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Barry Took
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Letter to Barry Took
Feb 11, 1998

Dear Barry,

Saw your face in the local paper the other day. The caption read “Famed ex-Air Force trumpeter Barry ‘Quick-How-Many-Sharps-In-The-Key-Of-A-Are There?’ Took will be coming to Bath soon to chair a charity evening in aid of something or other”, and I remember saying to the wife as I read it, “Look, Barry’s coming to Bath,” and she said, “Barry’s coming to bath what?” and immediately we were off on one of our interminable wrangles.

But that is not what I am writing to you about.

Very recently I saw you on a tribute to Kenny Everett on the culture channel, delivering a verdict so profound that I couldn’t quite make out what you meant.

Nor is that what I am writing to you about.

This is it.

Recently I have been presenting a series of 6 half hour TV programmes for BBC Wales and only seen in Wales, on eccentric Welsh families (they weren’t that eccentric – most of them refused to admit they were Welsh, which shows great good sense) and the executive producer, who is called Simon Heaven, poor chap, said the next series he was planning was a social history of rugby.

“You ought to get in a bit of that great comic sketch,” I said, “ where they portrayed the spread of rugby, with the public schoolboys trying to describe the game to each other…”

“Which one is that?” he said.

“Oh” I said, with faltering memory, “when one of the boys says, ‘look, you two bend over and put your arms round each other and I’ll put my head between your bottoms…’ and it goes on like that and he is more or less lynched on the spot as a pervert…”

“Who did the sketch?” he said. “I’d love to have it. I must have it.”

But I can’t remember who did it.

But if anyone can, you can.

Can’t you?

I was really sad about Frank Muir’s death. He was extremely nice to me. Mark you, I was extremely nice to him. I have always been nice to people taller than me. Sally, his daughter, lives about ten minutes away on the edge of Bath, married to Geoffrey Wheatcroft the metropolitan journalist.

Dear Barry, do you need sustenance and food and drink and/or a hand to hold when you come to Bath? Don’t forget that you have two candidates – a cousin, Tim, and someone smaller than you, me.

If the rugby thing means anything to you, let me know.

Caroline sends lots of love to you and Lynn and so do I.

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