Friday, 7 February 2014

'Ant Rap' - Adam And The Ants (1981)

“All things lively must be used.”

Going to the dentist after school. Nothing worse. “Slight over-exaggeration perhaps, Michael?” Nope. You’ve already had to endure hours of double Science, orienteering (is that really a thing outside school?) in the driving rain, and an assembly about the dangers of climbing electrical pylons. And now you have to be picked up straight from end-of-day registration to go get your annual dental check-up. Which means you’re going to miss Danger Mouse, Dramarama and Blue Peter - and today they’re making a TARDIS out of a shoe box. And it will never be repeated as no-one has bothered inventing video recorders or the Internet yet. Argh!       

Oh, and guess what? To prolong the torture, you’ll be kept waiting in the stuffy, windowless dentist’s reception room for an age. (An ‘age’ being more than three minutes in any young kid’s mind, of course.) And the TV in there is always broken, so no chance of seeing that TARDIS get built. Instead you can listen to the intermittent sound of drills and screaming. While watching a goldfish being victimised by a toddler throwing faux-Lego bricks in its tank. 

So far, all pretty much the norm. But today, on this late Tuesday afternoon in the early ‘80s, a new dimension of horror awaits. Oh, yes. For today I’m not (finally) being called to the dentist’s room. Today I’m being led down a new corridor. To a new door. That opens up to reveal giant steps down in to a darkened basement (you didn’t expect it to be a well-lit basement, did you?). This can’t be right. Hey, stop shoving. Ok, I’m going. Down. Down.

What’s this? Why is Worzel Gummidge here? This is most odd. And somewhat terrifying. Why is my dentist secreting a life-sized model of Jon Pertwee dressed as ITV’s Saturday evening scarecrow superstar? And can we put some proper lights on instead of this weird red glow?

To this day, I do not know the link between good dental hygiene and that chamber of fear. Was this some UK-wide Government initiative or the machinations of a lone dental practitioner with a love for anthropomorphic farm-based characters? Was tatty old Worzel meant to represent a state of decay that would shock you in to brushing your teeth more? Or was he meant to be a welcoming face for children? I would have gone for Metal Mickey instead. 

I do know that I spent half an hour scared witless while chewing some tablets that turned my mouth red. And that Worzel came back to haunt my sleep that night. And the night after. And, to be honest, he’ll probably be coming back tonight after this.   

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