If you have been following me on my daily journeys from Peterborough to Spalding for the last 3 weeks or so – please STOP IT or I’ll call the Police!
I’ll rephrase that! HAD you been following me on the trips stated above you might have noticed that from time to time my shoulders sometimes appear to shake.
This is largely down to my “new” car and, specifically, to its in-car entertainment system which enables me to play not only ordinary music CDs but also MP3 CDs. Consequently I can play something like 200 music tracks per CD instead of the 20 or so that a “normal CD” contains. It also means that I can easily get 26 episodes (two whole series) of a 30 minute radio show on one CD as opposed to only 2 – and a complete set of eight and a bit such series’ is what I have been listening to over the last few weeks.
The files that I burned onto these CDs from my computer store have, in fact, been mentioned before in this column here: https://littlealfie.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/ to be precise. As you have no doubt just gone there to look I need waste no more time in confirming that I am, indeed, listening to the complete “groan-a-thon” that was “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again”, the comedy series from the BBC which ran from 1964 until about 1973 and which was almost single-handedly to blame for my own sense of humour.
There is also, incidentally, a single 25th Anniversary show (attended by my good friend in Thailand) which accounts for the “and a bit” that I mentioned earlier but I haven’t got up to that yet.
Once you get past the first two series (which I don’t think had quite got its full steam up comedy-wise) it still gets me alternately roaring with laughter, groaning and, sadly, still able to predict the punch-lines that I had first heard nearly 50 years ago.
There are one or two surprises for me, however. For example, the specific episode that I mentioned in the earlier piece – the one including the send-up of Star Trek – does not appear in any of the series that I have listened to so far. This puts it well outside of my school years, actually in the final full series, and I would have previously bet money that I had shared some of those particular puns with the lads of 5A. Oh well, I suppose that’s just another sign of me moving into the second half of my active existence!
What surprises me about all those shows though (other than the fact that they still make me laugh so hard) is how so many contemporary references in them would be totally meaningless if you played them to a “now” audience. You have to be (as the title of this piece) “of a certain age”.
The prime example of this which inspired me to write this, came in an episode I listened to on the way home today. Let me set the scene of the sketch:
The characters played by Tim Brooke-Taylor and Jo Kendall are honeymooners who are trapped in a Transylvanian castle and are being threatened by Count Dracula’s pet Vampire Rabbit!
Tim cannot make up his mind whether to stab the rabbit with a wooden stake or to run and hide in Dracula’s coffin.
Tim: “What should I do?”
Audience: “Stake the Bunny!” “Hop in the box!”
For THAT to make any sense at all you had not only to be around and watching mainstream telly in the 60s; you also had to know all of the popular catchphrases. And NO I’m not going to explain it to you – if you didn’t get it you’ll be young enough to look it up on that new-fangled Interweb thingy! Or ask your grandparents!
I found it utterly hilarious though.
Oh, and that example was a very typical one of the type of humour we are talking about here.
Be careful how you use it – you might turn out like me!