with Noel over the years which is great but sometimes, like now, I get a little sick of looking at his face all the time! I did a shoot with him the other day for the Luxury Comedy advertising so his big pointy face is back on my screen once again just when I’d finished the book as well! The people in my studio think I’m some kind of obsessed psycho stalker!”
Dave may jest at his non-stop working relationship with Fielding, but there is still an air of respect that comes across when he speaks of their long-term friendship and with Noel’s rise in the world of celebrity, “He’s been working on [Luxury Comedy] for ages and ages with Nige. The book (Madcap Shambleton) has been something that happened along side him making of the show. It was hard, I didn’t want to bother him too much with the detail, he’s writing the show, he’s playing loads and loads of different characters, then in the edit all day – it’s intense for him – so me ringing him up going ‘what you think of the layout on page 52?’, wasn’t really going to work so he let me get on with it, he trusts me. Once I’d got it all together and designed, we sat down and he burnt it, gave me a dead leg and made me start again! Nah, he loved it and got all excited, writing loads of new stuff and doing loads of new paintings – I then had Nige [Coan] ringing me up asking for him back!!”
A name that comes up regularly in our conversation is Boosh animator Nigel Coan, “I’ve been somewhat in the background over the years but Nige has been a dot on the horizon he’s so in the background; unlike me though he’s happy to not have any attention, he just sits there working it all like a puppet master. Luxury is amazing, they should both be so proud, Nige has directed and co-written it with Noel, directed all the animation – he’s worked his tiny ladies butt off! All those people asking ‘When is the Boosh next on!?’ they’ll have their fix of madness – it’s nothing you’ve ever seen before and it’s absolutely hilarious!”
The topic of Coan also brings up a memorable recent event for the boys; when Fielding and Brown were awarded a Masters Degree by the University in Buckinghamshire, “One of our lecturers called me up and said ‘I’ve put you and Noel forward for an honorary Masters Degree!’ I said ‘What about Nige?’ and he said ‘I didn’t have time to put him in too!”. Dave laughs as he recollects. “He was furious, deeply furious – but the more furious he became the more Noel and I found it hilarious.”
A sneaky insight into the upcoming surreal series is Brown’s on screen involvement, “I play a character called Jeremy Beautiful Chest. He dances while Noel paints – he’s his muse. I’ve got a sign that says Keep Off The Chest.” It offers an obvious link to one of the Scribblings signing events, when we witnessed dancing hedgehog Dave, while Noel covered a billboard with colour in London’s Soho. “There are some cross overs between the show and the book, the painting master classes being the most obvious, the limited edition box of the book carries Noel’s painting overalls from the show, the paintings he does in the show are also in the book.”
Of course the much anticipated question is also touched upon – will he be getting his face out? “This time I’ve got my face out but I don’t say anything – I do make some sounds as one of the characters I play, a blue mountain! it’s either one or the other with Noel – or either musical or physical.”
Luxury Comedy will be the latest TV show to bring some much-loved Booshdom stars back together again; I can’t help but ask him who he would say he is the biggest fan of, “That’s like Sophie’s Choice! It’s massive and they’re all very different people.”
I take off some of the pressure by narrowing it down to just Musical Booshdom, and he is a little less hesitant, “Musical Boosh, I dunno, Julian [Barratt] is a musical force, as is the wonderful Antony Elvin, but Dave Westlake needs a big mention, drummer in the Boosh band on the last tour, he helped produce all the music for the Eleanor show, he also put together all the music for the Boosh album” Westlake is a name that’s sometimes mentioned in Booshy circles but not often, so it’s interesting to hear of his Booshdom roots, “He was the drummer in Sneaker Pimps, he and Julian were at college together, him and Julian are a bit like me and Noel really, just more wise, jazzy and tweed!”
Now that Dave has finally been given the chance to allow his full mug to shine on screen and taken a stab at pretty much everything that’s been thrown his way, is there anything else he’s been hiding from us? “I’m pretty good at table tennis. When I say pretty good I mean fucking amazing. A lot of people like to play ping pong, but no one knows the art of table tennis.” We’ll be sure to keep an eye out in 2012!
As we discuss the many aspects of Dave Brown’s career, most seem to come full circle back to the Boosh. It is clear that Dave still has a passion for the show that started it all for him. As we discuss fans’ continued loyalty to the show, it is clear that the Mighty Boosh is far from forgotten for him, “Over the years, I look back at stuff now – I saw someone had made a mix, that Nicey Nicey Zoo Zoo thing and it’s the last part with Vince and Howard in the van that I immediately just pissed myself at. I do miss that chemistry between them, I love it. Julian needs to do more. He’s such an amazing comedy actor.”
I touch on fans’ recent attempts at a petition to ‘Bring Back The Boosh’, “Do you think if we got enough signatures the government would make us do something? People will ask me questions on twitter that I can’t possibly answer and then they keep asking!” Dave jests.
“Some of us wouldn’t need any signatures, I’d drop everything tomorrow! I could do [a petition] saying bring back Python though but it wouldn’t do anything.” He then continues to defend the quietness of the Boosh at this point “Noel and Julian have never churned it out for the coin, they’ve never done that. Something will happen when the time is right and that’s what’s great about it. It’s a natural thing, these things take time like a good risotto, well, a bit like a good risotto?”
All in all Dave certainly puts an outstanding amount of care and attention into each and every project he can get his hands on – and if that includes working with some of his (and of course) our favourite people, then that’s just a cheeky bonus. Whatever the future holds for Brown I am confident in saying that we’re unlikely to be disappointed.