George Melly, Fly Fisher and Bon Vivant

July 9, 2007 By: Marshall Cutchin

The death of George Melly put most of England into mourning last week, and not least because he was the prototypical British bon vivant, drinking himself silly while fashioning an enduring contribution to jazz, art and literature. Surprisingly, he was as loud about his love of fly fishing as anything else. Jenny Booth gives a complete biography in the Times Online.
Keith Elliott writes about Melly’s fishing in The Independent, and Michael Bywater offers this portrait. “Melly, not just for his music (that oracular orotundity, a black woman in the body of a white man), but for his strawberry velour fedora, his zoot suit, his strange and flagrant intellect in which even fly-fishing seemed an exercise in Dadaist performance (surely he couldn’t just be fishing?); indeed, his very existence. As long as George Melly was out there, we knew that the accountants, the conformists, the bottom-liners and the health-and-safety sociopaths hadn’t entirely won.” Michael Bywater in the UK Independent.