Michael "Atters" Attree
|Michael "Atters" Attree|
Michael "Atters" Attree sporting his famous handlebar moustache
|Born||22 April 1965|
|Occupation||British satirist, comedy writer, performer, comedian|
Attree (or "Atters", as he is widely known) was born to British colonial parents who met in East Africa during the early 1950s. His late father worked as a District Officer in Kenya for Her Majesty's Government during the Mau Mau Uprising. Attree's formative years were spent in Oxford at his Italianate parental home (designed by Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis of Portmeirion and The Prisoner acclaim). He moved to London during the early 1980s and studied Fine Art & Film at Saint Martins School of Art. He was however rusticated due to an incident with a first year female student, a marrow and a bicycle pump. (his alumnus contemporaries included the musician Jarvis Cocker). At that time the art critic George Melly compared Attree's abstract oil painting style to that of Willem de Kooning.
For a considerable period he lived on the remote island of Iona. Here he resided both within a medieval ex-Benedictine monastery (Iona Abbey) and the Bishop of Argyll and the Isles' Bishop's House retreat. While researching Scottish Highland folklore and witchcraft he taught Celtic art to the Iona Community. As a self-proclaimed Grand Master he later stated: "Being a treeless island, constructing a Wicker Man proved difficult, so I enlisted the islanders for a Pagan Burry man procession instead." He also established a Ladies only Pipe Smoking Club whose only member was the 15th Earl of Camardenshire. Referring to the numerous complaints regarding his non-Christian beliefs and activities Attree later noted how: "An ecclesiastical invitation to leave the island duly arrived from the deaconess of Detroit". He soon relocated to Brighton where he became a fine art and antiques dealer but his shop was forcibly closed by Brighton and Hove council due to the sale of "Rihno's Foreskins". The offending articles where later discovered to be calf skin moustache snoods.
Attree's Anglo Saxon lineage is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and pre-dates the Norman Conquest. In 1438 "Dominus" Attree first held court at Sussex's Great Ote Hall and the Attree family remained "Lords of the Manor" for almost a century. During the Regency period the Attree name was synonymous with the architectural development of Brighton. A Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood stained glass triptych housed within Brighton’s Annunciation Church celebrates his ancient name. A list of Brighton & Hove bus names also celebrate renowned Attree’s within Brighton history.
"Atters" is Editor at Large and the official "resident bounder" for the satirical magazine The Chap. He started as online editor of Judge My Shrub and Moustache News and went on to become Editor of Roguishness. Atters' former column 'The Bounder' recounted his numerous rakish exploits within Soho (London) and Hollywood including interviews with "fellow bounders" (such as actor Leslie Phillips). He regularly officiates during the annual Chap Olympiad and opened the 2009 games as its Official Mascot. He has featured on the cover (and within the magazines Photo Features) a number of times. Attree was a prominent campaigner within the 'Chap movement' during their early Children In Tweed and Civilise The City campaigns. He has also been a Chap activist during such demonstrations as the Tate Modern Protest. In his book London Calling: A Countercultural History of London since 1945, author Barry Miles details how Attree (along with both a columnist of the magazine and the editor) climbed to the top of a Rachel Whiteread's art installation titled Embankment (a 67-foot-high "mountain" of resin boxes housed within the Tate Modern). The author notes "At only ten feet from the peak, they were halted by the sound of a megaphone but a swift scramble took them to the summit where they planted a Union flag, drank a chilled martini and passed around a celebratory briar." Miles also highlights their previous Victoria and Albert Museum demonstration where 'The Chaps' lamented Whiteread’s Untitled (room 101) exhibit, insisting that it intruded upon the plaster cast room of nineteenth-century architecture.
Attree's satirical articles (including broadsheet reviews) are generally black humoured and Gonzo in style and span from mainstream publications such as Time Out and The Guardian to works of erotic comedy for magazines such as Penthouse Forum, Erotic Knave (as "The Knave") and formerly Erotic Review (as an ongoing columnist). Attree is also a writer on subjects specific to the paranormal and occult for magazines such as the Fortean Times. As Flux magazines Paranormal Investigations Editor, his satirical series Atters Attree’s Temple of Arcane explored the supernatural through spoof case studies and carefully staged esoteric photographs (including 'angry' UFOs, fossilised poltergeists, a lactating Nefertiti, ectoplasm and the Mitcham Pongo pygmaeus). He has been serialised in T3 Magazine (with his socially dysfunctional robotic sidekick Robodog) as their caddish Gadget Guru. Referring to "Atters" Le Figaro magazine professed: "This man is a bomb. A bomb in stripy jacket, of course, but an explosive charge of madness, humour and eccentricity. Anarcho-dandy, Michael Attree is a revolutionary cell in three-piece suit who cherishes the dream of overthrowing the Western consumer society."
Attree is a regular contributor to both television and radio. In 2010 "Atters" was a special guest on The David Dickinson Show (a celebrity variety show for ITV1). In 2009 he appeared on Blighty with comedian Vic Reeves in My Brilliant Britain (a documentary about Tweed). In 2006 he featured in a Lonely Planet Six Degrees documentary where he delivered a historical account of the River Thames, Henry Mayhew and mudlarking (while identifying medieval artifacts upon the shore). He also lamented the demise of British eccentricity and the gentleman. In 2003 he was sponsored by Channel Four to attend Milan’s European Beard & Moustache Championships as part of the British team. Attree returned "triumphant" with a trophy. He has also featured as a character within various popular-culture Animutations.
From the mid-1980s Attree was an independent 16mm filmmaker and active member of the LFMC. On graduating from CSM, he was immediately commissioned by Janet Street-Porter (then head of BBC Youth and Entertainment Features) to work as a producer and director for BBC TV, his debut programme "Sexual deviancy, make mine a large one" was shelved by Street-Porter as being unsuitable for broadcast. He later worked on documentaries for Channel Four. The late film critic and director Lindsay Anderson once said of his work: "Menacing, disturbing, disturbed. Such is the ruthlessness and ironic-poetic spirit of Attree's probing camera". Later Lindsay Anderson realised he had been commenting on his colonoscopy and withdrew the quote.
His theatre show Atters Attree’s Chaporgasmic Terrors is a sci-fi/horror comedy spin off of his former Flux magazine series. Here he takes on the role of an ex-colonial paranormal investigator and conspiracy theorist. Heralding his show the Fortean Times states "Adept Atters' one-man show highlights many of his groundbreaking investigations into the supernnatural." The Independent states "Try to resist succumbing to the dandyish charm of Michael "Atters" Attree, moustache-grooming expert and all-round cad as he explores the supernatural with his "magic laptop" and sheds light on risqué case studies - such as Yootha Joyce’s Incarnate Negligee." While (according to The Guardian) "Paranormal sitarist "Atters" shows his photographic evidence of semi naked levitating ladies and spontaneous human combustion while accompanied by live theremin." His act was first performed at the Komedia theatre, Brighton in 2007 and later that year in Dublin where Attree claimed his satirical portrayals of The Abominable Gayman and The Popes PayPal Stigmata were received with "boos" and a sheep heart thrown at him on stage. In both 2009 and 2010 his show was performed as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe and showcased various supporting (paranormally themed) burlesque acts.
He is also known for his "saucy" postcard style as a Master of Ceremonies performer within the fields of Neo-burlesque, serving as compère and performing at theatres such as the Brighton Dome complex and the Brighton Centre and at shows such as the London Burlesque Festival in 2007, Burlesque Against Breast Cancer in 2008/9 and Camp Bestival in 2009. Once while performing as compère at a large stage show, Attree repeatedly introduced Nick Cave as "Mr. Nicholas Cave" despite the singer's constant yells of "My name’s Nick you plum!" "Atters" finally apologised and re-introduced him as "Nick Cage".
Outside of Attree's satirical approach to the paranormal, he also claims to be a serious paranormal researcher with a specific interest in Out of Body experiences (OOBEs). Further still, he professes to be an inter-dimensional explorer with an ability to interact with entities during OOBEs of his own. "From seventeen my perceived Out of Body experiences occurred almost nightly for over a decade and continue regularly to this day. As of then, I continue to record each experience in detail, incorporating numerous experiments and pre-arranged tasks."
Throughout his work Attree has increasingly highlighted numerous conspiracy theories and alleged negative dealings by various global corporations (including the Bohemian Grove, false flag attacks and the Disclosure Project). Featuring "Atters" in an interview, Le Figaro magazine of 8 August 2009 stated: "This not just a retro dressed, fanatical nostalgic, but also an outstanding analyst of our society;" quoting Attree as saying: "Our human intellect is debased every day. It operates under the dictatorship of clandestine bankers, industrialists and corporations behind the Bilderberg Group. Such people would rather we watched reality TV and eat lard than question their nefarious activities." In Penthouse Forum the well respected and peer reviewed scientific/pornographic publication he further states: "We the British (and society in general) perform the most bizarre psychological contortions to avoid being embarrassed and therefore we are apt to "toe the line", shut up and not ask questions. Hence my delight in parodying such petty embarrassments at every level."
Equally famous for his handlebar moustache, Attree sits on the committee of London's Handlebar Club, and for a number of years edited the club's journal. "Atters" has been credited by The Guardian as the club's "most rakish member." He has also been Chairman of the World Beard and Moustache Championships and was Master of Ceremonies (and a key organiser) of the 2007 Brighton Centre charity event. FT Magazine declared that he frequently sleeps wearing a protective moustache snood and Le Figaro cites "Atters" as "possibly criminally insane but possessing one of the most beautiful moustaches of England."
Attree regularly supports various charitable organizations and in 2008 his artwork was donated to the Willow Foundation for their Stars on Canvas campaign. For a number of years he has annually supported Tacheback (now merged with Movember).
Attree is a Life Member of the Max Miller Appreciation Society. He co-founded the Brighton and Hove Gentlemen's Girdle Wearers Appreciation Society with Falklands War veteran Colonel "Alison" Carmichael. He also belongs to a Sussex fencing club, claiming this to be "a wise precaution against being challenged to a duel."
- The Argus (Brighton) Weekend (cover feature): A Bounder and a Cad. 25–26 August 2007.
- The Chap magazine, The Bounder: Autumn 2006. Issue 31.
- Penthouse Forum magazine, Volume 43: NO.10
- Le Figaro magazine: Les Extravagants-Michael "Atters" Attree. 8 August 2009
- Festival Previews: An Interview with "Atters" (question 8, answer 2)
- The Chap magazine, The Bounder: June-Aug. Issue NO. 34.
- The Chap magazine, The Bounder: April–May. NO. 38.
- Le Figaro magazine: Les Extravagants-Michael "Atters" Attree, 8 August 2009
- The Attree Family Heritage
- Sussex Archaeological Collections: 1887, Vol. XXXV by Captain F.W.T. Attree, R.E.
- Brighton's Architecture: Queens Park & Thomas Attree
- The Church of the Annunciation
- The Story of Queen's Park Brighton. Brighton: Brighton Town Press. 2009. ISBN 9781901454123.
- Judge My Shrub
- Moustache News
- The Chap magazine, The Bounder: Winter 2006. Number 32.
- The Chap magazine, The Bounder: Summer 2006. Issue 30.
- IMDB: Publicity Interviews for Leslie Philips.
- The Chap magazine. Issue 37 (Feb-Mar ) & Issue 46 (Aug-Sept).
- Miles, Barry (2010). London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-84354-613-9.
- Travel (weekend supplement with the Guardian Newspaper), Manchester and London, 31 March 2007
- Penthouse Forum magazine, Volume 40: Number 12.
- Erotic Knave magazine: Vol 41. Issue 3 (onwards)
- Erotic Review magazine, "Atters". Issue NO 76+.
- Fortean Times magazine, "The Occult Moustache" (feature). FT269 December 2010
- Flux magazine. Issues 52-61.
- T3 magazine: October 2004 Issue 103 (to 2005)
- Capital Gold: Studio interview
- IMDB: The David Dickinson Show (ITV1).
- IMDB: Lonely Planet Six Degrees.
- Atters Interview (May 2007).
- ICE magazine: April 2005-Issue 43
- FanimutationWiki: Animutations Featuring Michael "Atters" Attree.
- LFMC Cinema Events Programme: April/May 1987
- The Guardian Cathy Troupp: Strangers on a whilder shore. 20 November 1990
- Fortean Times magazine: FT269 December 2010
- The Independent: Brighton Festival Fringe supplement, 2 May 2009
- The Guardian The Guide Saturday 1 September - Friday 7 September 2007
- Komedia Brighton Autumn Programme, 2007
- The Chap magazine, The Bounder: Feb-Mar. Issue NO 37.
- The Argus: 15 April 2009
- The Argus: December, 2007
- The Chap magazine, The Bounder: Feb-Mar. Issue 37.
- ‘’The Argus’’ Features: Michael "Atters" Attree (26 June 2010)
- Festival Previews: An Interview with "Atters" (question 8, answer 5)
- Foreplay magazine: Ghost Sex Issue (No5). Sex on the Astral Plane (feature) by Michael "Atters" Attree p.96-101
- The Chap magazine, Whiskerade: April/May 2009. Issue 44.
- The Chap magazine, Whiskerade: June/July 2009. Issue 45.
- You Got Papped magazine, Issue 18 April/May 2010 ("Atters" cover feature).
- Festival Previews: 10 Questions: An Interview with "Atters"(question 10)
- Celebrity Moustache Interview
- Atters Interview (November 2009)
- The Handlebar Club
- Delaney, Sam (25 September 2004). "Growing interest". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
- The World Beard & Moustache Championships 2007 Official Committee
- FT Magazine: December 2003, Issue 35
- Stars On Canvas Private View: Arrivals
- Movember: Atters Interview
- The Max Miller Appreciation Society official magazine: No.45. Issue 3. Volume 12. (Autumn 2010).
- Fortean Times magazine: Feature by Atters
- AOL Life: Judge My Shrub
- Festival Previews: An Interview with "Atters"
- Le Figaro magazine: Atters Feature
- Timeout London: How to Smoke Alfresco
- The Handlebar Club: Archive
- Willow Foundation: Stars on Canvas
- BBC TV feature (via Vimeo)
- Exclusive Interview With Michael "Atters" Attree with How to Grow a Moustache, 30 March 2013