Thursday, 13 May 2010
I Annoyed Timmy Mallett
At some unspecified time at uni between 2002 and 2004 (the majority of it is a confused blur) I went to see Timmy Mallett's public appearance in Manchester Metropolitan University's Student Union on what was probably a Wednesday night. It could have been any night, really- we were out that often.
Those of you old enough to remember “Wackaday” - ITV's answer to summer holiday kid's programming- would also remember this TV icon and his oversized sponge hammer. He first burst onto our screens in 1985 and reigned ridiculous until 1992. Timmy would appear in his child-friendly, vibrantly painted TV studio sporting one of his garish shirts, some Donny-Osmond-style stonewashed jeans and an outrageous double-peaked baseball cap.
The show's highlight was “Mallett's Mallet”- a word association game. Contestants were given a word, to which they had to respond with a similar word. (The word “house” could be answered back with “building”, for example.) If the contestant couldn't think of an appropriate synonym, Timmy would bash the child on the head with his foam mallet (which was complete with it's own sinister grin and yellow wig). Each bashing came in time with a comedy sound effect.
This is the game that a lucky (?) few students got to play in the Union that night. Whenever a word escaped a contestant, the DJ would provide the squeaky horn noise on cue with the mallet-bashing.
After the game, Timmy sold off a collection of miniature cuddly-toy mallets and signed them all for the queueing students. My mates and I had randomly decided to dress as schoolboys. My white ASDA shirt was plastered in permanent marker abuse. “Lady-killer” was written on one pectoral, and one half of my back assured people that I had “a fanny”.
I got to the front of the queue and Timmy was sitting on the edge of the stage, open-handed. His bemused expression said, “where's your mallet?”
I pulled the fabric taut in front of my body. “Sign my shirt, dude!” I said.
He impatiently scrawled his autograph on my chest and drew a smiley-faced mallet underneath it. He might not have been happy, but I was.
I still have the shirt buried in one corner of my room.