Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jimmy Edwards Frankie Howerd Kenneth Williiams

Having decried the situation in Africa with particular reference to South Africa, what is it like today in a civilised country like Britain? Some years before we moved to Crete fifteen years ago England was becoming a country uncomfortable to live in with the social fabric in some parts disintegrating alarmingly, not just because of a worrying rise in crime, in particular violent crime, sometimes involving knife or gun, part of the problem being a feral undisciplined younger generation without fear of any consequence in response to their behaviour. To be a school teacher is to take your life in your hands not that that is anything exactly new (Blackboard Jungle?) but it would appear the situation has got worse and worse. I remember standing at a pedestrian crossing in Manchester when a young boy beside me was about to step out in front of a car that obviously was not going to stop and I warned him to which his response was ‘Why don’t you fuck off?’ To which I would have liked to have said, ‘Why don’t you drop dead and make the world a better place?’ instead of which I bit my tongue.
The riots last year were an inevitable result of the way things have been going as the malcontents get younger and younger. Recently we heard a story that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. A well-known and popular television entertainer was unfortunately, due to rather bizarre circumstances, outed as being gay and from then on his life both personal and professional started to completely unravel. Now, as far as their entertainers are concerned, the strange thing about the British is that they will happily accept someone obviously as camp as a row of tents who make no bones about it: Julian Cleary for example, Paul O’Grady, Larry Grayson, but god help you if your private life remains private until the great unwashed discover your true nature: Jimmy Edwards, Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams and many more. Anyway the story is about this particular one time popular entertainer who, practically at rock bottom, was offered a pantomime which he took. Now I don’t know how au fait you are with the traditions of English pantomime but, in case you are not, there is a spot in the show when a song sheet is lowered and the audience is invited to join in. Also during this interlude half a dozen young children are invited to go up on stage where they are asked their names, ages and if they married (wink wink nudge nudge - audience laughter) etcetera. There is always an ‘Ah!’ factor, that is a very young child usually shy and who, when the sweeties are handed out at the end, there is a moment of pretence that there are none left though eventually of course, before the tears start, he or she gets a lion’s share of whatever’s going. At one performance a young boy having given his name went on to say, “If you touch my prick I’ll tell my dad and he’ll kill you.”  Use your imagination. We were not told the outcome of this story; instant public humiliation at the foul tongue of an infant.  

To be continued.

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