Here comes Kitten Kon

Goodies Geeks from around the nation (and a couple from overseas) converged on Melbourne this weekend for the world’s first ever Goodies convention. Australia is full of people in their twenties and thirties who fondly remember The Goodies as the result of endless 6pm repeats on the ABC for most of the 70’s and 80’s. In fact the show is probably better known in Australia than anywhere else in the world.

Was it something I said?

The first day of the convention was Friday, and I went along to the Dallas Brooks Centre, which amusingly, being a Masonic centre, had lots of pictures of blokes in aprons around the place. First person I saw waiting in the foyer was local stand-up comedian Dave O’Neill, and soon after talking him was Kate Langbroek from The Panel. Turns out a Comedy Channel TV crew were with them, doing a little chat with the convention guest, Goody Tim Brooke-Taylor.

Tim, rather unexpectedly for most of us, showed up shortly afterwards, and shook hands with everyone in a row (a bit like the Queen) and was very cheerful. A few of the girls asked for (and got) hugs, though most of the blokes settled for a simple handshake. Apart from being extremely nice, he also struck me – and it wasn’t just me, other people thought so – as being a bit shorter than expected. Because The Goodies was full of gags about Bill being shorter than Graeme and Tim, this was something of a surprise. He claimed later he was 5 foot 9, and then admitted 5 foot 8 and three quarters, which was probably about right.

Afterwards I attempted to mingle, rather than be doomed to spend the whole weekend not getting to know anybody present, and found myself chatting to a couple of fellow Goodies fans, trying (successfully) to work out the significance of the objects in the convention "show" bag.

We settled into tables for the Trivia Night, and our team ("Twinkle", named after the Giant Kitten) didn’t do too badly. We didn’t win, but we were only about 5 points behind the leader at the end of the game, and we impressed ourselves several times with some of the extremely trivial and obscure answers we managed to get right. It was a mix of questions, some about The Goodies, some about other Brit TV shows. All in all it required the winning participants to have a quite alarming amount of their brain capacities set aside for Goodies, Python, and other Britcom quotes, theme music, and various other (normally useless) trivia.

Thanks to my sister and mum babysitting on Saturday I was able to attend a handful of sessions; a fascinating question and answer session with TBT, where he once again showed his charm and wit, answering any number of questions in a highly amusing manner. Following this was an charity auction, during which a few individuals stood out as having vast sums of money to purchase various Goodies and other memorabilia. The girl sitting next to me bought a brilliant publicity photo of the three Goodies, which she later got signed by Tim at the autograph session, and planned to have framed.

I came back after dinner for the video linkup, where Tim chatted with and took questions for Graeme Garden (plus, for a few seconds, a really bad toupee) and Bill Oddie, back somewhere in England. That was terrific, both BO and GG were very funny, and related some very amusing stories, such as when Bill was performing The Last Chance Dance, and jokingly said the normally partially obscured line of the song "I suppose a fuck is out of the question?" to an audience member, and was told "No!". I think all three Goodies were rather bemused that there should be so much enthusiasm in Australia for a 30-year-old programme that most of the rest of the world seems to have forgotten.

When the chat finished up, a few people, myself included, went next door for a drink or two and a dance in the brilliantly named Disco Billius (another show reference), before I headed home.

On Sunday I caught the afternoon question and answer session, which covered some more good stories, such as that Tim was one of the original Four Yorkshiremen and that it took him years for the Pythons’ agents to give him any hint of royalties for it.

All in all, a great weekend of Goodies. And with my renewed interest in the show, Isaac has been hooked. He wants to see the Giant Kitten episode, and has been walking around singing "Goodies… Goody Goody Yum Yum" most of the weekend.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.