Earlier, I found myself thinking about the television of my childhood days – I think this form of nostalgia is an occupational hazard (along with presbyopia) of my advancing years. At least I haven’t started telling complete strangers my age… yet.
In common with, I assume, all generations, I believe the television of my youth was vastly better than that produced in these debased, modern times. Though there are some honourable exceptions, for example, I would heartily recommend Shaun the Sheep (despite the sub-optimal spelling of our hero’s name) to any comers.
Almost everything I know about herbs, I learnt from the Herb Garden – and I have now eaten most of the characters, though have yet to try (Constable) Knapweed (I’m not even sure what you might serve him with – a writ of habeas corpus?). To this day, I tend to sing the relevant song to myself when chopping each herb – though I grow increasingly shaky on the words (but, this is one area in which the internet is a real boon).
Much of my knowledge of society came from the folk of Trumptonshire. I well remember my disappointment on starting my first job – which was in an office above a factory – to discover that at knocking-off time there was no siren and the staff did not dress up in period costume to dance whilst accompanied by the local lord on his “Dutch organ” (which is a lot less dodgy than it sounds).
I would say that Oliver Postgate was (at last partly) responsible for getting me a job. The interest in Norse myth, engendered by the tales of Noggin the Nog, paid off many years later. A talk on Egil’s bones (he of the saga, combative nature and Paget’s disease) as my interview “party” piece won me the job in education from where I was later able to muse about various gerunds to such great comic effect (see previous post) – but you really shouldn’t blame Mr Postgate for that.
But, finally, we come to the main subject for tonight’s symposium. Mary, Mungo and Midge – an animation produced by the makers of Captain Pugwash – tried to convince us of the joys of living atop a tower block with a large dog. I fear it was not wholly successful in this brief, but it did move children’s “drama” away from the boarding school or countryside for the first time. (By the way, for a good laugh – and an indication of how times have changed (or at least, children’s fiction) – I thoroughly recommend the recent Good Show Clarissa on Radio 4. It contains vocabulary that even I have stopped using!).
Many a time I have found myself inside St Mary’s, or more recently, Great St Mary’s (I refer here to churches, there has been no tupping with the canonised deceased, I can assure you – though I suppose it might count as one of the obligatory two miracles were it to happen). St Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow – not bad for a dog! But, even after 40 years, no St Midge – not even a Venerable or Blessed Midge!
The time has come to campaign for poor little old Midge. Our exact tack will depend on whether he was martyred or not – but the first step is a recommendation to the Pope. Thereafter, we are probably looking for miracles performed through Midge’s intercession. It is 40 years since I last saw MM&M, but I do remember he would stand on Mungo’s muzzle and press the buttons on the lift to descend (or ascend) – so perhaps we should be looking for miracles within the works of Messers Otis or Schindler? (Certainly, through the entire TV series, the lift never once failed – which I think would make it unique – and miraculous – in tower-block based TV drama)
Please feel free to report your lift-based miracles here, and let’s get Midge the canonisation he so richly deserves.