I don’t know about you, but ..?

… when I look out the window at this time of year, I find myself thinking of a funny little man called Boob. Jeremy Hillary Boob.
Voiced by the one and only Dick Emery, Mr Boob is perhaps better known as the Nowhere Man.

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Sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody, Jeremy doesn’t have a point of view, knows not where he is going to … isn’t he a bit like you and me ?

It’s all about the backdrop, you see ?
When it’s one of those chilly, lifeless days in Britain – which is most of the year – there’s a certain nothingness about the sky … it’s beyond grey, not quite white … just a dirty canvas, a bit of scenery in front of which we go about our daily business as usual.

Trouble is, every so often I’ll drift off and start imagining George Harrison’s multi-coloured Rolls Royce is driving up the road, or think that I’ve just spotted the back end of a yellow submarine disappearing behind that lamp-post over there. Is that the faint sound of a brass band blowing in on the breeze ..

yssotonWhen I was 9 or 10, I received my first ever tape recorder for Christmas and it was the best present I ever had. It was only a mono, shoebox-shaped model made by Sharp, but it was my first proper gadget and I loved it. On Boxing Day, my favourite film was on the telly, Yellow Submarine, so I placed my new machine next to the rented DER black and white and recorded the entire soundtrack on one C90, removing and flipping the cassette as quickly as I could when it reached the end of the first side, so I only missed about 40 seconds of the film. Not only did I then have a whole raft of Beatles songs to enjoy, but unwittingly it meant I learnt the whole script from start to finish as well … this was all subconscious on my part. I didn’t intend to be able to recite the damned thing, but I could … and I can, even now.

That scene stuck in my head.
It wasn’t because of Dick Emery – who I was lucky enough to see live a couple of years previously – and nor was it because I loved cartoons generally. What kid doesn’t ?
It was more because I could relate to the vast emptiness of the space in which Jeremy lived because I looked up and saw something similar most days of the year.

I loved the fact that The Beatles looked just like the band in the bubble, too. What a stroke of luck that there wasn’t just one look-a-like, but four and they were all in a group as well. What are the odds ?
Of course, none of this occurred to me as a child and none of it matters anyway, because the movie remains one of my all-time favourites and I still can’t tear myself away if I find it on TV nowadays.

I’ve always wondered if my pathological dislike for all things Lancashire was down to my father being a Yorkshireman and him raising me as a Leeds fan, or perhaps there was a more subtle reasoning behind it, like the 4000 holes reference from A Day In The Life. Though I enjoyed that scene in the movie, it is slightly scary the way our four heroes pop in and out of them, seemingly at will.
A similar scene crops up at the start of the movie, where there’s a long corridor full of doors and all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures start crossing it, rushing in and out as they go. I get spooked whenever I’m in a hotel like that, or perhaps a long hospital hallway.
Sometimes, I just wish we could do those things in real life, I suppose …

For now, I’ll just continue to look up at that whitewashed world above and see if I can turn my head really quickly next time I catch a glimpse of a shadowy submersible disappearing round a corner …

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