“Remember, remember, remember, remember, remember, remember, remember, remember, remember you’re a….sorry. Can we go again? Not quite sure what happened there! Dried completely! My fault” says Uncle Bulgaria, adjusting his headphones.
Songwriter producer Mike Batt, himself greying round the temples, puts his head in his hands, while an embarrassed Uncle Bulgaria shrugs and manages a brave smile, and the engineer hits the stop button.
“Remember you’re a Womble” reminds Batt for the twelfth time that afternoon, this time with a tiny quiver of impatience. “That’s true,” says Tobermory, who like Uncle Bulgaria is sitting at the microphone of the famous Abbery Road Studio 3, for the re-issue of the 1974 hit. “We are Wombles, ” declares Orinoco, sagely. “That much is plain. Oh yes. The Wombles of Twickenham, no Wimbledon! That’s us. So, er…? What is it we’ve got to remember exactly?
“Remember you’re a Womble!” says Batt, whose patience and professionalism is clearly at risk after three hours in studio with the elderly animals. Ironically, Mr Batt had the idea to re-issue the single as a fundraiser for dementia research. The five surviving Wombles nod, tut, shrug, adjust spectacles and headphones and wait for the backing track. “Remembering your own species is one thing,” mutters Madame Cholet, “Song lyrics is another thing altogether.”
Two days after the session, Mr Batt announces the track cannot be re-released, due to “musical differences”. Dr Melvyn Normanton, an expert on veterinary dementia explained that this particular species is particularly prone, pointing to recent news that Wombles’ possessions weren’t just 'the things that the everyday folks leave behind.' “In actual fact, this is simply more evidence of their confusion,” said Dr Normanton.
Other elderly children’s characters fare much better when it comes to memory, according to new research. Despite Weed being a regular feature of their life on and off screen, Bill and Ben are word perfect. And Sooty’s authorised biography “Bear With Me” by his long-term co-star Sweep, pays tribute:
Sweep writes: ‘At 97, my dear friend Sooty still has all his marbles, except those he used to cause injury in Episode 439, entitled Matthew’s Roller Skates.’
hat tip to ianslat