Regular readers will know that the Boo family are denizens of that there Leicester. Leicester with its invention of bright orange cheese that we persist in calling ‘Red’. Leicester with its stolen pork pies that really belong to Melton Mowbray. Leicester with its enormous array of Walkers crisps to suit every mood and waistline. Leicester with a brave history of knitting socks for the masses, and a clock tower which smells of wee and usually has fundamentalist Christians brandishing tambourines strewn about its base, shouting at you as you attempt to nip to TK Maxx.
My friend and I were discussing the fact that Leicester is pretty poorly represented on the famous people front. We struggled to come up with anyone other than Gary Lineker (who Tilly persists in believing is a tennis player. She cannot ‘imagine’ him playing football. It’s just ‘wrong’, apparently), Sue Townsend and that chap who played Selwyn Froggett in that dreadful comedy show that wasn’t funny, and then went about double parking his car and trying to sell people windows. Also Willie Thorne the ex snooker player more famous for gambling everything away except his underpants and looking like a mournful Bassett Hound.
Ooh, and then there’s that Joe Orton, who defaced library books, wrote rude plays and got hacked to death by his lover. He lived just down from my mum when she was little. She doesn’t remember him. My granny did though: ‘A filthy little bleeder who grew up to be a filthy big bleeder.’
I didn’t tell her I liked his plays.
In an effort to try to redeem the reputation of our home town, my friend and I then Googled: ‘Famous people Wot Came From Leicester’, and were pleasantly surprised:
Kasabian – even I have heard of them. Rock ‘n’ Roll
Engelbert Humperdinck – Immortalised by the great Eddie Izzard.
Attenborough x 2 – Richard and David
David Icke – the ex goal keeper who saw Aristotle in his fridge and who persists in believing the Royal family are a master race of alien based lizards keeping us proles suppressed with their endless supplies of novelty tea towels.
Gok Wan – Gok! Gok! How could I have forgotten you, and your relentless grappling of lady bangers?
Actually there are squillions more famousers, most of whom are famous for having left Leicester at the earliest opportunity and never having darkened its doors again.
I suspect the most famous of all the famousers at the moment, is, of course Richard III, although to be fair, he tried to leave, but we wouldn’t let him.
For those of you who live in a cave and who didn’t turn the telly on at all this weekend, you might not know that Richard was re-interred with much pomp and ceremony in Leicester Cathedral this last weekend.
The whole thing was a bit of a historical hot potato, because even though we bumped him off six hundred odd years ago, and then unceremoniously buried his body in what was to later become a car park, other people felt they had more right to what was left of him than we did. I have to say this seems feeble, given the commitment we had made to making sure he stayed in Leicester. What did you do? Eh?
We won that particular fight, which is good for Leicester, because even though it turns out we have millions of famousers, all the others have gorn, gorn, never to return, and one smelly clock tower does not a city of excitement make. We need the tourist moolah that going to stare at Dick’s flagstone will generate.
Did I go and see the whole reburying palaver?
Of course I ruddy didn’t.
I am interested in history. I do prefer dead kings and queens to live ones (less chance of them cropping up on tea towels), but I do not endorse spending four hours on a cold Sunday queuing down a road so that I can glimpse a wooden box for thirty seconds before it is either a) whipped by me at the speed of sound or b) obscured by the back of someone else’s head.
I also hate waving flags, which puts me in a minority amongst royal gazers, frankly.
And, I live in Leicester. Given that we successfully buried the bugger for the last six hundred years, I think we can hold onto him for at least another six hundred and I’m sure I can fit in a trip to ogle his mortal remains at some point. He’s not going anywhere is he?