Friday, June 24, 2011

Simon Brint

These are scenes from Somerset England, where Simon Brint lived

Simon Brint was a British comedic actor, musician, and the composer for the music for a number of British well known television series. Being American, I was less familiar with his comedic works, but I have been very aware of his varied music. He lived in Somerset, England, and created music for television from a studio located in Islington, in the London area. He was a good friend of Lenny Henry, the star of BBC's "Chef" series, and many others. Simon was also the composer who wrote all the music, the opening music as well as the entire score of Daniel's favorite "Monarch of the Glen" television series. Simon's death was announced about June 20, 2011, by his friend Lenny Henry, and confirmed by his representative Maureen Vincent. For one so prolific in his music and his comedy, very little is written about him personally, and formal obituaries have been missing from most places one might expect to see them. In keeping with Simon's apparent wish for privacy, I will simply extend our family's condolences to his family and friends. We also encourage those who manage Simon's estate, and BBC to consider re-releasing the ever popular musical score to "The Monarch of the Glen" series. He also composed music for Daniel's ever favorite "Fry and Laurie". Daniel knew all of the songs from the series.

Simon's recorded works, such as the "Monarch of the Glen" album should be marketed again and should be enjoyed.

These are samples of some of Simon Brint's work:

Simon's "Composer" website remains up, and you can listen to a broader range of music he has penned, than I have provided here.

His musical works will be missed. A giant gap in the field of musical scores now exists, as the man was truly a genius. The music in Heaven must really be something. John Barry and Simon Brint are composing it now.



Finally, there is a fitting and loving obituary from the UK National News with no specific writer given. They suggest that Simon's passing was a suicide.

An excerpt of the obituary follows:

Simon was born in High Ham, Somerset. His father, Stephen, was from a large working-class family, and had lied about his age to join the army. His mother, Anne Tracey Watts, was the daughter of a high court judge and a former English scholar at St Anne’s College, Oxford. They met in Austria after the second world war, where they were both involved in repatriating former PoWs. When the family moved from south Wales to Kent, Simon, aged 15, decided to stay on alone in Wales, and moved into a B&B near his school. Ostensibly this was to allow him to complete his O-levels, but his band at the time, a very stylish R&B outfit called the Blue Imperials, were also doing very well. A year later, he followed the family to Hythe, where he and his friend, Doug Chandler, persuaded the headteacher at Harvey grammar to excuse them from PE because they were both “physical weaklings with towering intellects” and would be better used preparing for school concerts.

They used their time to visit record shops and to float in and out of various musical projects, most successfully combining a bizarre cover version of Ennio Morricone’s theme from For a Few Dollars More with Granny Takes a Trip by the Purple Gang to create Granny Takes a Few Dollars More. Simon went on to study English literature at Reading University, where he cut an eccentric figure on a Bernini bicycle fitted with a small engine (he never learned to drive). He became the social secretary’s chief arbiter of taste when deciding which bands to bring to the university.

Graduating in 1972, he drifted happily, working in the studio of the artist Anthony Benjamin; playing and recording with the singer and tightrope walker Hermine Demoriane; dressing elephants as mammoths for the 1981 film Quest for Fire; and prop-making – on one occasion, when delivering a prop for Ken Campbell’s 1979 production of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at the ICA, he was stopped by a policeman who asked what he had in his bag – “the secret of life,” he replied. One of his first film compositions, a series of tape loops, was for a documentary about modern surrealist artists, Chance, History, Art (1980). He also co-wrote, with his longterm collaborator Simon Wallace, the music for the Oscar-winning short A Shocking Accident (1982).

In his personal life, Simon was an exquisite minimalist, and lived in spaces that were always painted several barely perceptibly different shades of grey. But although everything looked clean and empty and ordered, all the cupboards were bursting with stuff, absolutely chock-full of multitrack tapes, gizmos and instruments and millions of bits of recording equipment – perhaps that is a metaphor for the man. But he did have rigorous taste, especially in music – the minute he detected anything mediocre in the emotional integrity of what he was listening to, he became disaffected. Tom Waits was loved, and then suddenly dumped for “trying too hard”.

He was selective with his friendship, too, but if you became his friend, he was very loyal, very good company, very amusing. We did lots of tours together. There is usually a scramble to sit next to the most interesting and open person on a tour bus – and Simon was always that man. He was so civilised and convivial, knew things I never knew, and would introduce me to things I’d never heard or seen: Pina Bausch, Gillian Welch, the Holy Modal Rounders. And he could be deliciously cruel about stuff he didn’t like. That wince that said ,”Oh really, it just won’t do”, and then the trademark flick of his collar.

In 2004, with his old friend David Campbell (the social secretary from his days at Reading), and under the umbrella of Action for Music, Simon started to help unacknowledged musicians in Kenya record their music and get a return for their work. He had an extraordinary ear for talent, and a lot of the bands he chose to help then are the leading musicians playing in Kenya today. In parallel, he worked on Makutano Junction – a TV soap reaching 12 million east African viewers and the region’s biggest show – both as a composer, and a mentor to composers. This was all done from a sea container under an avocado tree in Nairobi that he had converted into a studio.

In 2003, Simon married Amanda Cockerton, and they moved back to Somerset. My daughter, Simon’s goddaughter, once remarked: “Everything thing about Simon is grey, except Amanda.” He was the gentlest, kindest man, with extraordinary taste and a sublime, quirky talent that he was never really confident of. He is survived by Amanda, and four brothers.

• Simon Tracey Brint, composer and comedian, born 26 September 1950; died 29 May 2011

UPDATE:   May 12, 2013

Simon Brint is very much missed by his brothers, his other family, and those who simply saw the genius of his music.  My very best wishes to the brother who contacted me regarding this post.


  1. The author of this obituary is Adrian Edmonson (The Young Ones, Bottom etc), who worked extensively with Simon Brint, throughout his career.

    The missing opening paragraph confirms suicide.

    It is from The Guardian.

  2. Thankyou so much Tommy for contributing to the missing pieces in our blog post. Originally when I posted it, very little was available anywhere on Simon's passing. Although suicide was rumored, I left it off the post as long as possible, as such a private man probably would not have wanted to be remembered for it. Thankyou again.


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