Sunday, 11 March 2012

Four Candles

by Kevin Baskin

This will be the shortest entry in the dead good blog, you'll be pleased to know. Already I feel very much out of my league, but here goes...

Before I loved poetry, I loved comedy. I'm a 70's reject and most proud of that. I was brought up on a healthy (or unhealthy, as the case may be) diet of The Two Ronnies, Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em, Benny Hill and so on, and so forth. It was, I believe, the golden age of comedy, before the do gooding b*****ds took them all off in order not to offend the minority groups... Good job guys, look where we are now.

But back to the point...

So humour is most important to me, and yes I do laugh at myself. If I don't, then who will? Sadly, most of my heroes are either dead or contemplating it. I still howl at the four candles sketch,the insurance against being Jewish, the Japanese man at the immigration desk that Benny did so well - 'You Iriot, why you not rissening'? - and of course the Germans at a certain hotel. Stan Laurel was an expert in this field. I love them all dearly.

So when I write it's only natural that I'll lean to them for guidance. My son inspires me greatly. When I write I don't think about DGPS, sorry guys, I think about my son,and what he'll like. My work has to reach him and tickle his funny bone. So I often find the shorter the better suits me more. I refer a lot to the dictionary looking for double meanings, similar sounding words etc.

I remember as a youngster being knocked down by 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' at first school (sadly we didn't have the blame and claim culture then, as we do now), and all that afternoon I recited it with almost pure joy. The seed was sown, though for another twenty five years it lay dormant. And as much as I love funny poetry, I love scary poetry that little bit more.

Well, that's my entry done (Ohh, Matron!). Thanks for reading - you can stop grinding your teeth now.

'You asked for four candles'.
'No...'Andles for forks!'

Rest in peace, Sir Ronnie...

Nightlife of a Vampire
Kevin Baskin

I am the dreaded vampire
I'm always having fun-
Though it's been at least two hundred years
Since I last saw the sun.
I'm always out at nightclubs,
I'm such a party beast.
On Saturday's I'm spoilt for choice,
There's such a lovely feast.
But once in every full blue moon
I'll have a little break.
I'll go into a restaurant
And order chips, but NOT the steak!



Ashley R Lister said...

Morning Kevin,

Thanks for joining us here on the blog this week. You make some excellent points and I love the poem with which you conclude.

But I'd argue about the do-gooding bastards.

Freud pointed out that humour is divided into two categories - the innocent and tendentious. Innocent humour is innocuous but the tendentious usually has a kernel of cruelty at its centre, most commonly associated with the labelling of characteristics in stereotypes.

Preoccupation with (and pejorative use of) these stereotypes can be perceived as insulting to minority groups. Although I'm no believer in censorship, I do think that society needs restrictions to limit the acceptability of such insults because we have an obligation to protect and defend each other.

But The Ronnies never struck me as being insulting to minority groups - Ronnie Barker's material was used on the linguistic module when I studied my degree.

Personally I thought Some Mothers Do Av Em was as funny as testicular cancer, but I adored the sexism in Benny Hill.

An excellent and thought-provoking post.

Thank you,


vicky ellis said...

It strikes me how, much like the advent of sexual content in the media following the Victorian era, someone like Frankie Boyle is able to stand out by being incredibly rude to many groups following a period of politically correct realignment.

The backlash against his brand of 'mean' comedy is a further sign, I think, of what Ashley points out - society restricting what is acceptable. I think the balance is correct. Someone like Roy Chubby Brown can continue to perform (and he's still incredibly popular) for those who enjoy his brand of comedy, however the majority verdict is that his style of humour isn't something most of us want to be associated with. That, unlike the system by which we 'elect' our government, is democracy. Sure, the content is decided by a middle-class body, ie BBC Commissioners, but the public has a huge capacity to determine what is presented on television. A myriad of complaints will often lead to a re-evaluation of content. While sometimes this angers me, as I often don't agree with the majority and feel that they are unduly swayed by certain elements of the media, ie certain tabloid newspapers, I can't help but feel that this reflects a positive aspect of our society.

Finally. Ashley. You adored the sexism in Benny Hill? Tits before wits eh?

Thanks for joining us Kevin. It's great to have something meaty to chew over on a Sunday :)

Ashley R Lister said...


One of my favourite Benny Hill moments was a scene where a busty lady wore a name badge.

The name badge said PAT. It was displayed over her left breast.

Benny Hill's character walked past, and it was obvious he itched to follow the instruction of the badge.

Is that sort of humour sexist? Or is that the sort of verbal punning that has been pissing people off with the theme for this week's blog?

Either way, I have to admit I found it hilarious. I am easily pleased.


Shaun said...

Kevin, great post.
I admire your commitment to your son and your own style rather than for the DGPS. I don't think anyone would want to be writing solely for the DGPS meetings (I like to think of them as deadlines with prompts ;p). Don't be changing that- you'll knock all the fun out of it!
As for what Ash and Vicky were saying- I think the best example of people power forcing the media hand was the 6music campaign not so long back. Listeners signed up in their droves to the campaign and forced the BBC to reverse the closure- a great thing for those who like a bit more thinking in their current music!
I love a bit of dirty though, I must admit. Call it racist, call it sexist, call it what you like. If you're thinking that hard about it being offensive, you are maybe in the wrong place.