Master of Puppets

December 14th, 2008

So Oliver Postgate died then.  The reaction from the media was the sort usually reserved for a Pope. Nearly ten minutes of coverage on Channel 4 News goes someway to prove that conventional media is still ruled by men of a certain age. 

Watching the IT Crowd the other week I noticed a flaw in the basis for the episode (this is loosely connected). It was based around a web site that gave people stock quotes about football, thus enabling the most nerdish to talk with “real men”. The liberal times we live in mean that you’re just as likely to have a mixed gender conversation about whether or not Gerrard and Lampard can effectively play together; and there’s nothing wrong with that.

No, the last preserve of male only conversation is cloying nostalgia for children’s programmes.

One of the weird consequences of Oliver Postgate’s death is that it proved a catalyst for exposing the facade of chumminess the Conservative Party have been carefully crafting. In the absence of policy the principle reason for the Conservatives claim on Government seems to be David Cameron is a nice BLOKE. He’s the sort of bloke you could go down the pub with and he wouldn’t be afraid to put his hand in his pocket.

In all likelihood David probably drinks pints of gold and frequents the sort of places that wouldn’t let me look at the door let alone walk through it.

The veneer of a sculptured  “everyman” was cruelly exposed by Radio 5 on Tuesday. On being told that Oliver Postgate had died David Cameron was asked what he thought. He told Nicky Campbell that he didn’t really understand the Clangers and preferred Ivor the Engine. The idiot. 

Everyone knows that Ivor the Engine was a bit crap. They had to write a dragon into it to try and maintain their dwindling audience. The Clangers was set in space with chickens. What is there not to understand?

My reaction to the news that Oliver Postgate was very much along the lines of “who is he?” Obviously I know the programmes as well as everyone else, but I’ve never known the name of the bloke that made them. To be honest if you’d asked me last week I would have assumed he was already dead.

The thing that has most struck me this week, as we’ve been shown clips of Bagpuss and the Clangers, is how relevant they continue to be today.

Much of my time recently has been taken up playing Little Big Planet. It truly is the natural successor of all of those children’s programmes from years ago. The irony is that it is the first game that has given a true representation of real life objects, which works because we can use Bagpuss as a frame of reference.  

Also, as we’ve heard this week, such classics as Bagpuss and the Clangers were made in a barn using household objects that had been left lying around. Little Big Planet gives us the tools to create similar scenes in the comfort of our own homes. 

So in a roundabout way I’m trying to say that Little Big Planet is a fitting tribute to a man whom I’d never heard of until Tuesday.  


Posted in Games, Media | Comments (1)

One Response to “Master of Puppets”

  1. Maffu Says:

    Here are a load of commas. I found a huge pile of them at the bottom of the page, where they had obviously landed after falling out of your stories.

    I’ll try to get some more to you later but they’re very fiddly to pick up, so try to be more careful with them.

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