Bottoms Down: Sad Passing of a Comedy Legend

We interrupt this lack of blogs to mention how sad the news that comedy legend Rik Mayall has died. The man who had me laughing so much as the amazingly arrogant Lord Flashheart in Blackadder, the sniggeringly annoying to grown-ups Fred in Drop Dead Fred and as one half of the best losers on telly, Richie Richard in Bottom, “and it’s another brussel sprout!”

My dad once entered a lookalike competition at a Warners Holiday Camp as Rik’s character, Rik, in The Young Ones, and was gutted to come third…being voted by fellow guests as looking more like Eastenders’ Dirty Den. Now that’s comedy.

I’ve watched a lot of Bottom since I moved to London, the slapstick stupidness of comedy that keeps me laughing through the shit that London throws at me, like my current state of homelessness. Bottom is a show about making fun out of life, no matter how desperate your situation. Thanks to Rik, and his Bessie mate Ade Edmondson, for reminding me that life in West London, Hammersmith to be specific, the place I woke up this morning, is worth laughing about.

Rest not in peace, Rik, but in bouts of hilarious laughter.

It Don’t Matter If You’re Black or White…Does it?

I’m sat in the park this lunchtime, enjoying the warm sunshine that this March day has chosen to afford us. I opted for an early lunch today, and as such got a prime spot in the seating area of the park, where I had a perfect view for people watching.

There was the group of yuppies (does anyone even use that word any more? I just want to be able to put that word in my tags for this post). For anyone under the age of 25, yuppies are “young urban professionals” or “young upwardly-mobile professionals” (thank you Wikipedia), first named in the 80s. Today it was a group of dudes in suits, all looking at their phones rather than talking (I’m allowed – I’m writing a blog). As well as the yuppies, there are a lot of women on their own like me, and some mums with their kids. And these are the ones that interest me today.

Shortly after I arrived, a woman took the bench next to me. Her little boy, I guess aged around three or four, was climbing on the rocky area. His mum announced that she had better go and get his scooter and bring it closer to where they were sat, as he’d abandoned it about 20 foot away.

As the little blonde boy continued to play, his mum kept a careful watch on him, being no further than maybe 8 feet away at any one time. She didn’t even sit down.

Soon, the little blonde boy started playing with another little boy of a similar age. Same height, same build. The only difference was that this kid was dressed in a Superman suit. As the kids played together, running around all over the park, the blonde boy’s mum kept careful watch over them. At one point, the brown-haired boy’s mum came over, while they were playing on the rocks. Soon she went back to her bench, maybe 50 feet away. As her boy continued to play with the little blonde boy, she talked on her phone and a lot of the time was not even facing the direction of where her boy was. Unlike the other mum, who followed the little boys around, at a short distance. She carried with her the little boy’s scooter and his rucksack.

It seems strange to me that two boys of a similar age should be treated so differently by their mothers. The little boy dressed as Superman seemed to be having a great time, scaring pigeons as though they were the next great threat to the earth. Or possibly his supply of Kryptonite. The little blonde boy was also having fun, but under the careful eye of his mum.

I think back to my own childhood and I wonder was I treated like the little blonde boy, or like the brown-haired boy? Although you can’t really compare, because we are talking over three decades ago. But I would like to think somewhere in the middle.

Much has been discussed about whether children are too molly-coddled these days. But with instances of child abduction, such as the Madeleine McCann case, on the increase, parents these days feel like they daren’t let their kids out of their eyesight. But what effect does that have on the kids?

Both boys have left now, gone home or shopping with their mothers. You can think about what I’ve said above.

Did I mention that Superman was black?