Wednesday, June 12, 2024

our father who art in heaven, I lost my mess in pew eleven

One other thing, also tangentially book-related: we went to a family gathering last week and it was held in the Community Centre in the village of Acton Trussell, which we've been to before as it's conveniently located near to several of Hazel's extended family. I see that I mentioned it briefly once before, as the book I was reviewing (William Maxwell's They Came Like Swallows) was one that I'd acquired from their quite extensive shelves on a previous visit. I see that at the time there was an honesty box in place; this seems to have gone now, probably as a result of no-one carrying small-denomination coins around any more post-COVID. Instead there seems to be some sort of loose book-swap scheme in place where you're encouraged to swap in a book when you take one out. Sadly I didn't come armed with any spare books, so I am now in credit to the tune of a couple of slim paperbacks and need to redress the balance on my next visit. 

I was also musing over the name of the village in my head on the drive up as it seemed faintly reminiscent of something I remembered from somewhere else, and it finally came to me in the latter stages of the journey (somewhere on the M6 I'd guess) - the name of the fictitious village of Stackton Tressell inhabited by cross-dressing comedy duo Hinge & Bracket in their various radio and TV programmes (and the occasional sherry advert) in the 1970s and 1980s was (a bit of Googling revealed) based on the real-life village of Acton Trussell, which just happens to have been where Patrick Fyffe, who played Dame Hilda Bracket, was born. George Logan, who played Dr. Evadne Hinge, was born near Glasgow, since you ask. Dear Ladies, which ran on BBC2 from 1983 to 1985, is the particular Hinge & Bracket vehicle that I remember - I would describe it as gentle comedy evoking the occasional wry chuckle rather than any pant-wetting hilarity.

Also spotted on one of the notice boards in the main hall while I was there was this frankly mind-boggling bit of groovy-vicar desperate grasping at young-person relevance and engagement. I mean I genuinely think that if Jesus were with us today - and, in a very real sense, he is, of course - he'd be rolling about in a paddling pool full of custard, or whatever it is that Messy Church implies.

I mean, even if you can get past the Charlotte Church jokes, there's still a faintly sniggery element here, and it would be highly advisable for their promotional video segments to be a bit more careful about phrasing than they seem to have been about ten seconds in here; the phrase "people just coming in all their mess" would probably have best been avoided.

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