Art/history: Why is it that some of the most amusing people seem to have such an acute & abiding sadness? This revolutionary comedian, writer, musician & poet suffered bipolar disorder that once all but crippled him for over a year. Still, he persisted & was a major influence even on some of today’s most successful British comedians & comedy shows. Without him, the world may never have known Monty Python. Now, that wouldn’t do. Spike Milligan was a genius with boundless empathy. A stalwart vegetarian, he spoke out against vivisection & hunting. He also kept company with the likes of Peter Sellers & George Martin. Paul McCartney was his neighbour & used to borrow Spike’s grand piano. Born in 1918, Spike Milligan died in 2002. His headstone reads ‘I told you I was ill’.