Dipsy Rides Again

I don’t remember much of the eight hour flight to Paris. I was in a drunken slumber. When I came to the plane was touching down at Charles de Gaulle airport. It was lunchtime and I took the RER to the Gare du Nord. I didn’t have enough funds for the train back to England. Jose came to the rescue with an emergency money wire. Thankfully it came through later that afternoon and I picked up 500 lovely French francs at a post office near the Gare du Nord. I planned to take a Eurostar back to England, using the newly opened Channel Tunnel. However, the fare was very expensive and there were no discounts for intrepid adventurers. I had no choice but to take a train up to Calais and then a ferry across the Channel. I arrived in Calais late in the evening. I should have been on the midnight ferry to England, but fell asleep in the departure lounge. I think it was a combination of the after effects of all that alcohol and a tremendous upsurge of emotion and weariness, now that the big adventure was almost over.

It was just me and the lorry drivers and a Force 6 gale that made the crossing in the wee hours of the morning. I arrived in storm-lashed Dover at just after 6am on the 6th December, to discover that there was a warrant out for my arrest for non-payment of fines resulting from not having a tv licence.

But that’s another story.

The above are the final paragraphs from my book, When I Went Out One Summer’s Morn (available on Amazon as both an ebook and a paperback – see here), my memoir of 20 years of travels. That ‘another story’ mentioned above was the Campaign to Abolish the Licence (CAL), which rode the political waves during the noughties. To promote greater awareness of the campaign we undertook a number of publicity tours. We used a Citroen 2CV which was driven by Lurch the chauffeur (moi). The passenger was Dipsy, one of the Teletubbies…

… Dipsy was in fact my cousin Andre, a then out of work actor. I recently came across some photos of the publicity tours. The Dipsy thang was not one of my better ideas…

Dipsy would stand up through the roof of the car while Lurch drove him round and round. The car had loud speakers and a combination of music and political slogans blared out. Here’s a recording of Baxter “windy” Brown, Dipsy’s campaign manager (it’s a wav file that should open in your media player)…

Vote for Dipsy

The main problem of course was that the Dipsy costume looked awful. This is part of Dipsy’s biography…

Because Dipsy is so strange looking he has always found it hard to fit into society. He has been employed as a geek in a circus show, a Tory minister for transport, and to date his most successful role was as a Silurian in Dr Who

Hmm, definitely not one of my better ideas… Before the publicity tours got under way I would fax the local media a press release, telling them about the Campaign to Abolish the Licence and where and at what time we’d be in their city. I remember on one occasion the Coventry Evening Telegraph ignored us, despite me ringing their newsdesk when we arrived in Coventry. So, in a desperate attempt to be noticed we drove up and down outside their offices, music blaring, Dipsy waving. Despite this the Coventry Evening Telegraph still ignored us…

Here’s a bit more of Dipsy’s bio…

And so, with Lurch’s help, Dipsy began a political campaign. His main election pledge was to abolish the TV Licence and make the BBC convert to Islam. Dipsy promised equal rights for peculiar-looking green furry things. He promised that when he got elected he would make special knapsacks free on the National Health. Dipsy also pledged that poor people would get brown paint as part of their benefits and dogs would be allowed to wear make-up. He did not forget the pensioners either: they would get an annual allowance of paperclips as part of Dipsy’s “New Deal for Britain”. As Dipsy himself puts it: ‘From time to time, in our great island story, it falls to one green furry thing to lead his people out of the valley of the shadows and into the broad sunlit uplands of peace and prosperity.’

More about Dipsy can be found at www.spiderbomb.com/tv/dipsy.html

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