This year brings the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of the radio show Hancock's Half Hour. This has been seen as reason enough to stage a small Tony Hancock exhibition in the museum in Gunnersbury Park, West London. Whilst the timing seems a little tenuous I am a big enough fan of both morose British comedy and small municipal museums to look upon this as a great morning out.
Due to the fact that I miss the sign to the car park (which I later discover is the world's smallest direction sign written in the palest colour possible) I end up some way away and as soon as I get to that point that means its too far to go back to the car it starts to rain. And then it really starts to rain. I run into the park and try and hide out under some trees but the wind is whipping the water right under there and within a few minutes I am completely soaked through.
The exhibition itself is something of a washout, consisting mainly of photocopied ephemera, reproduction posters and record sleeves. There is a glass cabinet with a rather battered Spitting Image likeness of Hancock alongside a coat and typewriter that may or may not have been owned by the dead comic - the labelling is somewhat ambiguous.
There's a life size model of the celebrated Radio Ham show that had previously been part of the appalling BBC Experience - a wretched waste of time and money that the BBC had touted as a tourist attraction. I had once spent a miserable afternoon guiding a group of children through its moribund exhibits, so seeing the Radio Ham was like seeing an old friend across the room - the kind that makes you want to hide. After five minutes I've looked at everything.
Back in the park and I walk by the boating pond past belligerent Canada geese whose constant crapping has turned the concrete path into a green slime slide. And then into the caf?© which is gloriously unreconstructed and serves greasy weak tea, budget own brand Swiss rolls by the slice and keeps a single communal teaspoon in a glass of dirty yellow water next to the ashtrays.
There's me, some sticky kids in pushchairs and their smoking mums. And I am wet and cold and it's still raining and the car is miles away. Stone me, what a life!
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