Dear Mr Key, writes Tim Thurn, I couldnâ€™t help noticing that in the piece about fictional athlete Bobnit Tivolâ€™s training regime, Dobson repeatedly refers to â€œsoap flakes in a boxâ€, without telling us which brand of soap flakes the champion sprinter used. This is a pity. I cannot be alone among your readers in having world-shuddering sporting ambitions, and I try to replicate the fictional athlete Bobnit Tivol approach in every particular. I have gone so far as to make my coach wear an East European raincoat and to chain smoke at the side of the track while I scamper round it. I grant you that she looks absolutely nothing like Old Halob, and is about half a century younger than he was at his peak, but youâ€™d be surprised how effective the illusion can be, especially when she starts hawking up gobbets of phlegm just like the cantankerous old rogue.
Incidentally, I am on the lookout for a black Homburg she can wear to make her look even more like Old Halob, so if any of your readers know where I might get a genuine 1940s Homburg, perhaps they could contact me through your Comments section. Iâ€™m afraid I do not know my coachâ€™s hat size, and nor, I suspect, does she. Gone are the days when people were as familiar with their hat size as with their shoe size. It is all chips and PINs now, but that doesnâ€™t wash with me. I still sprinkle cash about, whenever I go roaming, not that I have much time to roam given my busy fictional athlete Bobnit Tivol-like training schedule.
Which brings me back to the matter at hand, namely those soap flakes in a box. Was Dobson leery of advertising a brand name, or what? I am aware that he was, or at least tried to be, a pamphleteer of considerable moral fibre, but that seems to be taking things a bit far. I am sure his legion of fans would have thought no less of him if he had bandied brands like Omo or Daz in his pamphlets. When you consider that towering intellectual figures of our own day such as Isaiah