29 May 2009

Dinky toys, from Winchester Cathedral to Camden

The item on the rarest Dinky toy in the world on last night’s Channel 4 News gave me a pang of nostalgia as I glimpsed my beloved Dinky car transporter (not the actual one, but the model) on the right of screen in Nick Glass’s report.

When I was seven years old my mum and dad put me in for a choral scholarship to become a chorister at Winchester Cathedral.

To my total surprise, I got it. I heard the news in the late afternoon of the day I had sung in competition with six other boys. My father, who was a cleric and who believed himself to be a little poorer that he really was, made an unprecedented offer.

“You can have anything you want,” he cried. With ten minutes to closing time, we dashed to the toy shop. And there it was sitting in the window – a pale blue Dinky car transporter.

“That’s what I want,” I whooped. It was a whacking great sixteen shillings. My pocket money was seven old pennies at the time (it went up year on year). My father took a sharp intake of breath and we marched into the closing shop. My apparently overwhelming desire for instant gratification was sated.

But I was taken back to my chorister roots last night after doing the News. For only the second time since my choir-singing days, I found myself singing in public.

I was on the bill at the Green Note in Camden Town. A young friend, Mara Carlisle, who works at the New Horizon Youth Centre (for homeless teenagers) where I am chair, is the most gifted of blues singers.

She has recently had a contract with EMI and is now going solo on her own label. But one of her CDs is to include duets. I and the singer Will Young are to be two of her duettists.

And so it was that I found myself singing with her and her brother, guitarist Bennett, and her spiritual brother Dan on accordion, at 10.45 pm last at the Green Note.

Despite pre-performance nerves, the old voice came back and Somebody Dear went, well, er like a song, to a cheer you could have heard across the street.

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

13 reader comments

  1. Kaye Oliver says:

    It’s fine to have a video of Dinky toys but do we have to have graphics etc to
    accompany serious news items (e.g. ten pin bowling alleys, cardboard cutouts of the House of Commons)?

    1. Dennis Junior says:

      I have to agreed with Kaye Oliver’s remarks…And, Thanks Jon for the excellent story.

  2. Anthony Martin says:

    Wow! how it used to be when a child was appreciative of small items that didn’t cost a months wage! That was a great story to share.
    I had a Batmobile. It was awsome! The imagination knew no bounds, my Batmobile could do anything!
    Jon teaming up for a singing session, you’ll be on Britain’s Got Tallent next! And why not.
    I shall look out for Maras CD.

  3. Steven H. says:

    Your report last night on MPs expenses laboured heavily on a ten-pin bowling metaphor – ‘another strike and they are out’ – but that’s a reference to ‘three strikes and out’ which is from baseball. Pedantic I know, but if you’re going to spend so long on tedious graphics it would be nice to get it right.
    PS. I agree with Kaye Oliver above about heavy graphics to illustrate *every* single point. And MPs’ faces on bowling pins – why?

  4. Gavin Sheedy says:

    When shall we be hearing the news sung in verse? :)

  5. Neil says:

    Nick Clegg has got an unmoderated blog. Don’t think he’s noticed yet. The comments make for very interesting reading. Have a look before they disappear.


    1. Dennis Junior says:

      Recently, Nick Clegg has turned off his comments from the Public….

      =Dennis Junior=

  6. Saltaire Sam says:

    You have to pursue this pay out to MPs who have exploited their expenses. It’s as big a scandal as the original expenses row.

    One of the lead stories in last night’s local paper in Bradford was about a mother of four jailed for 12 months for claiming £45k income support over four years to which she was not entitled.

    Even though it was pointed out that she claimed because her drug taking husband wasn’t contributing and while it was admitted the money ‘was not spent on the high life’ she went to jail.

    We now learn that those MPs who cleaned out their moats, got rid of dry rot, switched houses, made large capital gains etc etc are to recieve a £100k pay out and a handsome pension.

    It’s surely time for revolution.

  7. phil dicks says:

    JS – you brought it all back – all those long-ago, deep-down, burnished-varnished-vanished-tarnished, must-have-forgotten-them-by-now-feelings/sensations. For you, it’s Dinky; for me it’s Thunderbird 2.

  8. Jeffrey Lam says:

    Hey just had an idea! Have you ever thought of doing a charity event or something featuring you singing? As chorister or otherwise?

    Does anyone else think this is a good idea?

  9. Toy says:

    I very like toys!

  10. Trampolines Man says:

    I’ve seen these before – they’re very similar to micro machines!

Comments are closed.