All ready to be a rat – until I heard of a Dogg

By Charlotte Hofton

Published on Friday, February 08, 2013 - 11:14


All ready to be a rat – until I heard of a Dogg

Bob Geldof. Picture © Scarlet Page.

THE VIEW FROM HERE I MAY have been a little hasty last week in suggesting the Island should try some negative advertising in an innovative effort to boost visitor numbers.

That, however, was before I heard the fabulous news we are to be visited by the Boomtown Rats, a development which alters everything.

I can scarcely remember anything which has thrilled me as much as this announcement. Not only will history be made when Bob Geldof’s band reunites for the first time in 26 years at this year’s IW Festival but the place will be awash with those gorgeous Boomtown Rats, possibly the most glamorous rodent infestation since Minnie and Mickey Mouse arrived in Disneyland.

"I just feel it’s the right time to re-Rat, to go back to Boomtown for a visit," said Mr Geldof when the revival was announced.

Yes, indeed, Bob, and the Island is terrifically grateful to be chosen as your Boomtown. We had been thinking we were Slumpsville, what with one thing and another, but now we’re to be the focus of this momentous Re-Rat experience, we can hold our heads high.

I have for some time nurtured an ambition to be a Boomtown Rat myself. The title carries with it a certain urban chic, which I have often thought would suit my own persona.

And there’s plenty of room for another Rat. They started off with six members but they’re now down to four after various changes, including the departure of somebody called Johnny Fingers.

Oh yes, I’m confident I could be the next Johnny Fingers. Of course I never imagined there would be an opportunity to realise this goal but now I can seize my chance.

I have therefore been studying Boomtown behaviour, particularly in relation to ratty habits when on the Island.

Although the full company of Rats have never previously visited us, Bob Geldof has given a valuable insight into how it should be done.

"I always fancied playing the IW Festival ever since I hitched there in the good/bad days when I was a kid," he reveals. I’m not actually too keen on hitching but I’m sure Bob won’t mind if his latest Rat comes along in her little Peugeot.

Back then, Bob saw lots of "cool bands" on the Island and as long as I’m briefed about what bands might be cool, this should be no problem.

But now it gets tricky, as Bob details the high point of his visit.

"I also told several very boring frog anarchist types to go and f*** themselves and then stayed for a night in Hawkwind’s tent. That’s pretty IW."

I don’t know if Mr Thornton, our new tourism bloke, will be using Bob’s endorsement as the embodiment of what the IW represents but I’m slightly less enthusiastic about becoming a Boomtown Rat if it means I’ve got to confront frog anarchists and stay in Hawkwind’s tent.

I’ve never actually heard of Hawkwind.

Is he a gentleman? Will I be safe in his tent?

Oh, no, hang on, here we are on Google and it turns out Hawkwind is a rock band, whose members include someone known as Dead Fred.

That’s it. I’m very pleased the Boomtown Rats will be visiting us but I have no intention of spending the night with Dead Fred surrounded by frog anarchists who may have turned ugly after I’ve told them to go and f*** themselves.

Actually, I may go to Bestival instead. What opportunities could I find there?

Somebody called Snoop Dogg is coming, which sounds nice and certainly superior to a rat.

Is he a sort of canine Sherlock? Could I be his Dr Watson? Might we make it to Crufts?

Language of the pram is about right for school

IF our schools continue to fail, the kids might as well prepare themselves for the shambles which will greet them as they embark on what is laughingly known as their "education". 

And what better way to get used to the idea of a complete cock-up than the government’s latest loopy idea, which will allow childminders singlehandedly to look after six two-year-olds for hours on end?

Children’s minister Liz Truss has compounded this bonkers notion with the requirement for some of these carers to have GCSEs in maths and English. Leaving aside the problem of finding enough recruits on the Island with these ambitious qualifications, why are they necessary in any case? 

Physics and mechanical engineering would be more useful if you’re going to have to work out how to fit six toddlers into one buggy and then manoeuvre all those straps and buckles into place. 

As for English, we all know the basic toddler vacabulary consists of "Nah-nah-glug-bubby-boo." 

Still, that should suit the academic standards of the Island. No need for them to progress any further as they advance from nursery to classroom.

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