THIS WEEK ACROSS TIME – Mr Blobby: Back Into Hell
BEING THE SEASON of yuletide and all things pleasurable and happy, I thought it appropriate to examine that yearly event that so many of us the world over wait for in such antici… pation – the UK Christmas No. 1!
This cultural crowd-pleaser reached what I consider to be its peak in December 1993 with the double-banger of No. 1 single ‘Mr Blobby’ by Mr Blobby, and No. 1 album Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell by Meat Loaf. Glorious. You couldn’t design that any better. Blobby used the Britpop wave to ride his chart-topper full tilt into the history books. Brushed off as mere commercial fodder by some, his success assured he was to be forever remembered by all but the most hardened of sceptics.
In my research on this subject, listening to the song ‘Mr Blobby’, I found there was definitely an aspect of hell to it. Remember when you had to play a song backwards to hear the masked demon talk? (We did it every Christmas at our place.) Well, on ‘Mr Blobby’, the ravings of the satanic avenger ran forward and in full aural view of everyone, but no one seemed to notice. Talk about hiding in the open.
On the face of it there was no reason not to trust Mr Blobby, the seemingly inoffensive invention of the BBC’s Noel’s House Party writer, Charlie Adams. Blobby had entertained millions on the show and his hit single had ascended to the top of the charts, not once, but twice that Christmas period – first on December 11th and then again on Christmas Day – the first time a song had achieved that in the UK since the ‘60s. Clearly he was loved.
But he wasn’t as adorable and innocent as we were all being led to believe. Success had spoilt him. His behaviour became increasingly erratic and those around him did what they could to keep his head from getting so wide that it might become even harder for him to get through doorways. Critical commentators blasted Blobby and everything he stood for. Not that anyone really knew what he stood for but they blasted him anyway. Nowhere was he safe. At one evening show, Blobby upset a little girl by throwing her birthday cake on the floor, triggering her father to mount the stage and assault him. Not good. And on more than one occasion he was spied post-show through the gap in his dressing room door, spread-eagled on the couch in a tracksuit, cross-eyed, inhaling sugar. The cracks were starting to show.
With the resulting media outcry, a defiant representative protested: “If the press can knock him, they’ll knock him whenever they can.” But on December 22nd, in an attempt to soften the dastardly affair, and to necessarily aid Blobby who was confined to a one-word vocabulary, sympathiser Michael Jackson made a global address on his behalf, translating Blobby’s wish to the public for them to “Wait to hear the truth before you label or condemn me.”
Ultimately, this made no difference to Blobby’s plight. One particularly cruel critic even took a personal stab at his physical appearance by suggesting he was one of Revelation’s four horsemen, sent to Earth to spread a pestilence of pink skin and yellow spots. This cast an ominous cloud indeed, along with unwanted clarification of the ‘Mr Blobby’ lyric: ‘If humanity’s a question of degree… stay loyal to your Blobby pedigree’.
Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but it doesn’t take much of a leap to come to the conclusion that the dual chart-toppage of Mr Blobby and Meat Loaf was either an espionage warning, or a thinly-veiled illuminati-esque act toward the goal of a slow but sure population control, tied into the careers of Blobby and Meat and more than likely against their wishes. I think you’ll find if you play ‘Mr Blobby’ simultaneously along with the Meat Loaf track ‘Back Into Hell’, that they fit seamlessly together, multiplying exponentially the importance and urgency of their separate codified messages.
Conspiracy or not, it was impossible to confirm Blobby/Meat connections for sure. Though it was suggested that like Meat Loaf, Mr Blobby’s until now secret Christian name was suspected to be Marvin. But during this sensitive period, all involved parties kept schtum, not least of all the narcissistic Blobby who conveniently was still capable of speaking only his own surname. Meat Loaf, being busy on tour, was also largely unavailable for press comment. But in 1993 he did drop a pearl to British interviewer Jonathan Ross by admitting that sometimes on stage he sank the sword into the stone, dressed as a purple duck. This information, too, was telling.
Like all great dramas, the wounds healed with time and all paranoid suspicion blew over. Meat Loaf has continued with a successful recording career. But in 2001, he mysteriously changed his name to Michael, presumably to distance himself even further from the whole Blobby affair which was still causing inconvenience due to the name Marvin being another reason why computers sometimes confused the two passport records at airport checkpoints.
A Mr Blobby follow-up single at Christmas 1995, ‘Christmas In Blobbyland’, fell like a heavy stone but failed to make a dent. In the 2000s, Mr Blobby went on to make appearances at university balls and private events, eventually taking an interest and appearing in pantomimes around England, where his great fame was such that he wasn’t required to wear a costume.
Merry Christmas. PETER KEARNS