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Sunday 18th January 2009

Sunday morning? Taxi to 6 Music at Western House? Slightly hungover? I must be on my way to review the papers for Andrew Collings' radio show.... but no, it's over two years since I did that on a Sunday (it moved to Saturday for its moribund last couple of months). Instead I am joining Jon Richardson for an hour of his show, ostensibly I suppose to publicise my forthcoming tour of "The Headmaster's Son" (my gosh and that's not far off now - book ahead now people!).
But it's another reminder of how fast time is whizzing by. And still I waste my days away. 2009 is two years since Collings on 6 Music, seven years since "Time Gentlemen Please", ten years since "TMWRNJ", twenty years since I left college. Oh deary me, we are born astride the grave.
The show was good fun: we chatted about Eggheads and dinner parties and Goodnight Sweetheart (you can listen again here for a limited time).
But half way through the show came the news that Tony Hart had died. Everyone's reaction was the same, a vocalised and instinctive "oh" of disappointment. So much a part of all our childhoods and such a representative of what TV used to be. That little fluffy worm that used to whizz round the Vision On studios is one of my earliest memories, and Take Hart was a familiar staple throughout my schooldays. Of course "The Gallery" ended up getting its own little, slightly twisted tribute in Fist of Fun and the glee with which people sent us in their perverse and unusual art works was surely fueled by the desire we had all once had, to see our painting on the wall of the real Gallery. I was rubbish at art though, so that was never going to happen - though I have a nagging feeling I might still have tried.
But although they have all had a good knock recent weeks have seen the deaths of many of the faces that filled by TV viewing as a kid. Patrick McGoohan who freaked me out in repeats of the prisoner, Ricardo Montalban the suave proprieter of Fantasy Island and though he was a voice rather than a face, the incredible Oliver Postgate. I loved the Clangers and even had my own homemade one which I took everywhere with me and Noggin the Nog is another of those hazy early memories. He seemed so much of another time that I was amazed that Postgate was still alive back in the mid-90s when we were trying to get "The Organ Gang" off the ground and met up with Peter Firmin from Smallfilms (sadly didn't get to meet Oliver, though I think it might have been too much of a mindfuck to see the face that that voice was coming out of).
of course in 40 years people will be looking back fondly at the lives of the giants of today: the cast of Balls of Steel or Justin Lee Collins or Norm from the Twix adverts. Time, as has been noted, doesn't drag its heels.
But sad at it is that we must all die - though it would be a hell of a lot sadder if none of us did - then there can be little better reaction than the universal gasp that greeted the news of Tony Hart's death in 6Music this morning.
Good work Tony.

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