Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Where the suburbs meet utopia

This morning was taken up with a trip out to the suburbs on work-related stuff, out past Ealing. The little railway station seemed to have preserved quite a few of its pre-war trappings (the black-on-white enameled signs in the written equivalent of BBC English were my favourite); that, plus the greenery, aged brick semis, gently pruned hedges and odd feeling of semi-rural quiet made me think of Rupert Bear:

Growing up in Scotland, Rupert Bear's hometown (or Daily Express idyll of a green and pleasant village) was pretty much how I imagined all of England to be. Nutwood (City Limits) was a large part of my frame of reference, and discovering it in the London suburbs gave me a little jolt of childish pleasure. For the briefest of nanoseconds, I thought, "hmm, might be nice to live out here". Then I thought, "apart from it being, y'know, boring". And, when I play back the YouTube videos, I'm reminded that not only was Rupert an insufferable little prig but his family, friends and everyone he knew was stiflingly middle-class. Of course, as a north-of-the-border kid, I didn't find that stifling but oddly exotic.

I still have a certain cheesy affection for this, though:

Bum. Bum bum. Bum. Bum bum. Bum bum bum bum bum.


Gareth said...

Even as a child I thought that Rupert and hos chorts Middles class tendencies meant that they should be first in line come the revolution.

Pogonophile said...

For me, the Englishness that Rupert personified was so exotic (it might as well have been distant Samarkand) it was a while before I was able to recognise and apply the good ol' class system.

I had similar problems when I moved to London in 2001 and found that "poshness" confounded my gaydar. Effete, louche men with elongated vowels were alien to me: I read them as gay when in fact they were simply middle/upper class...

Anonymous said...

Rupert Sucks. In 1977 I was in a childrens' hospital for Christmas and the Bay City Rollers visited in a white Rolls Royce stuffed full of cuddly toys. Probably on account of the tartan, a number of them turned out to be cuddly Ruperts. They tried to give me one, and I threw the most almighty tantrum. I ended up with an Emu-that-you-stick-your-hand-up, which I didn't much want either, but didn't have the energy to protest through the snot and snivvels. So yeah, Rupert's a tiny bit triggerish.