I’ve been watching stuff and assessing the talents of VW (‘Vic’) Wood. And one of my favourite jokes of hers cannot easily be conveyed in print. Talking of a particularly repressed group of women (the Finsbury Park Townswomen’s Guild, perhaps)*reacting to a slightly unorthodox shade of hat, she stops to look at the camera:
‘There’ll be an outcry,’ she says. ‘They’ll all go ____’. And in that moment she folds her arms, raises her eyes to heaven and goes ‘tuh!’** Like I say, hard to convey in print.
Because she’s female it’s hard to spot that she is in fact the typical Northern comic: fast-talking, hard-hitting and down-to-earth. Tarbie was a great fan, though the views of Les Dawson are unclear. But she’s so much more than that, writing sketches, songs, sitcoms and perhaps best of all, pastiches. ‘Acorn Antiques’ was a classic and I’ll never forget her skit on ‘Brief Encounter’:
She was also very generous, giving some of her best parts to other people.
Her comedy didn’t target you; it included you. It was the sort of comedy you’d write yourself if only you were funny enough and brave enough.
Ah well, we can’t all be comics. Some of us have to be poets.
Watch this though: it’s been on before, but it’s good. RIP Vic, we will miss you.
PS the title doesn’t mean anything: I just couldn’t resist the play on words.
*I’ll be getting complaints now from the Finsbury Park Townswomen’s Guild
**I asked Mark how he would represent a ‘tut’ in writing: he said ‘I’d use a phonetic symbol. There’s one like an ‘equals’ sign which is used in numerous African languages for clicks, and so on.’
Well, I did ask…