network news: interview with a teletubby 1 2 3

tinky winky  



NN: Alright, onto the prepared questions - tell me about how you planned to assassinate the Queen.

DT: I never actually planned to assassinate the Queen. It was a misunderstanding on the part of the Special Branch. What happened was, I was with Turnham here, and we lived in Totnes at the time and he needed a spare part for his Kawasaki 250 triple cylinder motorbike. So we set off to go to Plymouth - to where we could buy the spare part - from the railway station in Totnes. This was a very long time ago. We got to the little private café place that was at Totnes station and we were having a cup of coffee because we had time before our train was due to leave and the lady was behind the counter with coffees and all the Twixes and things. And there was a certificate authorising her to be on the station the following Wednesday. And we said "why do you need this?" and she said "well, because the Queen is going to be passing through Totnes station on an unofficial visit to see Prince Andrew, who at the time was studying at the Royal Naval college at Dartmouth, the naval officers' college. And she pointed out how the royal train was going to be coming down to Totnes, the Queen would then get off and get into a royal Rolls Royce to drive the remainder of the journey to Dartmouth. And she said that just because of this, not an official visit, just an unofficial journey, they were putting fresh shale, you know gravel along the railway line…

(At this point Tinky's voice speeds up to resemble that of a children's puppet character and the tape goes silent. Damn, damn, damn! Trust me to use a crappy old BT answerphone microcassette in this old Sony M-5 machine I bought from a car booter.. I should have brought my flashy new minidisk recorder . So much for the assassination story - in a nutshell it was something to do with a remark he made to his friend Turnham and some plain clothes cop who was lurking at the station heard it, and then they got their flat raided. Let's see if I recorded anything on the other side of the tape. Oh shit, it all sounds like a speeded up puppet show now…with everyone all talking at once….oh..and now it's settled down a bit …)

NN: You're a bit of a postcard nut, aren't you?

DT: I love postcards. I just like the medium of the postcard. I like to send postcards as well. I like to send postcards to Turnham. I just think there's something nice about a picture and then the space for a few words, or a little drawn picture maybe and the fact that it's a small town he lives in and that the postman obviously talks to people and reads all the embarrassing stuff.

I've commissioned a postcard of my flat, just as an elaborate joke really, because I collect postcards and I had a certain type of style I wanted. I went to John Hinde to get it done. This is the sort I like, I like these sort of old-fashioned ones. (he picks up a bundle of assorted postcards)

NN: With colour retints

DT: And John Hinde were very good at getting the sort of look I wanted. I don't think these are John Hinde.

NN: In the case of the Teletubbies, they recycle images and they do the same thing with these cards.

DT: Yes, here they've got the same picture with different captions.

NN: I've got a lovely one at home of a motorway service station in Germany, beautiful it is.

DT: I love odd, not obvious postcards, not obvious subjects.

NN: Were you selling these in the proper shops?

DT: No, I've made a couple of very half-hearted attempts to sell them, because I had this minimum print run of three thousand. The couple that I've gone to, they said that the people who supply their postcards don't allow other postcards in the rack. It's like we give you the rack and you sell our postcards and if you put any other cards in we won't allow it. I also tried putting them in those Boomerang free postcard ones that you get in Holland - and they got removed by the people. So I haven't really worked at it but I would like to sell them, not out of an ego thing but just because I'd like to get some money back to commission another one. I'd like to get more postcards done.

NN: What would the follow up be?

DT: I'd like to get maybe another one of my flat, but one of those multi-view ones where you get a picture of the lounge, a picture of the bedroom, bathroom. And maybe the sugar sachets, I collect sugar sachets as well, and matches.

I'd like to also just do ones of well-known sights and then have completely surreal comments, like the little bit of blurb is just completely wrong. Not outlandishly so, but you get lots of humorous cards that are obviously humorous cards but I'd like to get ones that you can only just tell by looking fairly close. There are a couple of hotels near where I live and I did mean to take the postcards to the hotels and try and get them to stock them. But the first hotel I went to, there was a European guy behind the counter who wasn't very interested and he was quite busy and he said I'd have to come back and talk to Monsieur somebody or other. I never got round to it. But I'd like to get postcards made and have some sort of outlet for selling them because I love the medium of the postcard.

NN: This question is from the art critic, Stewart Home, he says "Do you prefer gerbils or ferrets when you're having pet shop sex?"

DT: Well, I don't actually know what pet shop sex is, but I guess it's when they put the little rodent up the bottom? I've never had it and nor would I ever want to have it so therefore I can't really say, is it gerbils or weasels?

NN: Ferrets.

DT: If I did go for it, then if I was a cow or an elephant maybe I'd prefer a ferret. But otherwise I would prefer a gerbil. But ideally I think I'd like a woman who was made much smaller. But I'm not really anally oriented to be honest, I just use my bottom for shitting out of, and farting. I'm much more into using my penis on a woman's body.

NN: What's the most interesting thing you've put your penis into?

DT: I would say "a woman". Or my right hand. Or a Kleenex.

NN: But you put it into a Teletubby though.

DT: Well, into the costume of a Teletubby.

NN: Okay then, we'll talk about conspiracy theory. Apparently Cornwall was first settled by the Egyptians. In 'The Afterglow Essays' published by Rendel Harris in the 1930s, Cornish place names (such as the Camel River) are traced back to their Egyptian roots…

There is a loud wet trumpy sound as Tinky Winky lets rip into the Sony microcassette-recorder, much to the amusement of our companions. I'm glad I didn't use my flashy new minidisk recorder after all.

dave thompson A Network News Exclusive. Copyright 2000.


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