Disclaimer: The author admires anyone who can entertain a large audience worldwide over many years, particularly those willing to appear foolish. It’s much more honourable than sniping from the sidelines. RIP Freddie Garrity.
Blue Peter 1964. We open on an Alsatian, Petra?, then a baffling long shot of nothing at all. Should we contemplate the transient nature of all human existence and the certainty of death? The camera swings round to a grimly bald guitarist, almost a Max Wall lookalike, or an early homage to Alain De Botton. Three besuited berks are doing unison leg flips. Bands needed a gimmick back then.
‘You Were Made For Me’ would be offensively chirpy even without Freddie Garrity, cavorting and simpering, ‘prancing like a tit’ as Withnail’s Jake the Poacher would have it. Garrity definitely needs ‘working on’.
How often can someone be gay in all three senses? He is ‘happy’ and ‘frolicsome’ also ‘flamboyant’ which came to signify the second definition: ‘homosexual’. A cavorting and simpering man is often seen as homosexual, (which ignores the hyper-masculine gay personae of some gangsters, soldiers, labourers etc and also heterosexual cross-dressers.) As this winsome ditty inexorably tattoos your memory, double permanent, he strives to be endearingly pathetic, like Norman Wisdom, which could be seen as, ‘weak and contemptible’, the latest sense of ‘gay’.
The hosts of Blue Peter seem happy, well, they are children’s presenters, but the dog stares blankly,: ‘lost for barks’ as the German mother of my children said. (Dagmar Ramsden, who saved my life in my late thirties.)
A later Freddie and the Dreamers video has the band stood widelegged doing forward kicks, like jackbooted fascists on ketamine. This also triggered belly laughs, a very unusual sensation for someone who is generally depressed.
Recently, I thoroughly enjoyed A Short Gentleman by Jon Canter, a profound, finely crafted comic novel which is up there with P.G. Wodehouse and Jerome K Jerome. But it took total buffoonery to get through the grey cloud strait-jacket. Thank you Freddie and the chaps, not to mention the dog.