Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(107) Spider in the bath

V
On October 4th 1994 my colleague, James White, came back from lunch into the offices of Goodwill Communications.
He was rather tipsy and remarked to my other colleague, Alex Cockburn that he now knew what the three year olds of Britain were watching: Spider in the Bath.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtSlXeV_WlA&feature=related

This video was apparently all the rage with tiny tots. His ex-wife had just sent him a copy of it prior to their three year old daughter visiting him, since it was her favourite.

Naturally, we had all never heard of it before.
James began to give a merry account of how the video began and then went on to suggest that perhaps our firm could alter its logo and send out literature headed "R.A.T.A in the bath", R.A.T.A being the acronym of a newly-formed Russian travel association which we were representing.

And the daft humour went on in this vein for several minutes, with many silly suggestions such as putting on the company paperwork a picture of two spider eyes protruding from a bath overflow.

By now we were all laughing heartily, but agreed that the theme had been well milked and that we ought to get down to the serious business of selling advertising space.

I telephoned a yacht broker in Cannes, a company called Figurehead.

I was put through to the lady in charge of yacht charter, a Mrs Sylvie Roman.
I was still feeling quite jovial and, crazily, I even mentioned to her that we were all talking about Spider in the Bath, without even saying what that was.

"Oh, Spider in the Bath! I like it very much!", she exclaimed.

"You’ve seen it?", I asked.

"Yes. I often watch it."

She explained that one of her best friends was an American from Florida who had recently stayed with her. Mrs Roman had no children but her friend did and in the U.S.A she had hired the services of an au pair, an English girl "... from Hull, I think."

In June the American lady had brought the same au pair with her to Cannes and the girl had brought this BBC video with her, "... to amuse the kids, I suppose", and had then left it behind by mistake. Mrs Roman had become enchanted with it and frequently played it through.

By the time she had recounted this to me I, with an incredulous Alex ("That is cosmic!") listening in, was helpless with laughter and the tears were streaming down my face at the fantastic unlikelihood of this French woman being able to continue our childish joke.
We were all caught between amazement and hilarity.

The BBC video Spider in the Bath features the cartoon character ‘Spider’. This beastie made his first appearance on TV in 1991 and became a big hit. The five minute video had not been out for long.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider!_%28TV_series%29

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