Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 28/07/2012

When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob Bobbin’ Along*


I think we, the UK that is, has missed an opportunity with the Olympic Games, a thought that struck me prior to the Opening Ceremony, a thought which seemed to be validated by the spectacle last night. The whimsical idea struck me when I saw two preserved locomotives pass by on the nearby main line, one a steam engine, the other a preserved diesel engine. If we’d been canny we should have ensured that all preserved locomotives were in pristine working condition and had those pulling any train that were running in the UK, ones where tourists visiting these shores might use. Couple this, then, with everyone in the UK dressing in period costume, I had thought large sideburns, frock coats and tall top hats (even before I’d seen the ceremony’s representation of the Industrialist (Isambard Kingdom Brunel in particular)) so that everyone thought that’s how we dressed normally. Of course, with the aim to entice tourists back to this sceptred isle we would have to dress like this all the time!

I do like the unexpected, I think I’ve mentioned that before; I had to take the family car to have new tyres fitted late friday afternoon. Apparently this is the busiest time for tyre firms, as most people remember they need to get it done as they go into the weekend. Remember that next time you need new tyres, Dear Reader, and you will save yourself a considerable wait (here speaks the voice of experience!). There were a number of people waiting at the particular establishment I go to when I need new tyres, the atmosphere was convivial with much good humoured banter flying about. One client was having a puncture repaired, and asked whether he needed to take specific care when using it as he was going to be driving to Margate on the Saturday. The chap in question was in his mid to late 50s, and so when asked “why Margate” I was incredibly surprised by his reply – he was going to an all day festival featuring the type of bands that I like. The last thing I thought I would be discussing whilst have my car seen to were Indie bands from the early 90s!

Whilst I’m talking music, another thought struck me whilst watching the opening… opening ceremony. I was particularly taken by Frank Turner, who I’ve seen play live before but not really taken that much notice of (if that’s possible at the type of volumes these bands play at!), and whilst he played I was trying to think who he reminded me of… of course, one man.. a guitar… and a socio-political conscience.. it can only be Billy Bragg. Now I know Mr Bragg is very much a marmite artist, in the same way The Smiths are… you love him or you loathe him. I can take or leave his politics, though most of his songs are less “I hate the Tories” and more “every man is equal”, it was this latter facet that remind me of Mr Turner – I’ll have search for some of his songs on Youtube and then I might even purchase some of his music.

* I know, I know.. it’s actually an African Pied Wagtail.. but it does bob… more than a Robin does.

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