The first time I watched the Sound of Music, I was seven and genuinely perplexed as to why such a smashing young nun would fetch up with an octogenarian with a whistle fetish.
As I grew older, I realised why. He had a bloody great big house.
Last night, having been strong-armed to watch the Sing-a-Long version of The Sound of Music at the theatre with my daughter, I found the tables had turned. I was actually LUSTING after Captain Georg Von Trapp and his long, hard whistle. My hills were alive. I wanted him to ford my stream, climb my mountain and add certain of my body parts to his list of favourite things.
Even though – and perhaps because – his name is pronounced Gay-Org (gay.org for those readers under the age of 25) I had suddenly discovered Captain Von Trapp’s allure. Definitive proof that the portrait ageing on my behalf in the attic affects only my body and not my mind – I may look like a 22-year-old glamour model, but inside I have the mind of a wizened 37-year-old. It’s like that Benjamin Button film in reverse. I think – I haven’t seen it.
While innocently looking for red hot pictures from the Von Trapp’s honeymoon online, I happened upon the BBC’s plans to maintain public morale in the event of a nuclear disaster which involve none other than Gay-Org himself. Academic Dr Ian Bradley revealed the in-bunker entertainment for the dignitaries, celebrities and brown-nosers stashed underground while the rest of us are burning to death in the streets: “Shortly after the siren sounds, we can expect to see and hear Julie Andrews,” he said. Along with the three other riders of the Apocalpyse, presumably.
On the plus side, commoners like you and I (this is a vast generalisation, apologies to dignitaries, celebrities and brown nosers reading) will not have a place in one of the 20 bunkers around the UK that will be screening The Sound of Music on a continual loop for 100 days. On the minus side, that’s because we’ll probably be dead.
For those of us left above ground, the most sensible thing to do will be to reach for the Government’s Preparing for Emergencies booklet, which advises us not to panic. Not panicking is especially easy if you have been reduced to dust by an atomic firestorm.
If you’ve made it through the initial blast, and are simply waiting to vomit up your liver when gamma rays permeate through the double glazing, you can always summon up a little of the BBC’s plan to inject the feelgood factor back into your life by singing the songs from The Sound of Music yourself.
I can see it now, the family huddled around grandma, who is still burning brightly, and trying to remember the lyrics to Favourite Things:
“Toxic rain on babies and weeping sores on kittens, bright orange fireballs and radiation-proof mittens, deformities caused by rogue DNA strings…these are a few pesky nuclear war things.
“Incinerated ponies and crisp quick-fried poodles, sirens and screaming and living off Pot Noodles, wild geese that fly with scorch-marks on their wings…these are a few pesky nuclear war things.
“When the bomb hits, when black rain falls, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember Gordon Brown’s underground, and then I don’t feel so bad…”
Really, though, check out the Von Trapp fox, ladies. All aboard the time machine, I’m heading for the hills.