As the Yew Tree- type drama National Treasure wins a deserved BAFTA, it reminds me that, aside from the crimes themselves, another unfortunate aspect to these historical celebrity misdemeanours is that we are then left with songs/TV shows that you loved as a kid, the fond memories of which are now forever sullied. A lot of us had Gary Glitter Albums, laughed at Stuart Hall on It’s a Knockout, and mimicked Savile in the playground. Now, after all the risque, shock gags have been done ad nauseum, it’s just kind of very sad all round.
So when an old mate posted a pic of himself with Rolf Harris on FB, it provoked in me another little heart-sink. I played his novelty singles to death at the time: Jake The Peg ( I learned it off by heart, and with the aid of broom handle, performed it in the kitchen..), and of course Two Little Boys. Written in 1902, about two boys who grow up to fight in a war, it became a novelty No 1 single for Harris in 1969. Another bit of nostalgia now thoroughly besmirched..
Then I came across this Sinead O’ Connor version. I clicked on, somewhat cynically, admittedly – but it’s great! Sung beautifully, O’ Connor takes it out of the novelty zone and gives it back some splendid, war-ballad chops. Hurrah. I can enjoy my beloved childhood ditty once more, without wincing.
Now, someone give that girl a broom handle..