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Brighton Journal | 5th April 2020

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“People Of Brighton! Look At Me And Tremble!” – Oh No! It’s Professor Elemental!

“People Of Brighton! Look At Me And Tremble!” – Oh No! It’s Professor Elemental!
Hannah Midgley

It had been a number of years since The Brighton Journal had received any contact from one of Brighton’s few true musical colossi – also a fashion icon, groundbreaking inventor and man of mystery. Responding to a sudden and urgent summons from the world’s foremost chap-hop star, the renowned steampunk icon Professor Elemental (which arrived a couple of days late due to being sent by telegram) The Brighton Journal team raced to The Professor’s underground laboratory in Ship Street. Alas, The Great Man was not there. We eventually traced him to his lair, a modest mansion in the mist-wreathed hills of Portslade. He limped heavily ahead of us through the cobweb-shrouded corridors, one foot encased in a mysterious metal boot, apparently the result of a bizarre wedding related accident. Eventually we collapsed on a sofa in a chaotically organised library as Elemental held forth over tea and battenburg cakes.

“This house is built upon a hospital for infectious diseases. Just removing the wrong brick in this building? Well goodness knows what we could unleash on an unsuspecting public!” gloated Elemental with a monstrous chuckle. “That’s why we moved here. The infirmary has drawn me to the outskirts of Brighton. There are far less people around, so less complaints about the noises and smells and so on.  There are also tunnels underground and infectious diseases in the air! Welcome to my home!”

“There are tunnels underground and infectious diseases in the air! Welcome to my home!”

We steered him towards an attempt at an interview. On numerous occasions during our discourse The Professor channeled his alter ego – his manager, proprietor and creator Paul Alborough. The change is alarming. The crazed glint in the eye departs. The manic cackle mellows. The blind optimism and relentless creativity are tempered, but only a little. It is like watching a possession in reverse, impossible to be certain where Elemental finishes and Alborough begins. For ease of comprehension we have attempted to differentiate between Paul Alborough and Professor Elemental. Between the monkey and the organ grinder, if you will.

It has been a number of years since we at The Brighton Journal heard from you, despite your producing a number of inventions in the meantime….

[Paul Alborough] That is true! Sorry I am too busy making the stuff to publicise it! I do spend a lot of time whiffling on about myself.  I just forget to tell the right people sometimes.

Professor Elemental performing at The Yellow Book in Brighton on 8th February 2018

The Brighton Journal attended your show at The Yellow Book on 8th February. If you recall you decided to pick on our editor, Elin Arnar?

[Paul Alborough] All I asked was whether she was having a good year and she was like [giggles coquettishly] “Maybe I am!” Who knows what is going on there?

It is tricky, stuff like that, isn’t it? You have to be careful when you start delving into people’s personal lives. When you are getting into stand-up comedy you don’t want people to feel uncomfortable that you have picked them out. You want them to feel good and if you start casting too many aspersions about things they don’t want to talk about – and I have done before – you can really end up on the wrong side of the tracks.

As long as I get a strong reaction – and I always have. Whether it is hate, terror, fear or shock. As for anger? Oh god! The rage!

You are talking about comedy though. You are actually a musician.

[Paul Alborough] Yeah I am. As more time goes on I enjoy the bits between the songs perhaps more than the songs themselves, because they are different each time. Amongst the many things I am nerdy about I am VERY nerdy about stand-up comedy. I love putting bits of stand-up into the show.

You also got berated after the show by The Brighton Journal’s editor because you didn’t manage a full version of [famous Professor Elemental hit] ‘Fighting Trousers’? I think you were doing audience participation instead?

[Paul Alborough] That’s the thing. There’s always going to be a few little compromises. I think what might also have happened that time though is that I did a shorter version because I forgot the second verse!

That often happens – but only with songs I know really well. I can see in the audience people going ‘uh?’ and I think “Oh fuck I have done this verse like three times!” I was thinking about what I was going to say after the song was finished…

That’s the beauty of a Professor Elemental show. There’s always going to be something new for you to watch, even if it is just the latest mistake. Where will he go wrong this time, ladies and gentleman?

 I was interested by your superhero costume.

In an almost impenetrable disguise at The Yellow Book on 8th February… “I am a superhero nerd. My favourite superhero is Plastic Man…. nobody likes him very much…”

[Paul Alborough] I am a superhero nerd. The next thing after the current abum will be superhero-based. I like the idea of breaking The Professor utterly then bringing him back, because that is what happens in the best superhero comics. My favourite superhero is Plastic Man because nobody likes him very much, but he is really, really enthusiastic.

Professor Elemental doesn’t have any super powers as such, but somebody could easily convince him that he did have and he would go “Oh! Really? How fantastic! I had no idea. I will jump off this building!”

What is a normal day for Professor Elemental?

[Paul Alborough] I would say …. up …. shout at the ape [Professor Elemental’s ourang-outan butler, Geoffrey] … invent at least three impossible things before breakfast, as the saying goes.

Then he would do something simple like go to the shop to get some bread, but that would end up in some terrible misadventure that allows him to travel around the world or through time or into his own mind, coming back 48 days later.

Probably by the time he is ready to start the day and he has finally got dressed and got everything sorted and got milk for his cereals, the day is pretty much finished. Then there is just time for a quick bath of gin and he is ready to start again the next day.

How does Professor Elemental fund this complicated life style?

[Paul Alborough]  Oh my god that is a great question! I am totally going to explore that in a song.

I like to keep it quite fluid so in my mind’s eye I think he still goes out and does the shows. So he earns money the same way I do. I just hope our lives are slightly different. He wants to tell the world about the things he has made and wants to show them off – even though they are mostly awful things.

I think maybe he has got the remains of a family fortune he is frittering away. I like the idea of that as well. He is finding cash under the floorboards and that sort of stuff and the fortune is dwindling away on complete nonsense.

What kind of awful things has he invented?

[Paul Alborough] Animal ice cream [ice cream in a variety of animal flavours, in some cases consisting solely of frozen animal]. Horse brandy. Terrible non-flying flying machines. Electronic wasps that nobody wants. If you can think of something you have never wanted, he has probably made it.

There will be stiff competition for this, but what is his all-time worst invention?

[Paul Alborough] I think the horse brandy. The way you make the horse brandy is you have to milk a horse. Then you extract all of the horse milk and you add loads of really cheap brandy. You heat it up, then stir it back into a liquid and serve it to guests. I would say that is pretty much the least popular invention of The Professor’s.

For the most catastrophic I think the time-travel trousers came close because once they had been worn by an ourang-outan they almost ended space and time, so I would say ‘Yep! The trousers…’

“For the most catastrophic I think the time-travel trousers …. they almost ended space and time, so I would say ‘Yep! The trousers…'”

In term of the highest number of fatalities per invention that is very hard to put an exact figure on. I don’t know if I’d be at liberty to say to be honest, but there is a village in a Suffolk that isn’t there anymore. It got stood on. It was a village of not very much consequence but even less now it is gone.

As a scientist you must be excited about the re-opening of The Volks Electric Railway this weekend?

[Professor Elemental] I am excited about the opening of The Volks Electric Railway, but also slightly disappointed. I had offered them numerous improvements to make it much better. I was going to give them jet power to make it faster than a Japanese bullet train, and also a series of wings and rotors so it could fly above the sea.

Sadly they declined my offer and in fact banned me from ever going on it again.

In term of the highest number of fatalities per invention that is very hard to put an exact figure on….

According to The Brighton Journal the Volks Electric Railway is 1.3 miles long?

[Professor Elemental] Yes imagine doing that super quickly. It would be brilliant. Then it could fire off all the way to the pier. There is that gap at the moment. If they had listened to me it could have gone as far as The Crazy Mouse. And beyond!

Into the sea?

[Professor Elemental] Yes! Exactly! Then I could have put boats on it or indeed made it into a sort of submarine thing. The possibilities were endless, but they were very short-sighted I think.

The previous element of The Volks Electric Railway, the Daddy Long-Legs [a seagoing train on stilts] was nice, but imagine combining the height of the i360 with the mechanics of the Daddy Long-Legs and the i360 could have just scootled around couldn’t it? It needn’t have stuck there. You could have taken it to Shoreham. I would have driven it.

The design of the i360 has – some people have remarked – an unfortunate resemblance?

[Professor Elemental] It DOES look like an enormous metal sky-willy doesn’t it?

It could have been better designed. Leave it exactly as it is, but on the very top pop a huge bronze statue of my face. In fact my face is the viewing thing that you go in and out of. You can look out of my eyes or my ears or my mouth. I think THAT would have been beautiful icon for Brighton.

“I was raised predominantly by my nanny … on a diet of pudding …”

It could have spoken. “People of Brighton! Look at me and tremble!” Something like that. That can be good or bad. I like to keep them guessing …

Take us back to the very beginnings of Professor Elemental.

[Professor Elemental] I was born at a very early age. Very small, the traditional way. My parents disappeared when I was small. They said they were popping out and never really, um, came back. I was raised predominantly by my nanny, dear old Cookie. She didn’t speak much, but she was a mighty woman – all seven feet of her – and raised me on a diet of pudding.

I went to a terrible school and an even worse university. Then before I knew where I was, I was a grown-up. Well I say grown-up. I don’t really believe in them myself.

You studied?

[Professor Elemental] I studied professoring. I am a professor of professoring. I was the only one on the course. While I was at university I got a job teaching the art of professoring as well. In fact I was not only the only one on it, I was in fact the teacher for the whole course – and I passed with flying colours I don’t mind telling you.

What does the course of professoring entail?

[Professor Elemental] Well there’s inventing, um shenanigans, advanced absinthe drinking and of course the whole unit on horse brandy.

To be honest once we started doing the horse brandy the whole thing was predominantly just horse brandy making, horse brandy tasting, the after effects of horse brandy… I’m still studying now! I think you never really stop learning….

You are famous for a number of things. Hats. Pipes. Inventing…

[Professor Elemental] Yes although the pipe has had to take a back seat. I was forever throwing it by mistake and hitting people in the first row.

As for inventing. Yes I have always liked inventing.

I like to invent things that not only has nobody ever seen before, but never knew they needed before. As long as I get a strong reaction – and I always have. Whether it is hate, terror, fear or shock. As for anger? Oh god! The rage! If I had a penny for every time that somebody had been utterly enraged by my invention accidentally eating their dog, or squashing their mother. I mean – I’d have a tenner….

Do you have a current favourite animal-related invention?

“… I spent a lot of time with the badgermingos … I think perhaps it is time to move onto humans …”

[Professor Elemental] I’ve tried to steer clear of the animals. I spent a lot of time with the badgermingos and different flavoured animal ice creams. I think it is time to move on perhaps to humans.

I just need to find some humans who are willing to enjoy some, erm, improvements. Hence my move to The Old Infirmary in fact. Gutted to find out that it is The Old Infirmary, rather than just ‘an infirmary’. I know that the NHS is strapped for cash and, you know…. I don’t know where I am going with that. Scrap this it has taken a bit of a dark turn …

The whole ‘improving humans’ idea has been attempted before. What new can you bring to the table?

[Professor Elemental] Extra limbs! I am a busy man and sometimes two arms are NOT enough. Imagine two other arms, or a couple of necks, or even just an extra elbow would be quite handy I think.

I just think MORE. Whatever you have got, more of that. If I had three knees I could do all sorts of things. Probably. I don’t know. Maybe. Only one way to find out! That’s how I tend to approach science. 

To be honest once we started doing the horse brandy the whole thing was predominantly just horse brandy making, horse brandy tasting, the after effects of horse brandy… I’m still studying now! I think you never really stop learning….

These are simple human-based modifications. Surely if you imported some vital elements from the animal kingdom?

[Professor Elemental] Good lord man! Do you want to go into some kind of partnership? Imagine that… A man with the nostril of a badger …. or the keen ears of a piglet. The possibilities quite frankly are endless. The island of Professor Elemental…. I’ll need my own island of course. Otherwise people might pry….

There’s The West Pier. They were going to rebuild it…

[Professor Elemental] Yes! No! I am going to rebuild it. That will be fine …. but I won’t wait until it has been rebuilt. I will start working precariously right now. Just me and the starlings… very carefully working on a man with the ears of a pig ….

” … the pipe has had to take a back seat. I was forever throwing it by mistake and hitting people in the first row … “

You are world famous for your animal improvements and combinations. If you were awarded a giant squid your first impulse would be to combine it with what and how?

The professor snatches a sheet of vellum and starts frantically sketching. 

[Professor Elemental] Oooh. I think I would combine it with … a … humming bird …. because …. the squids, well … they are lovely. Great creatures. Little bit slow aren’t they though? But a really quick giant squid that followed your every command? As long as you could get it enough nectar. And um, I don’t know, boats? Whatever giant squids like to eat. Then you’d be on to a winner!

You could use it for travel as well. It would be really great. Amuse the children. Travel about the place. I am going to make a note of that I think. Imagine how much the world would be improved by giant squids that could fly about and eat boats and nectar. Well in some ways improved. In some ways terrorised. Like Twitter in fact. That may seem a strange analogy, but no, I like to jump about.

What is Paul Alborough’s version of the beginning of Professor Elemental?

[Paul Alborough] I just did it as a weird little novelty act. There was a group called ‘Come Into My Parlour’ who were performing at The Marlborough Theatre. They were doing this variety show made up of loads of acts that nobody would really want to see on their own, like a really slow escapologist and this other guy doing freakshow bits and pieces. They were really funny people.

I just did it as a one-off for that. Me and Tom Caruana who produces my stuff had watched a show about Vivian Stanshall [of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band], a famous English eccentric. We started talking in a silly voice like his. I was doing the ‘Come Into My Parlour’ show and somebody said “You should do a tea rap.” I was like “That sounds a little cheesy. I can’t imagine anyone being interested in me doing that!” Here we are ten years later [following the release of Professor’s Elemental’s first internet hit – his ode to tea ‘Cup of Brown Joy’].

It was a lovely combination of finding my voice where I wasn’t trying to hide all my white middle classness in the hip-hop world, and also steampunk coming along at just the right time. So a lot of it was by accident and that enabled it to just explode into this ridiculous thing.

“I am excited about the opening of The Volks Electric Railway …. I had offered them numerous improvements to make it much better …. Sadly they declined my offer and in fact banned me from ever going on it again…”

You are very fortunate in your audience?

[Paul Alborough] VERY fortunate in my audience, honestly, to have like-minded people. Being a nerd there are so many little venn diagram circles. Of comic fans, steampunks, and even hip-hop fans are quite nerdy as well. That seems to be the glue that holds it all together. I am lucky. Nice people like my music. I can go on the internet and say “Does anyone want to do a video next saturday?” and you can create a village fete or everyone will turn up to a tea party dressed as time travellers.

I am harnessing the power of the internet and the polite loveliness of nerds. I would be lost without my tribe. I am very good at taking all the credit (a trait I share with The Professor) but Tom Caruana does all the music, Moog does the videos, a guy called Chris Mole does all the comics for me. I work with amazing artists. Without other people involved it would just fizzle out really. I would always be doing it though whether anyone is listening or not.

“Terrible non-flying flying machines. Electronic wasps that nobody wants. If you can think of something you have never wanted, he has probably made it.”

Because you were MC Elemental before of course?

[Paul Alborough] Yeah and the Brighton hip-hop scene was really bright and vibrant. I met some amazing friends and they taught me all the stuff I need to know about rapping, but it is still a competitive environment and I was not very good at trying to be like “I’m the best! I’m better than you at rapping!” I was never very good at it.

Even when I was doing ‘Fighting Trousers’ [an infamous dis of chap-hop rival Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer] the Youtube comments were (as Youtube comments often are) getting really foul and nasty and violent. I was thinking that’s not how I intended for this to go. The internet loves conflict of course. You have to be careful about what you say, stuff gets lost in translation.

How do you find you get on with being the professor and not being the professor? 

[Paul Alborough] It gets a bit tiring if I am at a big convention. I was at the Sci-fi Weekender at the weekend and I find that I am HIM for the whole day and the whole night, then another day and another night, I do have to go off into a corner and curl into a foetal position and read comics like a normal person for a little while. Other than that it is great. It is just me when I am a bit pissed anyway. The character is pretty much the same, so it just a slightly exaggerated version of me a lot of time. I quite like it.

“… He is like my worst characteristics brought to the forefront. The Professor … is my Daffy Duck. He is a cross between Daffy Duck and Mr Toad really.”

There definitely are differences. He is like my worst characteristics brought to the forefront. They are all things I have inherently got but he’s those things exaggerated. Chuck Jones [Bugs Bunnny creator] always used to say that Bugs Bunny was who he wishes he was, and Daffy Duck was who he sort of knew he really was and wasn’t that proud of. That’s the same with The Professor in a lot of ways. He is my Daffy Duck. He is a cross between Daffy Duck and Mr Toad really.

Is it an exaggeration or an inversion? You yourself [as Paul Alborough] were earlier unable to demonstrate how the coffee machine works… 

[Paul Alborough] Hang on, no! He wouldn’t know how the coffee machine works. It’s a coffee machine. He would be like “That’s none of my bloody business. No concern of mine. Like dogs or other people’s grandmas. None of my bloody business.” The coffee machine would be of no concern because it [coffee] is an inferior beverage [to tea]. He might say that, or he might strike it with a hammer. I suppose he might turn it into some sort of photon beam generator – but he probably couldn’t be bothered.

This technophobia is very much a Paul Alborough characteristic?  

[Paul Alborough] It isn’t really technophobia. It is a phobia of real life I suppose. Of grown-up useful skills, like putting up shelves or fixing a car. I really am only interested only in the world of fiction.

Then there are ‘The Chronicles of Professor Elemental’?

[Paul Alborough] Oh yes that is out on Amazon – much to my surprise and delight.

It is a little web series that I worked on with a chap called Ben Field. He wrote and directed it and I, wide-eyed and excited to be the centre of attention, just went along for the ride. All in all it is nice little snapshot! There is some to and fro dialogue in it I really like. Some little sight gags I also loved. I was very glad to see that it is available to watch.

Cars. There was an Aston Martin DB9 as used in ‘The Chronicles of Professor Elemental’ film….

[Paul Alborough] That was one of the bits of ‘The Chronicles of Professor Elemental’ [Professor Elemental television adaptation] that I really didn’t like. Again The Professor wouldn’t give a monkeys about what kind of car it was. He would like it if it was painted like a rainbow and had wings, but I don’t think he would really care that it was flashy and pretty. I only know cars by colours. I know that I have got a red one…

There is the song ‘You Remind Me Of A Car’…

[Paul Alborough] Yes but that is supposed to be more of a really really appalling love song. It is a man who desperately wants to try to woo somebody without the faintest idea of an appropriate way to do it. Again that echoes my own life. There is tragedy behind every comedic mask …

“… You have a lovely set of goggles and yes – that is a euphemism … “

Paul Alborough is being unduly harsh in his assessment of Professor Elemental’s romantic lyricism. Aspiring swains should take note of lyrics such as ‘… You have a lovely set of goggles and yes – that is a euphemism. Your eyes as pretty as a pony, your hair is softer than a gibbon … at the risk of being forward would you mate with me? Yes sorry that was a bit full-on, but I’m into you like an under-sized thong….’.

What other personal traits are exaggerated in The Professor.

[Paul Alborough] I think a neediness. He desperately needs to be liked, and so do I. There is an element of ego and showing off-ness and ‘Ooh! Look at me!’ Just me becoming The Professor shows there is that.

On the more positive side he is a very optimistic character. Even though he messes everything up constantly and everybody hates him. He is still like “It’s going to be fine. Why don’t we try THIS?”. In my real life I spend all my time trying to convince my friends that really awful things are brilliant. I am constantly showing them really bad horror films going “I think THIS is going to be the one that changes your mind gentlemen…”. The same with comics. I have terrible taste in everything really, but I really love all the awful things.

What kind of horror films are you talking about?

[Paul Alborough] Oh I will watch every kind of horror film. From really classy black and white ones with lovely photography to just trashy awful, oh-you-can’t-possibly-defend-them terrible horror films. I read a book last night and I have never read a book as quickly. ‘Off Season’ by Jack Ketchum, which was horrendous. It was so stomach-churningly taut and scary that I had to do it all in one go. Then I couldn’t sleep!

Are you going to work any horror into The Professor’s next exploits?

[Paul Alborough] I am glad you asked. I have just written a book of short horror stories, all based in The Professor’s world. I have tried to tread that thin line between some of them being genuinely upsetting and some being out and out funny (like me eating swans and things). I have an amazingly gifted artist who has very kindly drawn some pictures for me and I am going to get that out at October for Halloween! The Professor at Halloween …

Do you have any regrets?

[Paul Alborough] Jesus no! I couldn’t be a serious hip-hop artist. Who would listen to a middle class, white, middle-aged Elemental? It wouldn’t be funny either and I find funny is the thing I am most passionate about. So no regrets. In fact – the opposite. Literally every day I am so grateful because I have done so many jobs I hated. Making a living out of something creative is incredibly lucky. I did telesales for ten years. I did everything, but all the crappy jobs you have help you along your way. Teaching was great for crowd control. Telesales was great for talking to strangers and helping me market myself. If you decide there is something else you want to do and decide you want to do it, all the crappy jobs are just steps along the way to where you want to be.

You must have worked extremely hard to make a living from Professor Elemental?

[Paul Alborough] Yeah I really did and still do. The work that goes into looking like you are just living as this crazy drunken fool is all underpinned by a huge amount of admin and laborious work that goes into it. I think being older helps more than anything. Age and having children. I was lucky enough to realise that you get one shot at doing this for a living and if you miss it is not going to come back around – probably.

“Imagine how much the world would be improved by giant squids that could fly about and eat boats and nectar. Well in some ways improved. In some ways terrorised.”

You have to balance being a performer with your family life.

[Paul Alborough] The incomparable Ms Helen Fry, whose house I currently reside in, will not be joining me on this tour. The poor woman has to stay here with our children. She came out for Glastonbury and danced with us and it was really, really lovely having her onstage. She was the original robot wife and I do bring her out for that sometimes, and she will come out once in a while for a giggle. We have two kids. Molly is nine and Alice is six.

What do your children say when people ask what their father does?

[Paul Alborough] I don’t know, but I go into school sometimes and watch them with their heads in their hands going “Oh God! Here we go.” I think they say I am a rapper but I don’t know how proudly they say that. Imagine when they are teenagers how less proud they are going to be.

Would Professor Elemental the character ever manage to spawn offspring?

[Paul Alborough] He would but probably by accident. I love the idea that he would have a long-lost daughter that would suddenly turn up on his doorstep or something. He is interested in romance and how to woo a lady, but he certainly wouldn’t know what to do once he had got one! He would be too interested in going “I have made you this thing” or “I have brought you some flowers” and again that is as far as it would go with him … which again slightly echoes my real life …

You are currently on the ‘Ten Years of Joy’ tour?

[Paul Alborough] Mostly it has just been people going “Oh my god! I am really old”, or other people coming up going “I used to listen to you when I was little.” That’s horrible. I am not Ken Dodd! Nobody wants to hear that. Then you think how long you have been making music before the anniversary, and then it was twenty years. That time wasn’t really wasted though. It was learning.

So where are you off to?

[Paul Alborough] Where am I off to? It is kind of in two parts. Leeds I am going to next and literally every town in the country. A little bit in Scotland, up to The Eden Festival. Then after summer I am going to Holland and Canada, and maybe France. Anybody interested just look on

I am doing it pretty much all on my own with guest stars, but there is one big gig I am doing in Hastings which is going to have Moog there, and Nick Maxwell and as many of the crew as I can so that we can have a proper birthday party.

You forgot completely to tell us about ‘Odd Beast’.

[Paul Alborough] Well these things come and go so quickly. That was an album I released last year. It is nice to keep my toe in the world of proper hip-hop. I think as an older person you have got a bit more to say. An older rapper is inherently funny because you have a lot more to say and it is funny that you are rapping in your forties.

An informant tells us that you are going to downplay the ape [Geoffrey], because he is getting too much airtime…

“He gets way too much … Oh God! That ape needs to know his place. “

[Paul Alborough] He gets way too much! Way too much in Apequest (previous Professor Elemental album). Oh God! That ape needs to know his place. He definitely turns up on the new album but I think he had a good run on the last thing. He has had his time in the spotlight….

What about your radio series?

[Paul Alborough] Ah yes the radio series was written with Radio 4 in mind. It came quite close to happening and then at the last hurdle didn’t quite occur. So a guy called Alex Lynch co-wrote it and he knows loads of amazing comedians, so at the last minute we got loads of amazing comedians to come and do it and we put some new songs in it. It is a series of four 15 minute shows, almost like a podcast.

It is kind of close to what ‘Come Into My Parlour’ used to be. Just very silly comedy with an emphasis on the actual comedy rather than the music. It is nice to expand what the professor’s life is, to talk about the things he does day to day when he isn’t making music. You can download it from the website.

The interview again collapses as Professor Elemental breaks off to show us his new video, an uproarious paean to the joys of absinthe, parts of which were clearly filmed in Ship Street, Brighton. 

[Paul Alborough] Wait, wait this is actually a personal art video I’ve made of me doing naked aerobics…. Um. Ah wait… here it is…

THIS is my new video ‘Good Morning’. It features an actual ‘Good Morning TV’ presenter, my friend Sarah who works on ITV and Radio 5 Live and all that kind of stuff, along with Nick Maxwell (long time DJ and Professor Elemental collaborator) and Geoffrey. Moog directed our beautiful video, and it is me as a celebrity chef on a good morning program… and hilarity ensues ….

And you have been recording this very week?

[Paul Alborough] Yes. The School of Whimsy [my new album] will open its doors on 16th April! Musically I have never been so excited about an album! I have got lots of different guest stars, whereas usually I do it all myself. Tom [Caruana] has produced it all and I have got some incredible singers on the choruses and some extra musicians and rappers. There is a singer called Ella Jean, and another called Sabira Jade, both of whom have done wonderful things. There is the rapper Dr Syntax, a guy from Canada called Jesse Dangerously, Willy Davis Junior and two from Brighton – underground legends called Gramski and Jon Clark. If anybody reading this knows their Brighton hip-hop they should be very excited because they are in a crew with someone called Katey Matey and I have them all on one song and it is amazing!

I wanted something to sound musically as good as it possibly could do. It has got a little theme running through it as well. My most popular song seems to be ‘All In It Together’ which is about being ok to be weird so I thought I would do an album which expanded on that and just had a lot of advice about making art or dealing with anxieties.

However this is not me being responsible. There is nothing I hate more than when musicians or comedians get older and go “I now want to produce my serious stuff”. I just want to get weirder and sillier as I go through.


What is your message for the people of Brighton?


  1. Please be kind to each other and nice on the internet.
  2. Always put the kettle on.
  3. See rule number 2.

Professor Elemental’s new album ‘The School of Whimsy’ is released on 16 April 2018.

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