Its been a very cold Saturday, and the temperature drops even more at night (I mean by now and its only 9 pm!). Can tend to dissuade you from writing, but I’m sitting right on top of the fire so its not so bad.

Anyway, not much has happened. Very busy for a couple of hours yesterday moving some heavy furniture from one room to another, and quite honestly, I was glad when that was over. I have not lost any strength in my arms, but my foot certainly doesn’t like it when it has to bear extra weight – and some of the stuff was heavy!

Received some proofs in the post this morning; all part of one of the big changes I told you about. They were really excellent (thanks you know who!) and passed my expectations. Quite fun undoing them really, then going through it all. The person had put a lot of work into it, and I’m sure you will all enjoy it too. Can’t give any more clues; but I couldn’t resist mentioning it at the moment.

Its funny how unexpected things turn out sometimes. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in contact with an American lady, and she now has my private email after being referred to me from my main Website. I’m usually pretty cautious about giving this to anyone at first, but as it happens, she’s entirely genuine and she wants only to exchange information.

Well, in the course of this, she told me that she’d just bought a collection of Monty Python DVD’s, and she thinks these are so funny! This surprised me at first as I didn’t realise that there are some Americans who really like British humour. She really does, and she was really surprised to learn that one of the main characters in the show, the late Graham Chapman was a friend of mine. I really didn’t mention this to ‘show off’, simply because I knew him quite well and he’d often discuss his sketches with me – even one’s he was proposing. I remember, for example, that he was particularly fond of the Goodies and their take off of Rolf Harris really amused him. He said he was intending on ‘bettering that’ on the Python show; but whether he ever did or not – or even wrote it up – I just don’t know.

But the whole thing got me to thinking. Its really strange how the past slips by sometimes; yet some moments of it can seem just like yesterday. I didn’t actually meet Graham until 1976 . . . Think of that! It was 32 years ago but I can recall some of our conversations just like it was yesterday.

The same is true of some events from the ‘60’s too. Some are really vivid. Mainly the happy ones. Its probably because vibrant memories are much easier to retain that negative ones – and there were some of them as well!

Still, I mustn’t waffle! Its only because I’ve got nothing else to talk about, and I’m just letting my mind wander. Nice to do that sometimes though. Maybe its also a form of escape from this cold weather!

Anyway, the American girl is very nice. Which is really why I mentioned it.

She wants a copy of one of my own DVD’s as well, and, of course, I will be sending her one. I have stressed that none of them are ‘comedy’, however’ but she doesn’t seem to mind that.

So, ‘day off’ tomorrow here. Which is maybe just as well, because I really have got a lot more unrelated work to do.

For the moment anyway,

David

  • reply Craig ,

    hi david. i didnt even know who grahap chapman was untila few years ago.
    my mate was well into monty python but i just never found them funny. i mean the tv show.
    i did enjoy some of the films though. the one about king arthur was good but the ending was stupid.
    i think they were also in time bandits as well which was really clever.

    how did u meet graham? did u live near him and what happened to him? is he the one who died? my uncle was a hguge fan of python and has a lot of old vhs tapes of them.
    did u meet any of the others? any photographgs of u lot together?

    cheers
    Craig

    • reply David Farrant ,

      Thanks Craig,

      Sorry to take a bit getting back to you. Really tied up in a lot of legal stuff today which I had to get finished for tomorrow. Its now completed, for the time being, thank the Lord!

      You asked about Graham Chapman.

      I first met him in 1976 when I came back from a short holiday! It was the summer of the long drought and everything had turned brown and there was a total ban on hose pipes. I remember it well; particularly how refreshing the cool beer felt on an evening. In fact, Graham used to drink in one or two of the same pubs that I did in Highgate and I met him in one of them.

      He lived in a huge white house (Victorian) in Highgate, only a couple of hundred yards from where I was staying at the time.

      I did not see his “Time Bandits” film; but I certainly saw the Holy Grail one (whatever it was called about King Arthur) and his “Life of Brian” one. In fact, regarding the latter my (2nd) wife and I heard the whole sound-track from it in his house long before it was released.

      We used to have long talks together about this, that, and everything; not only in his favourite pubs but at his house. He had certainly heard about myself, I can tell you that, and trouble I had got into in the early 1970’s was often the subject of our talks.

      Photographs? I really don’t know. We went to several small gatherings and parties at his house and various photographs were taken by different people (including some of Colette and myself) and these are obviously still around somewhere. No doubt one of these might turn up in the future as photographs do have a habit of doing.

      Graham died of cancer in the mid eighties. He’d moved to Maidstone in the early 80’s but did not live long after that. We kept in touch by phone occasionally after he moved but I did not ever meet him again in person.

      I was saddened by his death, because he really was a lovely person.

      He had his own life-style and desires sure, but was nevertheless very independent. And he knew such ‘independence’ never worried me. That’s probably one reason we became friendly.

      Hope that answers your points anyway.

      For the moment,

      David

      • reply Craig ,

        hi david
        thanks for that interesting response.
        i found the following thanks to wikipedia. its quite a long stub on graham and i thought u might like to read it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Chapman

        i didnt know he was gay and to be honest its not a big deal but i’m guessing it was a big deal in the 60s regardless of floewer power.

        seems like u knew quite a few famous people in the old days. how did u meet them? or did they know u because of the highgate story? did u meet any of them who didnt know about it?
        and seeing as we’re on a good one! what were the 60s like for u? everyone seems to have a different version of it.

        cheers
        Craig

        p.s life of brian was extremely funny. i think Eric idle played the mum and had me in stitches

        • reply David Farrant ,

          Yes, Craig, of course I knew Graham was gay; that’s one of the things he used to confide in me. I didn’t mention it before as I thought that to do so would be to somehow break his confidence, even though he is dead now. I am just funny like that, trust has always been a treasured thing to me and I could never betray it.

          He told me many things about his private life, and the private lives of other people, some of whom are still alive so I won’t even allude to them.

          But talking generally though, Graham was only too aware of how difficult being gay was in the 1960’s. Forget the ‘swinging sixties’; they certainly were NOT in that respect. Graham was very aware of the inbred prejudices some people had (and still have) as far as that was concerned. We should remember that such prejudices do not only exist amongst normal ‘run of the mill’ people, but can extend intimately to friends and family. This happened to some extent with Graham.

          In fact, to a large extent.

          Its hard to summarise the ‘60’s really. I suppose it would be for other forms of liberalism which were accepted far more easily. I mean, can you remember all the topless women? And those beautiful mini skirts!? (Well, I suppose Cat would say I would remember that, wouldn’t I!?!). But this was not all; there seemed to be a much more care-free atmosphere around and people were not so aggressive or violent. It was safer to walk around the streets at night, for example, and instead of being threatened for money, someone would invite you to a party!

          There were certainly many more of those, but I would say that towards the end of the sixties being gay was starting to become much more open and acceptable.

          Speaking personally people being ‘gay’ (whether men or women) has never really bothered me. I have always treated people as I inwardly find them, and I am not easily influenced by a ‘label’. (Whether this should be a sexual label, a social label or even a religious one).

          Graham obviously knew that his disposition never bothered me, which is why I suppose he confided things to me.

          It might be more remarkable in a way, because he knew that I wasn’t gay myself. But some things he told me I just have to keep to myself. They could otherwise embarrass quite a lot of people!

          For the moment,

          David

          • reply Craig ,

            i totally respect that david. theres no need to divulge any details though im sure others woul;d be too quick to sell them!
            i think prejudices like that are the weakest attempt at any argument. if someone has to resort to stuff like that theyve pretty musch admitted that theyre morons.
            a mate of mine is serving in the army at the moment.hard as nails bastard who can outdrink outpunch and outdo most stuff. hes gay and even though he gets ribbed by his platoon they wouldnt want anyone else in a firefight as hes totally fearless. hes won a few medals for bravery and saving fallen soldiers. id like to see someone take the piss out of him for being gay. he’d knock them into next week!
            i weas out with the lads last time they finished a t.o.d and the bond between them was amazing. proper brothers in arms.

            which brings me round to agreeing that the world is a more violent and agresivde place thesedays. shame really as we’re all only here for a few minutes when u think about it on a bigger scale!

            cheers
            Craig

            • reply Craig ,

              p.s wheres cat gone?!
              u haven’t…u know…sacrif…naaah

              • reply David Farrant ,

                p.s wheres cat gone?!
                u haven’t…u know…sacrif…naaah

                ‘Fraid so, yeah. Or tried to . . . That’s why he’s gone to the vets!

                I’ll get back to your serious one later!!

                David

                • reply barbara green ,

                  I read the cat post this morning. Yesterday I took a stray cat to the vets. It had been in my garden for a few weeks and I was concerned about it–it came in through my cat flap and ate and slept in my conservatory but I could see it was unwell, but could not get near it as it was feral. I knew the outlook was going to be bad if I got it to the vets, which I finally managed to do yesterday. The cat was terminally ill and there was nothing could be done, other than the obvious. This has left me very upset that this was all I could do for it, and the ground is too hard for me to dig a grave, as I have always buried my deceased pets with appropriate ceremony . Please dont joke about these things.I realise no harm is really meant but as someone who has rescued many cats, and two dogs and other animals over the years, –and suffered their inevitable loss from age the innocent animal kingdon , and “funny” vetinary references is not funny to me . Carry on with your gays and ghosts by all means, and anything else.I have a cat to mourn.

                  It just upset me to read it after yesterdays sad events and my helplessness to do more for thsi cat other than put an end to its sufferings.

                  barbara

                  • reply Columbine ,

                    Hi David,

                    I liked Graham a lot (although I never met him in person.) He was quite a fanciable man, even to us women! The majority of gay people (as all people are) are lovely human beings, very kind hearted and generous; we have to remember that there is good and bad in everybody, regardless of their proclivities. That is what makes us all human, and why the world turns in such a remarkable way. I would not be without my gay friends, not for anything. A person’s make up is who they are, and we should not foist upon them, that which we wish them to be. God made some people gay, and He made some people white, black, brown, some disabled – all to make up the richness of our wonderful Earth.

                    I hope that Graham’s soul has found peace.

                    Columbine.

                    • reply Craig ,

                      not being funny but its a bit out of order to complain about a cat comment when loads of nasty things have been written by urself about a human being i.e david farrant.

                      any comments iv made about cat and i’m sure baldrys cat would agree have been made in reference to that stupid cat sacrifice story that never happened or david would have got done for it.
                      me and baldrys cat mention the incident and not all out cat cruelty.

                      sorry about ur cat an all that but i think its a bit out or order when people start to put animals above regards for fellow human beings.

                      the other opetion is not to read thre blog.

                      cheers
                      Craig

                      p.s sorry david but i had to defend my comments before they were taken out of context. seems to happen a lot round these parts!

                      • reply Columbine ,

                        Coming back to what I remember of the 1960’s – I remember black and white tellies, and watching ‘Armchair Theatre’ with mum on Saturday nights. I remember The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Hollies, Dave Clark Five – all those famous bands – all in their ‘heydays.’ Watching ‘The Avengers’, ‘Randall & Hopkirk’ and ‘The Saint’ – oh, the memories! What about beehive hairdos, stilletto heeled shoes, mini skirts and hippies? Yes, hippies I remember mighty well, we called them ‘beatniks.’ There were various street traders I remember – a bloke who sold toffee apples from a box on the corner of our street on Sunday afternoons, another who sold muffins (later called ‘crumpets’) on Saturdays and yet another who sold seafood from the back of a van. There were also mobile greengrocers, bakers and a van that sold ‘Corona’ lemonade on Summer weekends. Kids playing in the street, mums and dads gossiping over the fence and a real sense of ‘neighbourliness.’ A murder was an event, not a run-of-the-mill story as it is today. Coal fires, coppers for boiling up laundry and the rent man calling for his money on a Monday.

                        Oh, the halcyon days of my childhood….

                        Columbine.

                        • reply Craig ,

                          wow. all before my time but sounds like a different world!!
                          my mum says u could leave ur door unlockd at night.
                          i still do that…but only when i forget to bolt the door after a night out!

                          chees
                          Craig

                          p.s i remember the new avengers and return of the saint but not the originals. randal and hopkirk was remade a few years ago with vic reeves and bob mortimor. wasnt really that good but then i cant stand either man myself.

                          • reply Columbine ,

                            Hi Craig,

                            Yes, there were lots of social and political upheavals during the 1960’s too. The newscasts were full of Vietnam war stories, and I remember the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I also remember the ‘space race’, that ongoing sparring between America and Russia (then known as the USSR) in trying to be first to land a man on the moon. I remember running home from school to watch Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the moon, but I also remember Russian cosmonauts arriving back to Earth, dead inside their capsules. I remember the chap who set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square, Prague in January 1967 in protest at the Communist occupation of Czechoslovakia. Then there were other aspects of the ‘Cold War’ that were being waged, such as the days-long chess ‘championships’ that went on between American and Russian chess players (think Boris Spasky.) The Hippie ‘flower power’ revolution and the protest songs were in direct response to the political situation that was going on world-wide, at the time. I also remember the ill-fated Apollo 13 trip to the moon, but that was in 1970 (I think.)

                            There was almost full employment, salaries and technology were growing and most of all there was that bastion of sexual freedom, the ‘Pill.’ Women were burning their bras all over the place, and fighting for what later became feminism. ‘Ban The Bomb’ protests, student protests and CND were much in evidence; even in ordinary streets, graffiti was mostly the CND symbol. I remember the trial of Brady and Hindley, the ‘Moors Murderers.’ Murders were events in those days, not the third item in newscasts, as they are today.

                            Today, we are hearing a growing lobby of ‘conspiracy theorists’ who claim that Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins never actually got to the moon, that it was stage-managed inside a studio or shot in a remote desert – that is rubbish. During the 1960’s, Russia had every single satellite you could imagine, trailed on the USA. If the moon landing had been faked, they would have known about it. This ‘space race’ really WAS a race, backed up by the ‘Cold War.’ Not a week went past without TV newsreels running tapes of the USA and the USSR’s nuclear ‘firepower’, showing off to each other, like daft blokes in pubs, ‘Mine’s bigger than yours’ attitude.

                            I was a child during the 1960’s, but I remember all this very, very well….Arab-Israeli War, the Six-day war between Israel and Egypt…oh, my! I almost forgot – there was the Highgate Vampire, too!

                            Columbine.

                            • reply Columbine ,

                              Craig,

                              Your mum is right – doors could be left unlocked at night, mostly. This was mainly because everyone knew everyone else in neighbourhoods, and knew that their neighbours were ‘in the same boat’ as they. Pinching from neighbours’ homes was like pinching from relatives. Of course there were burglaries, there will always be burglars, but again, it was rare. Bank robberies and train robberies were the ‘thing’, and neighbourhood crime was comparitively seldom heard of. A schoolfriend’s dad was knifed to death in a pub brawl in the 1960’s – it made headlines.

                              Columbine.

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