Martin Lampen's Bubblegum Machine

Rootie Tootie - Hank Williams

Hank Williams
Just as folks are always amazed when you tell them that Papa Doc Duvalier preceeded Sir Christopher Bland as Chairman of London Weekend Television, the ill-informed are similarly aghast when you tell them that the greatest poet of the Twentieth Century was - with all respect - a drunken yokel from Alabama.

Often referred to as the 'Hillbilly Shakespeare', Hank Williams died at the age of 29 in 1953. He looked like he was 50... A dichotomy that reminds me of an ex-colleague; he was also apparently 29, but I suspect he had some sort of premature ageing condition: he kept an allotment, wore, without complaint, the burgandy-colour knitwear purchased for him by his wife, shopped at The North Face outlet store near Oxford and took one of those effervescent-just-add-to-water Vitamin C and echinacea tablets each morning.

Hank Williams Sr. has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Honk Tonk Hall of Fame, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Recording Academy Grammy Hall Of Fame and the Native American Music Hall of Fame.

From the Amusement Park Hall of Fame to the Corporate Mascot Hall of Fame (recent inductees include Uncle Ben and the Pillsbury Doughboy), in the US, there is a Hall of Fame for every 3 man, woman and child. Bob Hope is in all of them

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Tom Green County Fair - Roger Miller

Here's yet another member of the Country Music Hall of Fame (not forgetting the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Carson City Chamber of commerce Hall of Fame): urbane, laconic finger-clickin troubadour and King of the Road, Roger Miller.

Miller's biggest UK hit was 1964 no.1 England Swings...

"En-ga-land sings like a pendulum do. Bobbies on bicycles two-by-two. Westminster Abbey and the tower of Big Ben. The rosy-red cheeks of the little chil-dren."

The County Fair is an American institution comparable to the both the British rural county fair (but with 100% less damson produce stalls) and 100% more pork and pancake batter products on sticks) and the British travelling fairground (but with 100% less attempted abductions and 100% more kissing booths and pie-eating competitions).

Call it rose tinted tourist stuff. Call it flowery fudge box romanticism. I call it lies: London is a dirty, miserable, soot streaked hellhole. I've never once seen a Pearly King or a cheery Bobby, It's full of smug wankers riding fold-up bikes, no one tips their hat a merry "good morn" and it costs six fifty pounds to travel two stops on the tube .

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Roger Miller
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Written and Illustrated by Martin Lampen

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