Dobson could be a very prescient man. Imagine for a moment a world where the magazine racks in newsagentâ€™s shops contain titles like Nunc Dimitis and Look, Cogitate & Learn and The Weekly Cranium, rather than Pap! and Fluffyhead! and Tat! It was like that once, in the middle of the last century. And it was in such a world that Dobson woke up one morning, went downstairs and ate bloaters for breakfast, and polished his Montenegrin hunting boots, and walked out into the rain with a surprising sense of purpose. He had had one of his bright ideas, and he was going to act on it without delay.
He did not pause by the illegal butcherâ€™s shop, nor by the Tundist Owl Library, nor at the lido nor the pie shop nor the allotments, but strode onwards to a pond at the very edge of town where a fledging television programme making unit had set up cameras to record a documentary about swans. A Quaint, Black And White Look At Some Swans Near A Pond was planned as a primetime series for later that year, and would prove to be the most popular show of the decade. It was that sort of world.
Elbowing his way through a security cordon, Dobson identified the producer, seized him by the collar, and dragged him off to one side.
â€œI have an idea for a television series,â€ he shouted at the pipe-smoking, cardigan-wearing weakling who crumpled in awe of the out of print pamphleteer.
â€œI suggest,â€ continued Dobson, â€œThat you immediately stop filming these confounded swans and instead take up my brilliant idea, which is as follows. You gather together roughly a dozen well-known persons, all of whom tend to be flibbertigibbets by nature, and you lock them in an attic for two months. You then film them, being flibbertigibbets in an attic. The programme would be called Celebrity Flibbertigibbet Attic, and I have absolutely no doubt that it will be a hit, a palpable hit!â€
The scrawny television producer squirmed free from Dobsonâ€™s importunate grasp, and thumped back through the mud towards where his team was filming over one hundred and twenty hours of swan footage. He paused only to re-light his pipe, which had gone out after a fleck of Dobsonâ€™s spittle landed slap in the middle of the bowl.
Further reading : inadvisable.