Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Monty Python Flies Again!

Yes, it happened. They said it wouldn't. Many thought it couldn't. But last night it did.

I wasn't there, unfortunately. Although in a way I'm not sorry. Like seeing a long-lost girlfriend years later, I think I'm happier with my memories.

But I digress.

There's much talk these days of 'family-friendly' humour - you know, the old-fashioned kind you could sit around the telly with your grandparents and watch. Without squirming with embarrassment. (Actually, thinking back to a lot of the stuff we DID sit around and watch back then, there'd still be plenty of squirming now but for very different reasons - did we really think endless mother-in-law jokes were funny? And those Two Ronnie's innuendoes? But I digress... again.)

I first saw Monty Python while staying with my grandparents. It's not unfair to say they were keen guardians of my moral welfare - especially at such a tender age - and wouldn't have countenanced anything that wasn't deemed at least suitable, better still, edifying. But, no. Monty Python came on. I expressed a desire to watch it. (The telly box was turned off back in the day if you didn't want to 'look' at something!)

And we watched. I laughed. I laughed a lot and it hurt. I did cast the odd sideways glance to see what my grandparents were thinking. They certainly weren't laughing. I don't know what they were thinking. Bafflement, I think, was on their faces. Then boredom. Pretty soon my grandma returned to her knitting and grandpa, I think, plugged in his headphones and started listening to something on the radiogram.

They didn't get it. Which is just as well for me for if they had, I might not have been allowed to finish watching it.

Now I'm not one of those obsessive quote-machines who can recite entire Python sketches as if they were Shakespeare. But I know what I like. And I particularly like this, the argument sketch. I even used to use it, in class, when I taught philosophy. Because every student thinks they know what an argument is (what you have in the pub innit?) but philosophically, an argument is a precise, intellectual tool. And this sketch contains the perfect definition.

Oh yes it does.

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