While it’s common knowledge amongst Mighty Boosh fans that the surreal TV show’s spaced out Shaman, Naboo, is played by Noel Fielding’s brother, Michael, it’s less well known that the man inside Boosh character Bollo’s gorilla suit is actually a graphic designer and photographer. Bollo’s design skills (his real name is Dave Brown) are showcased in the the forthcoming Mighty Book Of Boosh, published by Canongate on 18 September. Brown, has art directed and designed the book and contributed the bulk of the photography therein. Here we reveal a selection of spreads and images from the book…
Brown met Noel Fielding at Buckinghamshire College whilst studying a mix of graphic design, illustration and advertising. They formed a group of friends that are all involved, in one way or another, with the Mighty Boosh.
“I was at college with Noel and Jake (an illustrator) and Nigel Coan,” explains Brown. “Nige and his partner Ivana Zorn do all the animation for the Boosh. Ivana’s done a lot of illustration for the book and Nige does The Moon sketches with Noel.” Julian Barratt met Fielding when they were both on the stand up circuit in mid nineties – where he also met animator and director Tim Hope. “Tim works on the back projections for the TV show,” says Brown.
“I’ve been trying to get a book of Boosh stuff together for a long while,” admits Brown, “but it’s been a combination of having the time to dedicate to it and getting a publisher interested in letting us do what we wanted to do that means we’ve been able to do it this year. We didn’t want to produce a run of the mill, piece of shit comedy book – like you see in the shops. We needed a publisher to invest in it the way we wanted, we’re all very creative people. Noel pretty much draws everything from character costume designs to some of the stranger characters’ faces. I’ve got over ten years of photography of Boosh exploits from day one.”
And the Mighty Book of Boosh is stuffed full of Brown’s photos of Vince, Howard, Naboo, Bob Fossil and various other Boosh characters. Brown has also designed dozens of graphic devices to bring various Boosh jokes to life in print – such as a poster advertising the fight from the very first episode of the first TV series between Killeroo and Howard Moon – or the front page of a newspaper with the story of coy carps dying due to Howard Moon crying into their pond (referencing another first series episode in which Howard’s unrequited love for Mrs Gideon causes him to cry repeatedly into a pond).
There are also several books within the book, notably Vince Noir’s Childhood Tales From The Jungle and Howard Moon’s A Trumpet Full of Memories- for which Brown has created covers and layouts.
As well as getting old friends and regular Boosh collaborators to contribute (there are illustrations by Ivana Zorn (she’s illustrated the lyrics to many-a-crimp specially for the book), paintings, drawings and sketches by Fielding and Barratt, a short graphic novel by college-chum and illustrator Jake and further illustrations by another college buddy, John Chandler) Brown has also commissioned other artists to contribute. Andrew Rae’s mug shot-style drawings of creatures with law-breaking tendencies such as Sheila the lizard who parks in Handicapped spots are rather good – as are Mr Bingo’s drawings of the main Boosh protagonists’ hair cuts.
John Chandler provided illustrations for a Dixon Bainbridge story in the book
Illustrator Andrew Rae contributed several images of asbo-attracting animals for the book
Mr Bingo’s drawings of Boosh characters’ hair-dos
“There’s so much there and we really felt that we need to get this down and in something,” says Brown, “to create a record. (The Mighty Boosh are in fact creating a musical record, an album, but that’s a different story). We didn’t just want to make something that was a record of Boosh humour and jokes, but to create something that anyone, even if they weren’t a fan of the Boosh, particularly creative people, could pick up and think, ‘wow, this is full of goodies.’”
Scans of notebooks showing character and scene sketches and ideas in development
Whilst touring the country with The Mighty Boosh stage show, Brown made a point of photographing each theatre from the stage. Some of this series are shown in the book
The Mighty Book of Boosh is published 18 September by Canongate; £19.99