Sunday, 4 May 2008


Have you ever considered how our actions, or perhaps more accurately, our reactions, are inappropriate?

Sometimes, despite the situation, despite the logical response to set of circumstances, stimuli, our reactions are illogical and completely the opposite of what we would expect. An example that may be familiar to those of you with children, is the response to their safe escape from danger. The child who runs into the road, avoiding injury, or wanders off and is recovered safely, none the worse for their adventure. The logical response is relief, gratitude, perhaps a prayer to a normally-ignored deity. What often ensues of course, is a back-breaking hug, followed in quick succession with what my late Grandma would call a 'Chlop'.

I was 'Chlopped' more than once.

Oddly, this is not only something that moves downwards through the generations.

The distress of a parent struggling, their dependency, the helplessness we both feel, the solitude of responsibility created by being 'the one who's around', all conspire to create this dichotomy.

I should just feel compassion and my anger distresses me, engenders non-profitable guilt which in turn, amplifies the anger.

At least I know she won't remember my anger. I just hope she can remember me and what she means to me.

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse

Humph is dead.

Humphrey Littleton died last week and with him, another voice, wit, humour was taken from my life. His sense of immpecable timing, his sarcasm, his ability to strike home with a razor-sharp barb, yet leave you rejoicing in the fact it left no scar.

If you don't know his work (his comedy work, rather than his gifted performance as a Jazz musician), then I encourage, indeed insist, that you find some. As host of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, he was confronted by four of the greatest comedy minds of a number of generations. When Willy Rushton was taken from us, the original panel was supplemented by a guest, yet the standard never diminished. Confronted by such consumate skill, it would have been easy to recede, to become merely the 'host' and butt of jokes.

Yet 'Humph' did not baulk and his dry dead-pan delivery and masterful use of complete silence, allowing the audience to complete the joke for him to devastating effect. Indeed, just when you thought you'd completed the line, he would show you how your own comedic skills were inadequate, his use of words, intonation and timing a masterclass in how it should be done.

To have such skills as the second string to your bow could be intimidating. I never met Humph in person, yet he was a man who you felt would never be anything other than courteous and welcoming to someone who shared his passions.

I would listed to ISIHAC in my car and have been known more than once to arrive at my destination, yet refuse to leave the car until it was over. Someone once said to Oscar Wilde "I wish I'd said that", to which he replied "You will dear Boy, you will"

Humph's closing lines and double-entendres fall squarly into that bracket, but I don't think I will ever try to repeat them.

I just don't have the skill.

That won't stop me enjoying them though and a selection can be found here:

Thank you Humph.

Mornington Crescent.