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Saturday, December 05, 2020

Michael Bentine Blows It

 From Harry Secombe's autobiography 'Arias and Raspberries'

Mike was always good company, so when one Sunday, early on in our acquaintance, he invited me to spend the day with him at the house of a recently-acquired girlfriend, I accepted readily.

She lived with her family in the outer suburbs of London, and as neither of us had a car, we took the train. It was a lovely summer afternoon, and the house was quite grand. The company consisted of the girl's mother and father and an aunt, who were all dazzled by the brilliance of Mike's conversation.

Throughout a beautifully cooked meal he regaled us with stories of his days in repertory with Robert Atkins, and when it came to playing a spot of croquet on the lawn he beat everybody, performing wonders with his mallet. At tea, which was sumptuous and extremely filling - especially after our huge lunch he enthralled us with tales of his adventures in the Air Force. By the end of our visit everyone, including myself, was captivated by Mike's wit and eloquence.

Farewells were said, and then the three ladies decided to walk us to the station, leaving the father behind. Mike enlivened the short walk with descriptions of ballets he had seen,and as we walked on to the gravel leading to the station platform, he decided to show us Nijinsky's famous leap as performed in The Spectre Of The Rose.

He took a little run and leapt into the air. Unfortunately, the amount of food Mike had consumed throughout the day - the roast beef and apple tart at lunch and the pastries and the boiled ham at tea - proved too much and as he took off he gave vent to a blast from his nether regions. It was gargantuan, and had it been properly harnessed it would have propelled him over the roof of the railway station. It seemed to me that the shock of it actually delayed his return to earth, exactly like Nijinsky's celebrated leap.

I immediately collapsed in hysterics against the wall of the station, and the three ladies, who were standing watching arm in arm, abruptly turned round and began to walk off without a backward glance. Mike followed them for a few steps, making little raspberry sounds with his mouth in a vain attempt to convince them that he had made the sound from that end. But their retreating backs offered no forgiveness. He turned to where I lay, kicking my heels in the gravel in helpless, uncontrolled laughter, and, seeing the funny side of the incident himself, he joined in the hysteria.


A K Haart said...

"a vain attempt to convince them..."

So it doesn't usually work? Curses.

Paddington said...

That's when you know you've found "the one". When they pretend to believe you.

Scrobs. said...

Who can say it better than this gentleman...