Ian and Baxter

August 4, 2021

I have been a fan of Ian Dury and the Blockheads since their first album, New Boots & Panties back in the 1970s, notwithstanding the well-known fact that Ian was a difficult man. He was sui generis par excellence.

I am not a follower of celebrity biographies, but the other day, the Guardian ran a fascinating piece about Ian’s son Baxter, a significant musician in his own right, describing his upbringing by Ian and his equally problematic wife, Betty. Baxter has written a memoir called Chaise Longue:

“At the heart of Chaise Longue is an unlikely trio living in belligerent harmony – dad, son and the Sulphate Strangler. They shared a flat in west London by the banks of the Thames; part of a block renowned for its arty squatters, which Ian dubbed Catshit Mansions. They drank together, took drugs together, smashed crockery together, rowed and made up together when Baxter was still in his mid-teens. At one point, the Sulphate Strangler, known affectionately as Strangler, attempted to squeeze the life out of Baxter after he stole the laundry money. Today, Baxter says Strangler, who died in police custody, was simply trying to teach him right from wrong. The title, Chaise Longue, refers to the day bed Baxter was relegated to when Strangler moved into the flat and commandeered his bedroom.”

Ian Dury has been dead abut 21 years now, but his music lives on. This interview with his son reminded me of all the things I appreciated about him.

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