It occurred to me today, about two weeks after being informed of his demise, that I had met Ernie Bourne when I was a child, at a party, I knew him then as Fester Fumble from Adventure Island (well probably I knew the difference between a character and an actor, maybe). It must have been quite a formative influence to me, that you could meet celebrities, I met Daryl Somers when I was about 7 years old, he shook my hand, I was a fan already before that time, he was doing some kind of appearance at something I don’t remember what and a friend of my mother’s – maybe a work colleague? – had to pick him up and take me there so she took me along, I sat in the back seat. I mean admittedly I would probably have been as thrilled if it were Skeeter or Marty or Marilyn or Fred Bear, who I think I once saw in person too, though that could be false memory syndrome. I recall Daryl telling the assembled crowd that Ossie Ostrich couldn’t be there as he had his head in the sand. That’s all I remember. I hadn’t thought of that for decades. The Ernie Bourne thing, to get back to that, was a party with my parents, and the other thing I recall about that party, really the only thing, is that their friend Georgie was there and someone joked, and I believed it, that the Seekers’ song ‘Georgie Girl’ was about her. I mean I suppose my reasoning would have been, if you are at a party with Fester Fumble, then you might well be there with the woman about whom the song ‘Georgie Girl’ was written. It’s true.
My next brushes with fame were – well, I had a friend my age whose older brother had appeared as a character in a series of children’s books – I wrote a letter to the Akta-Vite magazine about television programming – I saw Zig and Zag live. Now I recall I also saw Uncle Norman and Joffa Boy do an instore, it wasn’t at Waterfront. I think it was at McEwans, is that possible? My grandmother took me but she may not remember either. Additionally I am not entirely certain what McEwans is or was. For some reason the words Uncle, Norman, Joffa, Boy, Mc and Ewans all fit together for me in a special tag cloud. I am pretty certain that although this was Uncle Norman and Joffa Boy, indisputably, they were long past their time as hosts of the celebrated and important Tarax Show, though when you’re a child of 4 or 5 or 6 or whatever I was, a long period could be a week or a year I daresay, depending on your mood. It couldn’t, on reflection, have been that long because I certainly wanted to see them and so did many others. On reflection, how bizarre that two old men without appropriate child psychology qualifications would be considered appropriate children’s show hosts, although I now know Joff was a genuine television stalwart and a respected comedian (and similarly how amazing that you could call a character on a children’s television show Fester Fumble without someone making instant connections to self-hating gaydom). Speaking of Normans though, when we were in the UK in the mid-70s Norman Hunter took a coin out of my ear and… I can’t recall what else happened… met Roald Dahl at some kind of instore… I think I went to school with Bono*… we were going to see The Goodies in a live appearance but they cancelled, I think Graeme had his head in the sand. I was an attendee at the Dr Who fanfest at Longleat, were you there? But there were no celebs, unless you count Daleks. I daresay people now write sentimental long essays about those early Dr Whofests. I don’t think I want to read them, too evocative and sentimental. I am really racking my brain for more celebs, as I know that is primarily your interest, if it’s not werry porn, and I know celebs are a hot topic for me then as now. Nancy Cato off Adventure Island (who also edited the Akta-Vite magazine, this is getting a bit bizarre now isn’t it, as is the fact that there was an Akta-Vite magazine and that I apparently subscribed to it. Actually that is making me chuckle because I just realised how stupid that is) lived round the corner from my grandmother, serious. How bizarre. I went to her house and couldn’t stop laughing, not about Akta-Vite, I don’t know what about. Anyway how did I forget that additional Adventure Island connection when I was talking about Ernie Bourne above.
Also once when I was 12 or so I got shown round channel two and saw the actual clock that sat inside a camera and was the clock that the tv screen would routinely snap to on channel two in the seconds before the news or similar. It was a bit shabby! Around the same time I was in Carlton and I saw Mick Conway in Johnny’s Green Room, that was a blast. But that’s getting more into adult-world celebrity isn’t it and less of a surprise and less of an event. Still, if only I’d kept a diary. Who can I sue for not inventing blogs thirty years earlier?
I suppose it is time to muse on celebrity and its value or lack of, but who cares. We all know what it’s about.
* The only lie in today’s gallery of memories.
By the way, there is a nice four minute thing here which will mean little to anyone who wasn't a viewer of the original and obviously I was very young because it barely means much to me. I loved the viewer comment: 'I was very priviliged to be a child in this era.Sadly a time which is long gone and probably never will return.' I mean I loved the 'probably' bit. Live in hope.