Give Away: one well-read hardcover book, ‘Rolf’s Walkabout’ (1973). Unwanted boyhood gift. Will cheerfully deliver free to anyone with an industrial shredder or flame thrower.
The one thing worse than the death of a long adored hero is when they fall from grace; or in Rolf Harris’s case, plummets.
And since Jake the Peg wobbled off to ‘live with the Queen’ I’ve been going through my few remaining childhood heroes and wondering what their dark sides are in order to prepare myself for any future shocks.
Did the Cisco Kid beat up Pancho every night?
Was the Lone Ranger a drug mule? This would explain why he wore a mask, and how he could work for free but still afford all those expensive silver bullets.
Perhaps the Phantom isn’t real?! At this point my head nearly caved in, because there’s only so much sinister speculation a man can take.
Hero disappointment hits kids early, usually when they discover that their father isn’t the smartest, strongest, fastest, funniest, richest or most patient person in their street, let alone their town, and that their mother doesn’t make the worlds’ best stew (actually, my mother does, and if you happen to be cooking some this week Mum, call me).
This is when kids look to celebrities to fill the yawning hero-less hole in their lives. Unfortunately those heroes are just like you, me and everybody else; basically, defective.
Over the years a depressing number of my heroes have been disgraced, and each time a little part of me has died; in particular, the bit that had wanted to fill their shoes.
Still, in the unlikely event I become something of a role model, I certainly won’t disappoint my followers; they’ll be counting on me to stuff up in a spectacular fashion, without even trying!