November 24: on not ending up like bernard cribbins

i just saw Bernard Cribbins on the telly as I was flicking through the channels. He was singing in an Edwardian costume in an old edition of ‘The Good Olde Days’ from the 1970s. There was also Vince Hill on the show. Vince Hill was a crooner appreciated, I should imagine, by the ladies of the time. I don’t quite know where Bernard Cribbins’ talents lay. He was, I suppose, what you call an all-round entertainer. He did good work as a voiceover artist in children’s television. He’s still alive today, I see from Wikipedia. The reason I mention Bernard Cribbins is that when I was watching Bernard Cribbins singing ‘Where did you get that hat?’ and ‘I’m Enerey the Eighth I am’ in his chequered waistcoat I had a strange memory of my adolescent self. Bernard Cribbins represented to me a consciously articulated model of someone that I could model myself on, if ever the worst came to the worst. I don’t know why I focused on Bernard Cribbins. He wasn’t like me at all. He was short and squat with a certain neatness; I was tall and willowy with a certain gonkiness. Maybe that difference represented a kind of ideal to an insecure teenager. It is of some comfort to me, I must admit, that things have turned out better for me than my admittedly unambitious aspirations to resemble Bernard Cribbins. No. I did not end up like Bernard Cribbins, though I am sure he is a very nice man.

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