The ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful’ Sonic Vista Bench

The ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful’ Sonic Vista Bench

Ian Dury Memorial Bench in the grounds of Richmond Park

To mark his life, Ian’s family has donated a bench (sponsored by Warner Chappell Music) to Richmond Park. It can be found at Poet’s Corner within the grounds of Pembroke Lodge. This is no ordinary bench. Designer Mil Stricevic designed the ‘talking park bench’ as part of his Sonic Vista project to enable people to listen to the music of Ian Dury whilst enjoying views of the park. Up until recently the embedded soundtracks were accessed via a set of headphones plugged directly into MP3 players in the arms of the bench but unfortunately these have been vandalised over the years or succumbed to the elements. Therefore, the bench hasn’t been working for a number of months. However, new technology is on its way and it will be up and running again very soon. Keep checking the website for details. Visitors will be able to access eight Ian Dury and the Blockheads songs and listen to Ian’s Desert Island Discs interview with Sue Lawley from 1996.

“Dad used to visit the park a few times a week over a period of years and it was very special to him, he loved it. It was one of the places where he felt he could go without being spotted all the time. There were two things, amongst others, he was very passionate about – getting out into the countryside and the availability of music. He would have loved the idea of a bench where people could listen to his songs and enjoy the view.” (Jemima, 2002)

Ian’s Desert Island Disc choices – first broadcast Sun 15 Dec, 1996

Bobby Charles
Small Town Talk
Bear Pack No. 1 – Various Artists, Bearsville

Dean Martin
That’s Amore
Moonstruck Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Capitol Records

Frank Crumit
Abdul Abulbul Amir
Mountain Greenery, ASV

Gene Vincent
Woman Love
Gene Vincent Be Bop A Lula, Capitol Records

Taj Mahal
Music Keeps Me Together
Music Keeps Me Together, CBS

Alma Cogan
The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane
The A-Z Of Alma, EMI

Ann Peebles
I Can’t Stand The Rain
Get Around The 70s, Radioplay

Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman – Complete Atlantic Recordings, Atlantic