Thursday, 9 February 2012

The insoluble mystery of The Simon Dickens Show

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When I was an infant at primary school, boys would gather kids to play games by marching around the playground in a line, with their arms over each others shoulder, chanting the name of the game over and over. Like 'Up and down, up and down...' or 'Brit-tish-bull-dogs, 'Brit-tish-bull-dogs'.

A boy who wanted to join the game would join the end of the line, putting his arm over the shoulder of the last kid, and join the chanting.

These lines might end up with a dozen or twenty kids in them for a mass game like Up and Down, sweeping up virtually all the kids by a kind of physical intimidation. Or else there might be a small group of three or four who would go off an play a game amongst themselves.

One such game was The Simon Dickens Show - announced by the chant:

'All in who wants to play the Si-mon Dickens Show, All in who wants to play the Si-mon Dickens Show...'

This line never amounted to more than about four boys, but the game continued week after week.

What was it? Simon Dickens was a kid who had attracted a small clique of devoted disciples, and I disapproved of this. I regarded him as being conceited for naming a game after himself: such things should not be encouraged.

So I never joined the game, never found out what happened in The Simon Dickens Show although I burned with curiosity to find out.

I seems I shall go to my grave with this mystery unsolved.. .

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