Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 27 January 2013
Blimey - it didn't half blow and rain last night, and today the snow has gone except for a few lumps of old snowmen dotted here and there. I hear that Wales is under two feet of water again.
Aung San Suu Kyi (alright, I admit it - I had to look up the spelling) was on 'Desert Island Discs' this morning, and when it was over, H.I. asked me what I thought of her. I said that I suspected that she was not a 'barrel of laughs', but under the circumstances, I did not expect her to be, so that was ok.
The first record she chose was a Burmese one, written especially for her father, the founder of the Burmese Army. Rather disrespectfully, H.I. and me wondered how anyone could sit all alone on a desert island listening to music like that without going mad, but she is a self-trained Buddhist meditator with plenty of practice, so she should cope quite well.
One piece of Western classical music she chose was Dvorak's pastoral thingy, which - she said - reminded her of all sorts of things and people, including the United Nations. It was telling that the one thing that it reminds everyone of her generation in Britain of - Hovis - was not mentioned in her list.
If I was a border immigration inspector, trying to find out whether or not someone who said that they had spent the last 30 years in Britain was telling the truth, I would play that piece of music and ask them what it reminded them of. If they didn't say 'Hovis', then they would be put straight back on the next plane out.
I once spent about 6 months working in Shaftesbury, Dorset, where the Hovis advert was filmed, and visited the location - Gold Hill - a couple of times, just because it is a seriously beautiful and unique little street with a row of houses running down an incredibly steep hill (you could not drive a car down it, let alone a horse and cart), and a scenic backdrop which is almost worth the climb.
The town of Shaftesbury is itself a complete dump, but Gold Hill is one redeeming feature that will be forever associated with Hovis. Whoever hunted out Gold Hill as a TV location was a genius, and now the place can never be used for any other setting without being associated with brown bread and the Grim North of the 1920s.
Hovis has a lot to answer for - not only did they claim Gold Hill as their own in perpetuity, but a whole generation will never listen to one of Dvorak's best pieces of music without thinking of their wheat-germ enriched, ready-sliced product either.
I wonder how much they paid that boy in the flat-cap to trudge up and down it all day?