Vivan Stanshall is a much-missed genius of weirdness. In the book, I was going to use part of this quote from Rhinocratic Oaths by the Bonzo Dog Doo-dah Band, for his lovely surreal take on the way that neighbours can define themselves and compete through their garden hedge maintenance:
Much as he hated arguments or any kind of unpleasantness, Ron Shirt thought things had gone too far when, returning from a weekend in Clapton, he found that his neighbour had trimmed the enourmous hedge dividing their gardens into the shape of a human leg.
Enraged and envious beyond belief, Ron seized his garden shears and clipped his white poodle Leo into a coffee table.
“That’ll fix it,” thought Ron, but he was wrong.
The following Wednesday his neighbour had his bushy waist-length hair cut and permed into a model of the Queen Elizabeth and went sailing.
Everywhere he went, people said “Hooray!”
Sometimes you just can’t win.
The complexity of getting permissions for song lyrics mean I left this out in the end, but I’ll put it up here anyway. You can hear the song in all its glory on Youtube here:
On the same subject of bizarre suburban disputation, it’s also worth listening to My Pink Half of the Drainpipe.