Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On sticking your nose into local tourism where it's not wanted

On sticking your nose into local tourism where it's not wanted

Yer actual pre-Shakin' Weymouth King's StatueThe premise: One of Weymouth's better known landmarks is a colourful – yet crumbling – statue of King George III, who – at the height of his reign - used to take regular holidays in the town. If you ask me, he must have been bloody mental.

The statue has been undergoing expensive and long-running repairs and has been hidden under a tarpaulin for the best part of a year, prompting a number of whining letters to the local rag on who might be footing the bill for Mad George's touch-up.

Time, then, for local celebrity Kim Jong-Il (no relation) to uncover the truth, no matter how uncomfortable – and how rockin' – it is:

Dear the Dorset Echo

Intrigued that I am after reading recent readers' letters regarding the King's Statue in Weymouth, I have made a point of finding out about the renovation of our town's most prestigious landmark.

I am delighted to report that much of the funding for this project had been provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund; so unless you set about scratch-cards in the same way my charming wife and I used to scratch our legs after a visit to Weymouth's famous old flea-pit cinema, this won't be costing you a bean.

However, I have it on the lowest of authorities that the reason the job has taken so long has been a dispute over the status of the King himself. In a move seen by some as political correctness gone mad, old King George has been seen by do-gooders as "too white ruling class" and are in the process of replacing Mad George with a King that will mean more to our inclusive, modern society: ELVIS.

Of course, this has led to even more ructions at Lottery HQ, with opinion divided between Young Elvis, Comeback Special Elvis or Old Fat Vegas Elvis. In the end, they settled for a healthy compromise in Welsh Elvis-a-like Shakin' Stevens, modelled on his highly successful 'This Ole House' era. A fine choice for the people of Weymouth, I think you will agree.

Shakin' - who can only be admired for going through life with such an unusual first name - will be in the region for a concert at Lulworth Castle in July. It would be great if this all-singin', all-dancin', (and dare I say it?) all-shakin' tribute to the great man could be unveiled by then.

Would I lie to you?

Mr Kim, Portland
Status: PUBLISHED – For the WIN! And nary a mention of those 300-foot, floodlit Kylie Minogue statues that got me into all those problems with local planning officers, either.

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