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John Dowie \ An Arc of Hives [BOUCD 6630]

An archive anthology by influential writer and humorist John Dowie, acclaimed by many as Britain's first 'alternative comedian', and an unlikely early signing to Factory Records.

Born in Birmingham in 1950, Dowie might have rivalled John Cooper Clarke as a literate punk poet, but an EP recorded for Virgin in 1977 failed to outsell God Save the Queen. Feted by Tony Wilson of Factory as a new wave Lenny Bruce, Dowie went on to record with Martin Hannett and Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, before moving on to stage and television work, and finally retiring from stand-up in 1991.

This remastered CD includes all tracks from the original singles released between 1977 and 1981 (including Fac 2 and Fac 19), as well as unreleased demos recorded with the Smirks, Albertos and Fabulous Poodles, plus live stand-up material from 1985. The booklet features detailed liner notes by Stewart Lee, Dave Cohen and James Nice, plus cover art by Ralph Steadman.


1. Acne
2. Idiot
3. Hitler's Liver
4. It's Hard To Be An Egg
5. Mime Sketch
6. British Tourist
7. Jim Callaghan
8. Naked Noolies in the Moonlight
9. I Don't Want To Be Your Amputee
10. Mew Wave
11. Time Warp
12. Snail Tamer
13. Irritation
14. Beer
15. Grounded in Reality
16. Angry Old Men
17. Love You (Like Hell)
18. I'm Here to Entertain You
19. Miserable Childhood
20. Nietzsche
21. No More Fucking

Available on CD and digital (MP3). To order please select correct shipping option and click on Add To Cart button below cover image, or contact LTM by email for other payment options.

An Arc of Hives [BOUCD 6630]
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"The most influential comedian you've never heard of" (Dave Cohen)

"John Dowie performed art-house proto-Alternative Comedy before it even had a name. He was tired of it by the time the tropes he'd established became commonplace, and then he just sort of slipped away" (Stewart Lee)

"We might not know that much about Dowie today, but this is a great taster for a genius lost to comedy and a welcome step in the right direction" (, 10/2012)

"Without doubt the most interesting re-release of the year" (Caleidoscop, 10/2012)

"Why oh why didn't hilarious sub-grumpy Brummie surrealist John Dowie cross over to the mainstream during his heyday in the 1980s? To coin a cliche, he was simply ahead of his time, a twisted and sometimes bittersweet alternative writer and comedian who steered a course through the choppy waters of stand-up and poetry, and as a recording artist in his own right. Wonderful it is too" (Flipside, 11/2012)