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Thursday, 19 October 2006

Ian Dury Solar-Powered Memorial Bench Update - Update...

Train driver to the stars* and all round sexy-mo-fo-former-postman to the stars**, Howesy has posted up an update on the state of Ian's memorial in Richmond Park.

It seems that, although there's been an improvement, things still aren't quite as we'd want them.

Anyroad, I wrote the following to Pavilion Design, the people who came up with the idea for the bench:

Hi Mil and Bob,

I’m writing on behalf of a few cyber friends (as well as music lovers the world over) to advise you that the bench you created to honour the memory of much loved singer Ian Dury has fallen into some state of disrepair. This is a post a friend put up recently describing the current condition of the memorial:

This is an update as to the condition of the bench in Poet's Corner, Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, where Ian Dury liked to go in the last stages of his illness.... The last time I visited, one of the feeds was working, the other headphone socket had been damaged. This time, both headphone sockets were okay, but something else was wrong and the audio wasn't running. I don't know how it works exactly, but I wonder if the solar panels feed batteries which power the audio loops? Could the batteries be knackered? The bench is decorated with little plaques saying the bench is sponsored by Warner/Chappell music, I contacted them to report the damage about 2 years ago and heard nothing. Maybe we should try them again to get this fixed? It's a lovely memorial in a lovely part of the park, and it's such a shame that it hasn't survived very well.

(Please click on the link below to read the full post and see a recent photo of the bench.)

There was a lot of interest from readers of our blogs concerning the lack of upkeep of the bench. A friend spoke to Richmond parks department a few weeks back and they promised action which may well have been forthcoming as some of the initial problems seem to have been resolved, but there is obviously still a problem with the audio content of the installation.

I realise that the bench is a long way from your base in Glasgow and probably no longer the responsibility of your company, but I would ask you on behalf of the many people who expressed an interest in the memorial to do anything you can to help restore the bench to working order through liaising with Richmond parks department or other relevant agency.

I am enormously grateful for you taking the time to look into this.

Yours sincerely,


Let's hope that they can come up with something...

* i.e. Vince Hill, Bamber Gascoigne, and other well-known celebrities who might conceivably "let the train take the strain", as we all used to say - you know, he doesn't drive a train that goes to, for instance, the crab nebula or anything. Well, not yet, anyroad.

**Well, Kate O'Mara...

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  1. If a whip-round is required I'm sure you'll get quite a few people to contribute, I will.

  2. That's mighty swell of you docster - but hopefully they'll act on professional pride and see at as a high profile ad for their company that they won't want to reflect badly on them - or at leat get Warner/Chappell to stump up as they're happy enough to claim to be financing it....we'll see.

  3. Nice one Bob.
    I had that Rula Lenska on my train once...

    No, I'm not going to say the rest, I feel it would do my reputation as "innuendo free guy" no good at all.

  4. I know how to contact Baxter his son - I'll fwd this to him to see if he can perhaps help too

  5. PS: I'm glad the parks dept took it seriously though. I reckon Howester's right - seems like the bench needs a bit of an MOT. I hope they don't take it away altogether because it costs too much to maintain every 3-4 years. If there is any whiff of that we can start a fund to maintain it - can't we??

  6. Please may I be A Radiographer to the Stars? Although of course I couldn't say who I've had on my PHS (Patient Handling System or "couch" as I believe the man (or woman!) in the street may understand it) as that might be a breach of medical confidence. Mind you, that Elizabeth Sladen...she's got acute (text terminates here for reasons of comic effect)

  7. Well, Kate O'Mara? I'll be the judge of that...

  8. All I seem to get is ex-Eastenders actors on my train.
    That Dr Legg...he looks just as worn out in real life as he did on the telly.

  9. It's terrible being a medical type person you are just not allowed to say 'I had that Mr. X in with a terrible dose of cockrot,' some sort of oath of confidentiality we have to stick by.

  10. Re: Eastenders type actors:
    I left Nanna Moon behind at Mortlake once. She let out a Citizen Smith type "Ooooh" as the train pulled away. Felt quite sorry for her, for about 3 seconds, before I pissed myself laughing... (I'm evil I am)

    Stray, don't tell me you've started keeping schtum about all your celeb patients? What about that sporting commentator's wooden apendage?

  11. I have far too much respect for
    Mr X to let on about that. Anyway it was his wife we scanned. Nasty case of splinters.

  12. I don't know what's worse - splinters or carpet burns!

  13. Oh goodness me! Ew!

    We should start a fund. We really should.

  14. Yes - as per my earlier comment - I think we should. I can get hold of Baxter too (his son) which might help....

  15. I didn't want to mention this earlier Robert, not wishing to come across as a grumpy reactionary old bastard, but wouldn't it require 24 hour security to keep vandals off a public bench?

  16. Thankfully I don't think it's vandals for a change - I think it's just weather, the elements.

  17. ro-mo is right, vandals aren't the problem, it's a very peaceful location, and I'm not surprised Ian liked to go there. It's more of a maintainance issue.

  18. "I left Nanna Moon behind at Mortlake once."

    I can top that, Howesy.

    My sister was one of the nurses who called in on Ethel from Easenders the night she died. It would obviously be highly unethical of me to reveal precisely what happened in the intervening minutes between Nurse Swipe entering Eth's house and her untimely demise. All I will say is, the lush had it coming to her...

  19. Not trouble with her Willy I hope..?