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Dear Mr Blobby: The Independent's arts writer pens a love letter to the ultimate celebrity: a walking, occasionally talking, living blancmange

John Lyttle
Thursday 09 December 1993 00:02 GMT
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I love you. An impetuous thing to confess openly, but I've had a thing about rotund, 7ft slabs of pink latex with yellow spots ever since well, ever since last Friday night, since you're asking. Which, of course, you're not, because all you've ever said is 'Blobby, Blobby, Blobby' and 'Why is Noel Edmonds getting 50 per cent of the royalties when I'm the main attraction?'

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, last Friday night. You came to my rescue in Granadaland, on Upfront, that fine regional television debate show. Picture this: that other slab of outlandish pink latex, James Whale, the obnoxious chat show host, unfurling the biggest sneer this side of the Tory conference because I'd said 'people' programmes like Beadle's About humiliated the punters.

'Humiliation? Bah, humbug]' James snorts - or words to that effect - when you, my hero, magically appear to harpoon Whale, shoving, pushing and bear-hugging Moby Thick until the requisite state of high dudgeon is achieved.

How fitting. And how fitting that you, who began your career embarrassing celebrities, should now be the celebrity (250,000 videos and 2 million key-rings sold]). Everyceleb, in fact. The people's choice for new England manager, the number one pop singer, Kenneth Clarke's alter ego ('Mr Blobby's Budget'). What price those supposedly rare commodities fame and fortune if they can be so easily seized by a walking, occasionally talking, living blancmange?

Yet everyone laughs and claims not to have taken offence at your antics. Why, not only do you look like an inflated infant, pink and piggy, with a one-word vocabulary, you're also allowed to behave like a baby. No one blames babies for their bad behaviour, and no one blames Mr Blobby.

But here am I making you sound like something, when your chief charm is your utter nothingness. You're the furthest evolution yet of that peculiarly British phenomenon 'a good laugh', a term invariably prologued by the weasel words 'It's just . . .'

Your playful, pliant form can be twisted to any purpose, to whatever use we, the put-upon public, devise. In a period of maddening media complexity and wearisome multiple choice, you uphold the restful pleasures of the simple and (how shall I phrase this?) the simple-minded.

I salute you and await the inevitable secret snaps of your gym work-out, swiftly followed by the announcement of your (temporary) retirement from public life - the final accolade. You are, in short, a great dumb joke, just what these tired, shallow times deserve. When you speak, you speak with the clear, authentic voice of the people . . . what's that you say? Speak up] 'Blobby, Blobby, Blobby'.

(Photograph omitted)

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