Monday, 19 October 2009

Humpty Numpty

C'mon folks! Not going to stand idly by and let the Daily Fail diss Justin Fletcher, are we? (Well, clearly I'm excluding from this rallying cry both Sally Whittle and Josie George, but no matter.) Not content with Moir-gate last week, the newspaper is now whipping up a storm in Mr Tumble's teacup. They've even found an MP to harrumph about it. And the cause of the furore? Parliamentary double-standards, maybe? Journalistic nastiness? No. It's all about Humpty-Dumpty and his fabled breach of health and safety regulations.



I'd better declare an interest at the outset here. I. Love. Justin. There. I've said it, and I must confess I feel a whole lot better for it. We've kept it quiet for a while now. Only a few people know the true extent of my infatuation. Charlie patiently puts up with it for my sake, watching every move that Justin makes and even absent-mindedly trying to make sense of the sign-language that he's using.



Something Special, Something Special Out-and-About, Something Special at the Seaside, Something Special At Large, Something Especially Special, we watch 'em all. In fact, I like to think I'm 'something' of an expert. Which is why I can state with the utmost certainty that the 'Humpty-gate' episode the Daily Fail is banging on about today is old news. Older than old. We've seen that episode at least a dozen times. Mr 'Humpty' Tumble was being helped back together by the King's Horses and the King's Men months ago. And so what if the words were changed? The BBC's so-called 'nonsense' made a lot more sense than the original. And anyway, what is so politically-correct about wanting to put a fat egg back together again?

Now I do love nursery rhymes. Despite their (sometimes) troubling provenance, their trippy lyrics and the overwhelming daftness of the tunes, I enjoy the faint shadows that they cast of past events. They're the aural equivilent of crop-marks. Humpy-Dumpty may have been a cannon; Ring-a-ring o'roses might have been about the plague; Pop goes the Weasel could quite plausibly refer to the pawning of an overcoat and Oranges and Lemons be a satire on MP's and their expenses (ok, I made that last one up). I don't know. But one thing is certain: the words are not, and never were, cast in stone and carried down from the mountain-top. There are regional variations, centuries-old updates, 'alternative' versions and many mispronunciations. Adding a CBeebies version actually adds to the fun, as well as continuing a long tradition. And complaining about it just makes MPs and daily newspapers look silly.

I have a cunning plan. I suggest we all update our favourite nursery rhymes if only to annoy the Daily Mail and it's outraged MP. I'm sure we can do a darn site better than those feeble attempts in the weekend 'papers. I'm prepared to have a go myself (subject to the muse's visitation) and I'll feature the best in a couple of weeks time. There might even be a prize! (I know, I know...) And just to get you in the mood, here's your starter for ten...

Goosey goosey gander, whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber.
There I met an MP who claimed more than his share,
So I took him by the left leg and had him deselected as parliamentary candidate at the next general election.
And I threw him down the stairs.

Come on, you know you can do better than that!
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