Brownlegg at Large: November 2001 

1 November 2001

Welcome once again to the Assembly for Middle England, held this month at the 26 bus stop. Because of rowdiness and lewdness on the part of some of our members – yes, I know that most of you were not there at the time – I have had to take up temporary accommodation for the assembly. There had better be more of you at the next meeting or we’ll be in the telephone box next.

I’m pleased to see that BBC-1 through to BBC-4 are doing well, with Associated-Radiation Digital’s subscription up to double figures! I knew that offer of a free concubine or ten pounds with every set-top box would make us a lot of money, and the warehouse is right out of concubines at the moment, so I suppose I’ve got to dip into my National Savings account. After all, that’s what Rupert Muckduck did to make Skyscraper a success, isn’t it? A little cashflow, a few little deals down at the turf accountants, and buying up the opposition. Talking of concubines, where’s Gloria? This port’s a bit warm…

Speaking of that Australian, I was offered a deal by Muckduck to take over the Huntin’ Shootin’ and Fishin’ Network, because he wants to increase his “brand”. Well, I refused because I have plans to make A-R Digital a local, if not a global name. I’ve detailed that well-known dustbin lifter and cretin Spencer-Wells to run our youth and music channel – now there’s something the BBC could never get right! – which I’ve called “TOPS” (“Time to Obey Parents Silently”) This will include Scopitone videos of Ruby Murray, Alma Cogan and Guy Mitchell, knitting, making cucumber sandwiches with the homies, and will include Pussy Cat Willum as one of the channel’s presenters. Subliminal messages will be placed here and there: “Do Your Homework”, “Wear Fair-Isle Sweaters”, “Trad Jazz is the Devil’s Music”. The ITA prevents this, I realise, but if I do it quickly enough, they’ll never notice. Anyway, a special message has been placed for the ITA’s benefit:



I don’t think that I’ll be asking Martin Lambchop-Near to do any graphics for Associated-Radiation after his last attempt. I asked him if he could update the Adastral, but couldn’t show him the original, which I think is in Victor Loombucket-Smythe’s tool shed. I described it as a “wheel of fire”, the hub of communications, a shining star in a darkening sky…and Lambchop-Near sent a bill for £30,000 and a note saying “they’re not going to use this anymore, so you might as well try it. I’ve coloured it in with felt tips which took me ages as I kept going over the lines”. When I removed the tape he’d thoughtfully put below the picture of a birthday cake, I couldn’t quite read what was there…Centile? Corral? Candle? Anyway, I’ve rolled it back to him. I’m getting my nephew Augustus Brownlegg to draw the new Adastral, just as soon as he’s out of Borstal.

Brownlegg’s Televisual Album

By Augustus Brownlegg, aged 17 3/4

Augustus Brownlegg’s suggestion. Well, he’s family.

Talking of Borstal, Gloria Gaumont once spent time there – a lot of time actually, and all voluntary – prior to her distinguished career break. I remember it well: I’d just been teaching those politicians how to read Party Political Broadcasts on the BBC (“Keep it long, and bore the viewers – they’ll definitely want Indefensible Television”), and I hitched a lift off some fellah – Winston something-or-other – and went to the Alhambra Theatre.

In my position as a defender of public morals, as an agent provocateur for the Lord Chambermaid, I felt I had to see – must see – “Everything You Wanted To Know About Bicycles, But Were Afraid to Ask”. I was livid, angry beyond coherence – they’d run out of Arrow Bars in the kiosk – but my eyes were drawn to a shy chorus girl on a 3-gear racing bike and I knew, at that defining moment, that our destinies were one. Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to like me (Her parting words being “I admire your taste, but quite frankly I think you’re revolting” – I passed that title on to a playwright friend, Harold Pintsize).

I ended up going out with her friend Gloria instead, who had fewer problems with my long and happy marriage to Margaret. She’s quite remarkable, having had her first speaking part in the Associated British Chemicals ‘B’ picture “Sewing Shirts For Soldiers”. As “Girl in Doorway” I held my breath in anticipation for her first (and only) line: “No I haven’t, I don’t smoke”. As a result of her first part, many film producers have offered – and they think she has a big future in front of her. Gloria’s always available for many parts, and in her diary, she has a vacant slot. She’s looking for a casting director to fill it. As I was saying to Gloria last week, I said, “Glo, the Bishop moves diagonally and the pawns one square in any direction.” Which is still true to this day, I find.

We at A-R had a supreme reputation for hard-hitting documentaries. “People In Lumber”, “Poke at the Police”, “Living for Swizzels” were amongst all of the documentaries presented by Daniel Farqhar. Gloria’s going to appear in one of the new series. The director said no originally, but as soon as the cast comes off his right leg he’ll be on the Pullman train with his Arriflex. “High and Low” is a study on drugs, a hard-hitting issue: Daniel will be interviewing addicts to “mandies” in Birkenhead, and the part of one such Mandy will be played by Gloria.

To ensure safety, and in the public interest, Daniel will take drugs and describe their effects. If he ends up dehabilitated (I believe the modern parlance is “off his crust”, although I can’t see what bread has to do with it at all), Gloria will smile sweetly and say “Yeah, Daddio, it’s a happening thing”, or I’ll get the writer, at gunpoint, to compose something better. I was going to try out a pilot for “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, where outcasts are reunited with their families, with hilarious consequences. Note to self: I’ll have to sue London Weakneed as they’ve stolen the idea and called it “Surprise Surprise”.

Now, back to The Plan. As you all know, the Adastral is currently in the hands of one Victor Lewis-Mirror, and we are determined to get it back. I won’t go into details about what happened last month – the police still haven’t finished dragging the slipper baths and there’s no sign of the Duke of Edinburgh himself – but I have got a newly revised Step Two (Step One having been renamed for purposes of morale. Please do try to keep up).

This month, those with blue eyes will be sent round to the man’s house disguised as famous playwrights – Alan Bonnett, William Shakespole, Sir Alistair Burnett etc – and engage him in lively conversation about the quality of modern experimental theatre. Then, when one of you, disguised as Harold Pintsized, will pause for a few moments, before revealing your secret weapon – the brown-eyed members here present, who will leap out dressed as a disgruntled theatre audience and pelt the man with Eccles Cakes. The people here with black eyes are excused from action, with my thanks for the efforts last month and the low number of lawsuits. Note to self: I’m sure the new Step Two is missing something fundamental – like a point, perhaps? – but feel I should push on.

Spencer-Wells has just arrived in a windbeaten and rain-sodden state, having run the Adastral flag up the flagpole. I hope he saluted, because he’s toasted teacakes if he hasn’t. After all, if one has to run a television company, one must keep a tight ship – always easy if the rum ration is readily available – in fact, Spencer-Wells also acts as my in-house ship’s chandler, quartermaster and pressganger. Many’s the time I’ve been short of the odd producer or presenter, and I’ve sent him out on deck – well, into Aldwych anyway – to spike some aspiring TV personality or technician with grog, only for them to wake up, dazed and apoplectic, presenting “This Week” or “Ready Steady Go”. That was how I came to employ Keith Fordcar, and his brother Ian. Yes, there are those who scoff, and say my recruitment policies are outdated – so why do the BB bloody C do the same, and call it “BBC Talent”? And come to that, what about “Popstars”? The public needs to be told.

I think I’d better go. There’s a very angry mob outside, all wielding SCART leads and carrying digital boxes. Hang on, Spencer-Wells tells me one of these wants to return the concubine, not the box. Okay, take it back. Let’s not get into an argument.

Hold on a moment! Gloria! There had better be a good explanation…

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