Sunday, 18 January 2009

Farewell Tony Hart

Yes, it was Tony Hart that gave Dr. Nostrum's his first break in the entertainment business, in his very first solo series too, also occasioning (now there's a word that always looks wrong) the purchase of a Video Tape machine, by Ma and Pa Nostrum, to record the young Dr.'s breakthrough moment. We were the first house on the street to have such a machine and none of the neighbours were invited round to see it, seeing as we were a somewhat anti-social family.

Anyhow, the familiar strains of 'Marguerite' began and after several dull but worthy pictures passed us by, there was young Dr. Nostrum (aged 6) Art Work, peering at us through the magic of the television screen for at least 6 or 7 seconds. I would have worn the tape out watching it over and over again had the machine not broken within a month. In my memory the drawing was a beach scene, depicting some stick like figures floating precariously above their sun loungers in the late afternoon sun, but according to my mother it was a precocious work of great merit that would have stood the test of time had it not been chucked in the bin immediately after the show was filmed.

I had some history, you see, having had a piece exhibited at the Royal Academy aged 4, but I can't credit that with any furthering of my ambition as I don't remember it and my parents didn't keep the picture or any record of it ever actually happening. Readers of the blog may notice uncorroborated stories from my childhood here and there - the most odd being the place of my birth changing over the years, my mother never being easy to pin down, the only constant being the day.

I digress. Tony Hart, then, had given me my first taste of fame and my journey had begun. I remember him fondly (perhaps not as fondly as he looked like he might remember the many small boys he helped reach for the star) especially his white line paintings on huge brownfield sites, they linger like the Chalk Hill Drawings except in the sense that I can't remember a single one of them, just that he did them. In truth I preferred Wilf Lunn.

But Tony brought us Morph, in much the same way Tracey Ullman gave us The Simpsons, and made it through Mr. Bennett's complaints, then went on to Hart Beat which strangely became a cop show in later years.

So, goodbye Tony. I hope God has a white line painting machine for you to join up all the constellations for us in the heavens. I shall keep my eyes peeled.

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