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A 1969 book by Spike Milligan, my copy of The Bedside Milligan was priced 30p. Subtitled "or read your way to insomnia", the back cover suggests a number of possible titles:

The Bedside Milligan
The Milliside Bedman
The Sideigan Millibed
The Millside Bedagain
The Milligad Bedsign

The picture on the front is Milligan in his PJs, with the caption "Tomorrow I think I'll attack Clapham Junction. You never know!", while an angry-looking elephant looks on from a bed behind him. By this stage, you know what to expect from the book.

This book has just so many fantastic features, I barely know where to begin. It's a compilation of Milligan's poetry, doodles, pictures, photographs, open letters and personal accounts. Rather than being a boring collection for anal fans, the stuff in here is both hilarious and poignant.

The first piece is the story of Herbert Jam, who develops a singing foot. Then there's a selection of poetry, some comic and some serious:

The Young Soldiers

Why are they lying in some distant land
Why did they go, did they understand?
Young men they were
Young men they stay
But why did we send them away, away?

written during Korean War
March 30th 1955

Many of the poems are impossible to do justice without Spike's own illustrations, but the articles include a "Letter to Anyone", detailing his invention of Leaping Stones; the terror of Brown Bonk, and fantastic account of his trip to france, that I shall be reproducing here.

I imagine it's very difficult to get hold of copies of this book any longer, but it is quite wonderful and I'm sure one will turn up on E-Bay, or at a car boot sale if you look hard enough. Drop me a /msg if you have a copy yourself, I'd be curious to know.

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