Sunday, 18 January 2009

Take Heart

Ah. I had a little treasure trove of Motown for the first Sounds On Sunday of 2009 but I'm a little blown away by the news I've just read. Tony Hart has died aged 83.

Such a huge part of my childhood. I loved to draw and paint growing up; my life plan involved art. The first 20 years of my life was about the pencil and the blank piece of paper.

I never did make the Gallery, but never mind. Here's to the big gallery in the sky.

The Isley Brothers - Behind A Painted Smile


Mick said...

I was hoping somebody would write a tribute to Tony Hart so well done. An old school presenter from the days when it wasn't a sin to talk posh. Another part of our collective childhood gone. You must have lost some pieces of art because "We're sorry we cannot return your pictures..."
Cue the music.

Davy H said...

Just saw that headline myself and thought I must do something, but very fortunately stopped in here first..."but we do give a prize for each one we show"...

Simon said...

When I was about 8 Tony was my Weller alongside Rolf's Strummer. They really were that important to me.

dickvandyke said...

And me lads .. but I have a strong particular reason why this is so.

I've been 'close' to him for 40 years or so. I'll share this little blog secret with you if you promise keep it to yourselves ...

I'm very sad about Tony's passing. I followed his career with particular interest - you see chaps (pause)
... my real name isn't really Dickvandyke ....

... it's Tony Hart!!

I first recall his name appearing in the credits of 'Schools' programmes in the late 60s. (The progs you actually watched whilst in school .. After that 1 minute clock which everyone counted
down.). Of course when his name appeared on the credits, about 28 7 year olds would laugh and point in my direction whilst spluttering on their paper straw dipped in free milk.

Funnily, in more recent years, I have embraced the name TH and all the 'tired' Morph jokes. Of course, people always think that they are the first to mention it.

I even got the joshing again this last week on introducing myself in
the new job. I see it now as one way of being remembered in a crowded room.

I expect a barrage of 'original' comments tomorrow.

I also suspect some folk I know, will today be shouting to their partners in another room,
"Tony Hart's dead!'

Those that love me will hopefully miss a heartbeat .. so to speak!

Hopefully they will have prefaced it with words about Vision On, or Titch n Quackers, or 'We cannot return any of your paintings' .. before the announcement. Otherwise, news of my demise could be somewhat premature.

So bye dear Tony and cravat. After all these years my friend, part of me died with you.

lil said...

Such sad news. I will remember him fondly as one of the "TV Greats" of my childhood...

Simon said...


wow. I had half a famous name; my surname is the same as Beatle John, who was killed the same winter I started secondary school, so I spent school putting up with people singing 'imagine' to me. So I know a lot of what you're talking about.

All of these deaths of musicians, artists, actors, writers and this is the one that has hit me heaviest.

dickvandyke said...

He was such a lovely man too. For whom the phrase, 'They don't make them like that anymore' may have been written.

His website

now has a Remembrance Guestlist added.

Davy H said...

Revelation upon revelation!!

Your secret is safe with us, and you'll always be Dickie to me.

Simon said...

DVD, job? I hope congratulations are in order for that one.

ally. said...

there aren't many, if any, telly presenters i can imagine it would be nice to have a cup of tea with in a fine caff but mr hart was one i reckon. and i bet his namesake would be too

dickvandyke said...

Thanks my lovelies. You're smashing, and no mistake.

A pot of tea with you - in a greasy spoon on a wet day in London would be just perfect. One with that great juke box and condensation on the windows. 'Hey Spiros, find us some pastries'.

Yes Simon - new job with Adults and Childrens Social Care within the Council. It pays peanuts, but its a job!

If you're interested .. and it's a big IF, because I go on a bit as you well know, here's a taster ...


Plently to chuckle inwardly about. The inane bureaucrats, the
self-important, the 'We've always done it that way' dyed-in-the-wools, the peeling paint, the scrummage for the lifts, the open plan office expanses where folk carefully monitor their own tea and coffee caddies, whilst rarely make eye contact unless on the cadge and the Councillors swanning around in Fred Gee chauffeur attire. Blue blazers with dandruff on the collar and the eggy tie and crest combination.

The overwhelming suffocation that is 'Equal Opportunities' fills the air. Everywhere you go there's people on electric motor scooter things bouncing thru' swing doors, and 'No Smoking' signs in 15 languages, and acronyms for acronyms sake (or 'AFAS').

Countless quangos with bizarre names like 'Transformation and Resources' and Equality
and Diversity Involvement and Participation.

The Public Sector has always been ripe for sitcom material. One of my staff is literally dumb, with a hair lip and a club foot. He grunts in a bid to be understood. He appears to have the mind of a 10year old and has latched onto me like a limpet. Fortunately he has an incredible aptitude for complex photocopy/printers and can be left to produce mind-bending reprographics requests.

Another colleague enjoys life within the Asperger/Autistic Spectrum. This is a parallel universe. One which means he cannot communicate well by phone (see yer man above) nor hold a conversation incorporating more that 12 words.

That said, the side of his brain that does function, is finely tuned in to excel spreadsheets and stationery form numbers and stocktaking tasks that Einstein
would have struggled with. Unfortunately, he wears the same clothes every day and has the teeth of Champion The Wonder Horse!

Other team mate highlights include a 58 yr old (Doris Hair - type) granny who has just returned from knee replacement leave, a young half Pakistani/half Afghan muslim woman with a Sikh father and Hindi mother who went to a Catholic School and was abused as a child, a under-privileged Brazilian
intern with little English who has come to practice her secretarial skills (on the Council Tax payer), and a camp waistcoated gel-boy with designer glasses, pink tie and a very fine 1st class Honours degree in underwater basket weaving. I'll learn to love them all.

The 'flexi hours' world is a new one on me. Work over your alloted 37 hrs pw, and you can save the hours in a tin and use them as
time off whenever you like. (Sensible policies for a better Britain!)

This would be an operational nightmare in most employment arenas, but is very
much the norm with the Council.

So there you go .. life in the bus lane. There's much great work to be done however, and it sure beats the dog eat dog demise of the Private Sector.

Simon said...

I've worked a great deal of my working life in the public sector. It really is a complete world of it's own...

If you can't do a sitcom, how about a blog-com? I'd tune in every week for that one!!

Davy H said...

Me too!

Lawdy, I'd last five minutes in a place like that.

Courage Dickie, courage!

JC said...


Born in 1963, I was given the same name as the then World Motor Racing champion....and although he died when I was only 3 years old, I still get folk telling me 'oh that's an easy name to remember' on account of JC on a regular basis.

Glad you've a new job....but having been public sector all my life, I have to say its not quite as bad or stereotypical as you make out. The fact is that the public sector are the only ones who will, by way of equal opps, take on some folk who can work to a limited capacity and treat them as human beings.

And there's millions of us do all sorts of extra hours week in, week out for no financial reward...

I'll get off my soapbox.

Oh and Simon.....nice tribute to Tony Hart.

dickvandyke said...

Fair enough Clarky. Perhaps I over-egged the institutionalisation factor a tad for effect. But honestly mate, the gene pool has been seriously dredged in my Dept.

No bull, but the very first news bulletin I remember in my life, was that announcing the death of Jim Clark. I was 5 and a 1/2. (I'm sure it was a Sunday after 'Family Favourites'?)

Anyway, jc - coulda been worse mate - you coulda been in Nazareth. (Ouch!)
Jiminy Crickett, Jimmy Connors, Jarvis Cocker, Julian Clary and Jasper Carrott have all struggled with the song, "6 foot 2, eyes of blue. Has anybody seen JC?"

PS; Word Veri - 'Culuter' ... which is probably what Rabbie Burns did to his women.