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Central Coast musician/composer/producer plays Spike Milligan's Cornet

By GEM Studios
Archived 12 Dec 2023 - Posted: 13 Oct 2023
Central Coast based musician, composer, producer Greg Englert has recently completed a short film titled ‘The unknown Spike Milligan’ focusing on the little known musical talent of the world-renown comedian and Woy Woy character Spike Milligan.

With support from Geoff Potter of the Milligan exhibit based at Woy Woy library and the Milligan family Greg has created the film which takes a close look at Spike’s cornet which is proudly housed at the exhibit and then explores the lesser known side of Spike as a multi-instrumentalist musician and composer.

Greg first became aware of the existence of the cornet when he played with a jazz band at the opening of the exhibit in 2018 and approached the Milligan family recently to ask permission to examine and play the cornet.

“I told them that having played Louis Armstrong’s trumpets in New York I felt it would be great to also play the cornet of a man who I grew up listening to and who greatly shaped my humour”.

Having obtained the blessing of the family Greg collaborated with Geoff Potter, the curator of the exhibit and the man keeping Spike’s memory alive, and together a detailed examination of the cornet was made revealing the amazing fact that it was an Antoine Courtois brand cornet made between 1872 and 1873.

“The cornet is almost in mint condition and plays perfectly – it is by far the best playing brass instrument I have ever played” Greg said.

During research for the film Greg located 2 filmed performances where Spike was playing the exact same cornet so a plan was made to film Greg playing the cornet in split screen films along with Spike also playing the cornet, one from the BBC in 1964 and one from Perth TV in 1974, 59 and 49 years apart!  These two performances are the highlight of the film which also reveals examples of Spike also playing guitar in 1947 and crooning (seriously singing!!) with smatterings of Goonisms.

The film is now on youtube under the title ‘The unknown Spike Milligan’ and is gaining large amounts of views already world-wide.

The Spike Milligan Exhibit (along with the cornet) is located at Woy Woy Library and is free to visit during library opening hours – Monday – Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm and Saturdays 9.00am to 12.00pm

GEM sudios is located on the Central Coast and can be followed on it’s facebook page and youtube channel here.

This article archived 12 Dec 2023

 
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