Thursday, November 25, 2010

Benny Hill Close

Yes, indeed folks - Benny Hill Close, the place where sexual stereotypes and innuendo still live. At least, that's what I'd like to think. I was actually there the other day. Not by intention, you understand. I was on a course for work, and came upon Benny Hill Close on my way from the railway station to the venue. (If you know where Benny was born and lived, you'll know where the course was held). Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me, so I wasn't able to take a picture of this historic road sign. Instead, you'll have to make do with one I found on a BBC News story. I was quite disappointed that I couldn't hear that bloody saxophone music playing, whilst a fat bloke in glasses was chased all around the houses by a gang of scantily clad young women. Mind you, it was a cold day.

But why should we think that naming a street after a comedian is odd? After all, we have plenty of roads named after composers, politicians and military heroes. Not to mention monarchs. Of course, what they have in common is that, generally speaking, they've all been dead for quite a while before having these streets named in their honour. This somehow makes us feel as if they've 'earned' their right to a street name, that they've proven their 'worth' by still being remembered decades after their deaths. (Although that doesn't always work - despite Stalin having been dead for forty-odd years at the time, I remember being quite startled to find a road named after him in Essex some years ago). Which is why it is easy to feel that Benny Hill is somehow 'not worthy' of this accolade - it feels that he simply hasn't been dead long enough. Which is foolish. After all, love him or loath him, there's no doubt that he made a huge contribution to British popular culture. He certainly returned smut to its rightful place in prime time TV schedules. Mind you, I'm left wondering who amongst today's crop of comedians will make the grade to have roads named after them? Jimmy Carr Close, perhaps? Or Russell Brand Boulevard? Frankie Boyle Avenue even.



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