I was going to call this post Slaying Demons (2), following on from this one. I decided not to because, in the wake of the harrowing experience I'm about to recount, demons have been faced but not slain. Also - and crucially - I thought it better to go with a far less dramatic, less over-the-top kind of title.
An obsessive bloggy-stalker might have seen many a comment of mine on other people's blogs, relating to children's tv programmes, in particular those from my own childhood. Then again an obsessive bloggy-stalker might have printed out those comments and made some sort of shrine, or fashioned them into speech-bubbles and put them on little home-made action figures and played weird games with them.
Anyway, I'm getting off the point slightly.
I had a conversation at work which was a kind of distillation of many of the aforementioned comments - for example, how Mr Benn was (as far as I'm concerned anyway) a metaphor for illicit substances. You know: bloke goes to see a man in a shop, gets to "try on a costume," then spends a whole afternoon having weird and wonderful adventures in strange lands.
Or how incredibly poignant and sad Bagpuss was, and how I don't think I could watch it now for those reasons, and how it served to gently introduce to children the concepts of loss and grief (so someone told me anyway, but it has a resonance).
And so on and so forth.
My colleagues listened and shared their own reminiscences, and then I found myself thinking about it. That programme.
That horrible, dark, scary, squalid, nasty little programme - full of shadows and evil intent. I shuddered.
Did any of you ever watch Pipkins, I asked.
Shit, I'd let the cat out of the bag now. I would have to go through with it.
Pipkins? Can't remember, what was it like?
How to describe it? It was a horrible, dark, scary, squalid, nasty little programme - full of shadows and evil intent, I replied.
Blank looks. No, don't think so.
I went on to describe how it used to scare the shit out of me, how it was all these seedy, malevolent creatures who lived in this shadowy attic, and everything they did was just dark and hellish. Yet I would watch it every week, and it would leave me feeling like I'd had a brush with something evil.
Still blank looks, indeed a furrowed brow hither and thither too. There was one thing for it. I went on the net and found a clip.
It was easier to watch, knowing my colleagues were there with me. A brush with something evil shared, is a brush with something evil halved (or something). They watched, they squirmed, and they understood.
Days later, they're still talking about it - and I'm still shuddering.