Sunday, 11 November 2007

No Really, Who IS this Clown?

I’d have mentioned this even if I wasn’t namechecked in it, honest, but Talk About the Passion is a podcast about fandom wherein rubber-limbed former Play School presenter Ben Baker interviews a worshipper of a different area of pop ephemera every single day. If you would like to join in at home you’ll need a candle, some bread, and the 1973 Trumpton annual with you.

Today’s guest is TJ Worthington, the subject is Watch with Mother, and the rest writes itself. One of the points raised was the indefinable scariness of the clown who appeared at the end of Camberwick Green, operating the credit roller. It’s usually agreed by scholars that this terror is down to a mixture of our natural fear of clowns, the slow, deliberate movements of this particular one, and that crashing discord at the end.

But there are a few other horrifying things about this scene. Here’s a summary of the latest research.

Well, we’re not given any clues, are we? That snazzy purple and brown striped wallpaper aside, our poor friend seems to be in limbo, vis-à-vis the geography of the ‘Green. This leads inevitably to point 3).

Well, we do have other clues, but they just make things more worrying. There’s a lute in front of him. Now this must mean a) he’s tapping into the Fairport Convention market; b) He’s Sting; c) He’s fallen through time from the 16th century like some kind of Catweazle-esque children’s-programme-within-a-children’s-programme; or d) Camberwick Green itself takes place in the 16th century, and not modern times like you thought! Ha! Fooled you all along! (Copyright M Night Shyamalan.)

If we take the most rational explanation – ie that he’s the Catweazle of Trumpton – then we must unhappily conclude that the poor sod, fresh out of his own era and maybe a little groggy, has been kidnapped and forced to do toil in the credit dungeon for the term of his natural life. PC McGarry (number 452) is on a Madeline-style quest to find the fellow (Codename ‘lost dog’). When he first arrived in Camberwick (quite an event in itself for a village visited most days by nobody whatsoever) he enchanted all around with his eccentrically medieval ways and delightful ballads detailing his aliases in various European countries. That stripy wallpaper leads to Jonathan Bell being the most likely culprit, luring this temporal immigrant to his go-ahead farm with the promise of easy labour and plentiful beer and wenches, then sending the hapless bloke down below for lifetime of slavery. A Masonic handshake at the farm gates keeps PC McGarry away – but for how long? Paddy and Mary Murphy investigate! Etc.


ben said...

Hooray! Bless you for the promotion, sir. Im a keen follower of this blog as is and was really rather chuffed to see the link this morning.

Keep liking them old things best!

FeedbackReport said...

You're clearly approaching this from the wrong angle - judging from all available evidence, the puzzling credit-scroller hails not from the past but from the future.

Consider, if you will, the fact that he's to all intents and purposes dressed as David Bowie in the video for Ashes To Ashes. On top of that, lutes were waved around very liberally in such early eighties pop video epics as Men Without Hats' 'The Safety Dance', and Julian Cope has often spoken of how he liberally borrowed elements of the Camberwick Green theme for 'Passionate Friend'.

Therefore I put it to you that the peculiar decor actually adorns the Camberwick equivalent of the Blitz Club. Much to the dismay of Mr Dagenham The Salesman, who'd only just got tickets to see The Yardbirds at The Crawdaddy and was hoping for a nice beachfront punchup along the way.

Um... is the candle and bread in reference to ??