On this day in history : 22nd September 1999 – A two-minute “SCREAM!” is held at a pub in Ashburton, Devon by Lord Sutch’s Official Monster Raving Loony Party ~ to honour his memory….

Image credit : Joe Mabel CC BY-SA 3.0

Born in 1940 David Edward Sutch had no known connection to nobility but changed his name to Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow on account of his musical career…. His band, becoming known as ‘Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages’, were influenced by American singer-songwriter Screamin’ Jay Hawkins…. In 1968 Sutch officially changed his name by deed poll….

Lord Sutch began his political career in the 1960s, as a representative of the National Teenage Party…. His first parliamentary election was in 1963 when he contested the Stratford-upon-Avon by-election after the resignation of John Profumo…. He received 208 votes….

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party was formed on the 16th of June 1982 at the Golden Lion public house in Ashburton, Devon – which then became its headquarters…. The first time the party stood under this name was in 1983, in Finchley – against Margaret Thatcher…. Lord Sutch and his party contested more than 40 by-elections…. His most successful was at Rotherham in 1994 with 1,114 votes….4.2% of the share….

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Lord Sutch carried on making his music – using the money from concerts to fund his political campaigns….with the Party renowned for its bizarre policies making a deliberate satire of British politics…. Lord Sutch was instantly recognisable in his wacky, flamboyant attire – usually sporting a top hat…. He often appeared on television – and was even in the first episode of the popular ITV comedy ‘The New Statesman’, as himself…. The advertising industry liked him; Heineken had him appear as ‘PM’ outside No.10 Downing Street in one of their advertisements – and in 1999 he appeared in a Coco Pops ad….

On the 16th of June 1999 Lord Sutch was discovered dead by his fiancée at his home in Harrow, north-west London; he had hanged himself…. He had a history of manic depression…. He was to be sadly missed in the political world which he so extrovertly livened up…. A two-minute “SCREAM!” was an appropriate memorial…. The Golden Lion at Ashburton is, incidentally, no more – it has since been converted into flats….

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