Farewell to the world’s stupidest bottom burp
I could never eat while watching the Young Ones. Something about their grotty house, or perhaps their potty mouths – the constant talk of bottoms and old lentils – turned me off my food. But that was OK because you could just watch a TV show back then and that was enough.
Unlike these days, when we can watch and tweet and eat and download music and read lists on ’12 of the best cities to take your cat for a holiday’, all at the same time. Back then you would just watch a show, laugh your ass off and if you had a VHS tape laying around, record it and watch it again 25 times before the next episode came on TV – a whole week later! In that time you have memorised all your favourite quotes.
I was too young to get it the first time round. In fact I was probably too young the second and third time it ran on Australian TV. But hell, I tried to get it. My older brother and sister watched it religiously, and I was always in the room giggling at it – much the same as my 9&7 year old nieces laugh at Family Guy. I had memorised lines verbatim before I even knew what made them funny.
I remembered the line “don’t look at me, I’m irrelevant” from the very first time I watched a whole episode. I was probably around seven. There was a fart, then a matchbox started talking. I didn’t know what irrelevant meant, but it made me laugh – then I looked up the word irrelevant, and started using it. As a kid I always liked Rick because he used big words.
The Young Ones returned to my life in high school. Having moved with my family a couple of times in my teens – new schools, new towns – coming across a classmate who could recite entire scenes was always a yardstick for whom I would emigrate.
By now I was very certain it was all about Rick. His anarchic romanticism was both entertaining and inspiring to a teenager – screaming fascist! at everyone who disagreed with him, sticking two fingers up at any hint of authority, writing and reciting poetry – ah the poetry. At this age, the irony was not completely lost on me but I still didn’t really get it – it was funny, piss funny, but it still wasn’t cooked yet.
The older I got, the funnier the Young Ones got. Because the further away you get from being young, the funnier being young is – and the more people I met like Rick, the funnier Rick got.
There are comedy shows today that make me laugh – so many amazing writers, with the quirk and satire it requires to paint our world amusing enough to stomach. But I can eat while I watch these shows. Maybe because the world has changed and we have learnt to multi-task, even with our laughs. It is sad but true, I can laugh at 5 things at once now, and the laughs come quick and leave as quick, just like everything else in our fast times. But, I will never forget the show that took me a lifetime to really ‘get’.
And though we may not be the young ones anymore, those of us who invested are unable to ignore the significance of today’s loss.
For those of us who understand that using hippy to insult is actually a compliment, who can stick up two fingers (without slipping a tongue in between them) and not feel naff, who can’t see a box of Cornflakes without saying it nine times, for those of us who know that “crop rotation in the fourteenth century was considerably more widespread after –John”, we are in mourning today because the people’s poet is dead.
Thanks for the laughs Rik, you utter bastard.