I sat down to write something the day after beloved and respected British comedian Ronnie Corbett passed away.
I had been enjoying the Easter holidays with my kids, having one of those leisurely days where they played, listened to music and we made casual plans to do something in the gorgeous Maltese sunshine. Then, 24/7 blogger and all that, I checked my social media and noticed a friend had shared an iconic TV sketch from my childhood: the Two Ronnies Fork Handles and a sad face. No words. Just that emoji.
And I knew.
The wave of utter sadness that descended on me was not unlike the one I’d experienced when a close family friend passed away years ago. I was bereft. He was the kindest gentlest of men for whom I felt enormous respect. I always felt Ronnie Corbett was like him. It is difficult to explain to anyone who did not grow up watching him, what an absolute legend this entertainer was. Physically on the short side he may have been. A giant of comedy he most definitely was.
The Two Ronnies were, like Morecambe and Wise, a stable fixture of British comedy programming in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They were part of the fabric of my family’s Saturday nights; my father would come home from the shop and The Two Ronnies would entertain us after our evening meal. The Phantom Raspberry Blower, the spoof Mastermind sketches…good grief, the hernias I nearly had laughing!
I was reliving those memories when Musical M said ‘Mummy what’s wrong?’ upon hearing my pained ‘Oh No’.
Mid flipping pancakes and getting arts and crafts supplies out, it had turned into the saddest of days. Yes he had had a ‘good innings’ as they say. But that never helps does it? As soon as pancakes were scoffed, before I even tackled the bombsite aka my kitchen, I sat down with the kids to show them that TV sketch that I had first watched when I was younger than two of my kids are now… I can’t help hope that Mr C was somewhere above us watching my kids howl with laughter watching him and Mr B. Just think, forty years after that sketch was filmed, a new generation is enjoying it.
I tried to write about it, I couldn’t find the words. Other blog posts and projects then required my attention. I put the post on hold promising myself I’d come back to it.
A few days ago, after picking my babies up from school, I took them to our local beach cafe; we sipped drinks, played ball on the sand and enjoyed the sight and sound of the stupendous teal sea and white foamy waves crashing against the rocks after school. We came home and I quickly checked my computer before making a start on dinner. I stared in disbelief at the BBC ‘breaking news’ headline about the death of Victoria Wood, again an icon of British comedy. Once again Musical M watched my face fall, my beach buzz replaced by shock and glassy eyes as I tried to explain the magnitude of this further loss. Victoria Wood was the first stand up comedienne I was aware of. I remember admiring this ridiculously funny intelligent woman hurling out jokes at a rate of 60mph in a heavily male-dominated profession. She was a role model for so many women wanting to make their way in the entertainment industry and was quite simply larger than life.
The next day, I took the kids to the beach after school again.
The intention was to play ball again but we found ourselves watching the crazy waves and the surfers instead, as the sea was covering half the beach making it impossible to play. After another lovely afternoon, the same thing: we went home, I checked my social media and again BBC News greeted me…this time announcing the death of Prince.
It was like a sick joke. Two days in a row, the exact same scenario. I genuinely thought it was a hoax.
I resolved to dust off that blog post I’d attempted and write something after all. I also resolved not to take the kids to the beach the next day. (Sorry, writing this is making me said and I needed some light relief so please excuse the dark humour.) So I sit writing it.
I have to confess, I considered calling the post “Just What the Actual Eff?!”
The numerous deaths this year of so many greats….it’s too much. David Bowie the impact of whose death I also wrote about, Terry Wogan (not an international megastar but a much loved highly respected icon of British broadcasting and entertainment), Alan Rickman, a humble non ‘celebrity-like’ theatre and film actor…the list goes on.
A friend of mine has a theory about why all these deaths have hit us so hard. He compared it to the late 70’s when so many greats of TV and film died in the space of a few years: John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Richard Burton, Rock Hudson, Peter Sellers, Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper. My friend realised that the deaths of those silver screen idols must have impacted our parents in the same way these recent deaths have affected my generation and that perhaps it is because our parents were in fact not far off the age that my is generation now. These were the personnages from their childhood. Just like Corbett, Wood, Prince etc are the people from my childhood/youth. My generation is becoming so much more aware of its own mortality, just like my parents must have done then.
Each time another death is reported, it’s like a piece of my childhood goes with it.
The childhood where we welcomed these people into our homes via the small screen. They were part of the backdrop to our lives: favourite films, famous TV sketches, cherished hit songs…these form part of our memory bank as we grow up. In my case, the death of Wogan was most definitely linked to this. I met Terry Wogan when I was seven years-old. He was promoting a product at one of the Cash and Carry wholesalers where my parents used to buy the stock for their supermarket. It seems strange now that he was there doing that actually. Long story short, my parents and I excitedly spotted him, I posed for a photo with him and he asked me to do my best open smile at which point I promptly burst into tears because I had just recently lost a tooth and looked like Goofy. No big harm done. I watched him whenever he presented anything on TV and was a huge fan of his 1980’s talk show and of course Blankety Blank!
And then there is the man…Prince, the Artist Formerly Known As, the Tiny Yet Huge Rock Star, His Royal Purpleness etc etc.
What do I say? So much to say. So very many memories of his songs, fabulous memories. Being addicted to Take Me With You, dancing my bits off to Kiss in a French nightclub, hearing 1999 over and over midnight December 31st 1998, mesmerised by the unique sound of When Doves Cry, cracking up with laughter when a Radio 1 DJ did a series called Twisted Lyrics and hearing the hilarious version of Purple Rain’s lyrics, doing the walk of shame down Camden High Road with Lovesexy playing in my ears on my walkman and possibly best of all…strutting round my tiny Paris apartment with my sisters pouting and posing to the stonkingly sexy Cream.
Legend. Pure and simple.
Legends…all of them. From Bowie to Rickman to Wogan to Corbett to Wood to Prince and all the ones I’ve not mentioned in between.
And if any of you legends are looking down, able to read this, may I just say I had not realised the extent to which you inspired me…until you were gone. The films that have a place in my heart, the songs that are the soundtrack to my life, the TV shows that were like my best pals when my friends were all going out and I had to stay home with only you for company, the comedians that nearly gave me a broken rib from laughing, Thank you so very much for all of it.
I just have one small request.
If I ever join you in Heaven or where ever you are, please could you arrange for a front row seat? I intend to carry on watching and listening to you forever.
If you enjoyed this please consider voting for me to win the Best Writer award at this year’s Mum and Dad Blogger Awards and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards.
IT’S SUPER EASY AND TAKES SECONDS! Just click on either/each (depending on how kind you’re feeling ha ha) and then simply:
1) pop in your name 2) scroll to Best Writer. 3) Select Absolutely Prabulous from the drop down box. 4) Click on submit. You’re done. Thank you!
I think I’ve just managed to get my breath back from laughing at last week’s #OopsFile. There were a LOT of “OMG” reactions from erm, everyone. This week it’s time to give a round of applause to none other than Anxious Dragon Tracey. Bloggin’ love her to bits but after reading her submission will forever struggle not to call her Pink hippo in jest!
Hello readers. Just the other day the fabulous Prabs tweeted about brand new guest post series she was starting. The #OopsFiles, a place where bloggers come to confess things that until now have been left in the deep dark recesses of their closets along with those tye died flairs and puffball skirts!
I could not resist taking part in something that is obviously going to be hugely popular (who doesn’t enjoy reading about other peoples Oops moments), but what should I put in my big confession? I thought about this long and hard about what I should write.
Should I go for an all out proper confession such as telling you about the time I was 18 and broke the law by drink driving (I was so drunk I actually believed it was actually safer for me to drive than my equally drunk friend, even though I don’t even hold a driving licence. Luckily it was only half a mile down a quiet country road, and I’m not proud of it). Or possibly I could try for the humorous approach and spill the beans about some of my disastrous bedroom liaisons. (no your not getting any more details about that!!)
But no, I have decided that for my embarrassing Oops File confession, I need to go much further back in time than that. I need to revisit to my childhood.
I was a drippy child. No two ways about it, I didn’t have the common sense that god gave an ant. How anybody as clever, witty and charming as myself developed from that child is a mystery. You don’t believe me do you? Well lets look at this piece of evidence, the school photo. Taken when I was 5 (I think) with my brother S. Just look at that collar, and we won’t even mention the smile.
Some of the oops incidents that happened to me as a child can be put down to my (then unknown) hearing problems. This gave me the air of someone who way a daydreamer, someone who didn’t listen in class (because duh, I couldn’t hear them ) and subsequently caused a fair few problems for me and the teachers at primary school.
On one occasion I managed to get lost at London Zoo because I didn’t hear where our teacher said we were suppose to meet up. On another I managed to almost drown in the school pool because I didn’t hear the teacher say not to get in until she was ready (to be fair what sort of teacher leaves a group of 5 yr old unattended by a swimming pool??).
However there are other oops moments for which I have no excuses other than I really was being a bit of an airhead. When I was 4 we went to the seaside. If you have ever been to the beaches along the Kent coast you will know many of them are pebbles with wooden pilings every so often. Mum warned us not to get too close to the pilings as the puddles of water around the ends of them could be deep. I heard her. I understood. I forgot her words completely as I went exploring the beach. Luckily she saw me disappear down the sea filled hole deeper than me and managed to fish me out of the water (after she stopped laughing apparently) without too much harm done.
Then there was the time I decided I wasn’t going high enough on the swing in my Nan’s garden so let go of the chains so I could push myself higher and not surprisingly fell off the swing flat on my back. Another time I spent the afternoon watching dad fix a barbed wire fence around the garden (we lived on a farm) only to run straight into the fence an hour later (only my pride was hurt).
I could give you plenty more Oops moments, but I think you are getting the picture by now. My mum has always said that me and my brother we like Zippy and George from Rainbow (me being the pink hippo).
Zippy and George via photopin (license)
Luckily by the time I got to middle school at the age of 9, I had for the most part grown out of this drippy behaviour. I don’t remember many of the incidents (with the exception of the Zoo and swimming pool incidents) and only know about them via the stories my parents sometimes tell us (usually called ‘What Tracey Did when…..’ ).
So there is my confession, this super cool dragon was once a not so cool little girl. I fear dear reader that you may have reached the end of this post and be thinking these are not the most dramatic oops stories in the world. However when you think about it you will see that I’ve been able to finish this post with my dignity largely intact and you’ve got to see ‘that’ schools picture, so all in all everyone has come away as a winner.
Thank you Prabs for allowing me to confess here in the OopsFiles and thank you for reading,
Tracey AKA The Anxious Dragon
I’m Tracey. A 40 something tattooed lady. I live with my husband and my cat in The Forest of Dean. I write about my thoughts on life, the news, places I’ve been and things I’ve seen. And I love dragons.
Follow Tracey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and her website theanxiousdragonblog.com
If you’d you like to take part in the #OopsFiles Guest Post series click here for details
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I’m honoured to have been tagged by two of my newest blogger friends – Tayla of Motherhood The Real Deal who is super funny and the lovely Laura of Life With Baby Kicks (who listens to me moan about blog tech glitches on an alarmingly regular basis and who I’m dragging out for a Mojito-fest when we meet one day ‘outside’ of the blog) – in the wonderful “I’m a Mum Who” series. I’ve been really enjoying reading the at-a-glance descriptions of various bloggers regarding their parenting experiences and themselves. It’s wonderful finding out more about them.
So here is mine.
Could write a book called ‘Being The Not Now Mummy’. #TooBusyForYourKidsIsTheWrongBusy
Is rubbish at crafts. Cannot. Will. Not. Do. crafts. But finally learned to bake aged 38 and has made all her kids’ birthday cakes since the eldest was 3 (and yes you’ll have to work out my current age yourself) #NotBraggingJustSayinWeDoWhatWeCanDo
Is never happier than when she’s snuggled up for weekend movie night with her babies…or sipping a Rosé by the beach while they play. #HappyMemories
Is hellbent on raising healthy eaters but will never deprive her kids of home made chocolate cake dammit! #LovinFromTheOven
Finally understood so much of what her parents had said/done raising her the very minute her firstborn was handed to her in hospital. #ThatsWhyOurParentsWantGrandchildren
Somehow conceived all her kids on the first try after the age of 35 but who has known the heartache of miscarriage. #MixedBlessings
Literally hates it in a toe-curling stomach-churning tear-inducing way when her hubby yells at the kids but then yells at them herself a few minutes later #ParentingTruths
Conquered her lifelong crippling fear of water to jump into a pool aged 39 knowing there was no other option after her 4yo said “Go on mummy you must”. #AboutTimeToo
Was never an outdoors gal but has got into hiking with her equally “can we just stay home Mama?” kids. #GetOffTheSofaNOW
Is a super strict parent yet still receives compliments, hugs and “you’re amazing mummy” praise from her children #GoFigureAgain
Misses that golden time of the ‘afternoon sit down’ with a cuppa, Murder She Wrote on TV and a cheeky sleep while the kids had their nap. #ThoseWereTheDaysMyFriend
Has found her identity again and ‘met’ awesome talented people through blogging but is so busy running a blog about being a mother that she hardly has time to be a mother! #BlogMammaBlog?
Loves Sunday mornings, pottering about, baking to the soundtrack of kids playing and listening to chillout/retro 70’s/old soul tunes. #EasyLikeSundayMorning
Didn’t leave the suburbs of London from 1975 to 1988 but now has the crazy privilege of stopping off on the way home from school to go to her local beach #LifeHasPlentyOfSurprises
Nags her eldest on a weekly basis to tidy her room yet hasn’t sorted this out since January. #Hyprocrisy
Clowns around and loves laughing with friends but has never been the ‘fun mum’ with her own kids. #SortThatOut
Tries to undo some of the mental conditioning of a very Indian upbringing swearing blind she wouldn’t turn into her parents. But…guess what…yep. #FacePalm
Honestly doesn’t know what she did in her past life to deserve three little monkeys like this #WhenYourHeartBursts
Gets it wrong each day but still has kids who know they are loved. #MummyDoesntTryEnoughButSheTries
I now tag:
Yes Peas Mumma
Coffee Kids Ice Cream
The Holly Hockdoor
and a dad:
Dad Blog UK
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