Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ooh, Matron!

It's been a good few days, and I'm ready to post again. I was ready before, but other things have been occupying my time (like the car not starting) so for that, I apologise. Notice the usage of the English -ise there rather than the American English -ize. I have to try hard and really focus these days to emphasise my Englishness. Sorry. I digress. But as you well know, digressing is one of my strong points. As is rambling like a twit.

On to the main focus of today's instalment. That's instalment with only one 'l' rather than two, which is a complete waste of a perfectly good 'l', in my opinion.

I've had this germ of an idea for a while about hero worship. We humans all have a need at some level to worship or idolize someone or something that is better, cooler, smarter than ourselves, or at least something to look up to in some respect, whether it be rock stars, comic book heroes, actors, authors, God, football coaches, whatever...

What I want to do is an occasional post about who MY personal heroes are, people who have meant a lot to me in my development and helped to define me. So it is with great pleasure I present to you the first instalment of...


So the question is: how did I become me? Who are the people, places and things that made me what I am today? Etc., etc., blah-blah-blah. Well, we will have to think on this for a bit.

OK. Thinking done.

Let's start with one of my most noticeable qualities, my sense of humour. It all starts with my family.
My mother and father are funny people. Both blessed with good senses of humour, they had a liking for some of the greats, and so I was exposed to these from an early age. Brilliant comedians such as Anthony Aloysius Hancock, for example.

The Lad Himself.

Tony Hancock had a radio show in the '50s and later, a TV show based on the radio scripts in the '60s. My mother owned an LP of two of the radio shows "The Wild Man Of The Woods" (her favourite) in which Tony decides he's had enough of modern life and will become a hermit. "I shall journey to the Himalayas!", he proclaims. "Find a lonely peak - a blunt one - and sit on it for a few years!"

The other side of the LP had my favorite, "A Sunday Afternoon At Home." in which Tony and all the gang are bored to tears, having nothing to do and nowhere to go, on a Sunday (which, for the non-Brits among you, is boring because all the shops and pubs were closed). He had me in stitches with his bits about filling in all the O's and the P's and the D's in the newspaper, and the staring at the wall..."D'you know, if you look at that wallpaper long enough, you can see faces in it."

Sadly, Tony had a series of failures in the latter part of the '60s, and took his own life in 1968. In the words of Spike Milligan, another great comic, "Very difficult man to get on with. He used to drink excessively. You felt sorry for him. He ended up on his own. I thought, he's got rid of everybody else, he's going to get rid of himself. And he did."

In my house we always watched great sitcoms and comedy shows. Several in particular were: The Two Ronnies, which I have mentioned in a previous post, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, a comedy about the adventures of a Royal Artillery Concert Party in India towards the end of World War II ("Deolali, 1945"),

The Morecambe and Wise Show,
which was at times sheer genius,

and the misadventures of a hopeless twit named Frank Spencer (played by Michael Crawford - yes, that Michael Crawford) in the sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. Every TV impressionist worth his salt had his Frank Spencer impression. That was part of the reason Lenny Henry became famous. A teenage black kid on a TV talent show (New Faces) doing Frank Spencer?! Surely not. But he did, and did it hilariously.

Oh, and don't forget Monty Python's Flying Circus!
My Grandad Len (another great natural comedian) shared my fondness for Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, Droopy, Barney Bear and The Pink Panther Show, among others, but we seemed to be the only ones in our family to appreciate M*A*S*H, Last Of The Summer Wine, and a great movie entitled It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

He and I were also fond of Jacques Tati's bumbling idiot Monsieur Hulot, a kind of precursor to Mr. Bean, in M. Hulot's Holiday.

I also remember a well-made short movie with a lot of British comic acting talent in it entitled The Plank. If anyone ever asks you to define British humour, this is the one movie you should show them.

And, lest we forget - the Carry On series of films. These were a series of 29 films made between 1958 and 1978 at Pinewood Studios, usually starring the same basic ensemble cast - such notables as Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques, Peter Butterworth, Barbara Windsor and Jim Dale, with some great guest spots from Frankie Howerd, Lance Percival, Jack Douglas, Patsy Rowlands, Terry Scott, Jon Pertwee and even Phil Silvers in Carry On - Follow That Camel. The films usually spoofed the great British institutions such as the military (Carry On Sergeant), the Health Service (Carry On Doctor, Carry On Nurse etc.), the Empire (Carry On Up The Khyber) as well as movie genres (Carry On Screaming, Carry On Cowboy), and were all filled with saucy-postcard ribald humour. Here's a pic of Jim Dale as Dr. Nookey, accompanied by a nearly naked Babs Windsor and a stern Hattie Jacques as Matron in a scene from Carry On Again Doctor.

Well, that's me in a nutshell. Saucy humour.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Complaints, comments, questions, concerns, missing or broken links, etc?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...