Victoria Wood and my mum’s bed

Yesterday, when I heard the news that Victoria Wood had died, I longed for my mum’s bed.

One of my earliest memories is waking up in the middle of the night, going into my mum’s room and informing her that I’d had a nightmare. Looking back, I probably hadn’t had a nightmare; I’d probably just woken up, got bored trying to go back to sleep, noticed that my mum’s TV was on and saw an opportunity to watch post-watershed tv.

She was watching Acorn Antiques whilst painting her nails and all I remember about the whole experience was feeling grown up and comforted. Of course, I didn’t get the jokes; I wasn’t a prodigy, socially aware fake Twitter child, and I probably was falling asleep. In that sense, at the time, Victoria Wood was nothing more to me than comforting background noise.

Years and years later, after my parents had divorced, I was spending the night at my dad’s and noticed a freshly purchased DVD resting on top of the TV; beneath all of the exuberant HMV stickers (probably displaying a price that would seem absurd now, like £27) I saw that it was Acorn Antiques.

It was a revelation to me.


After listening to my parents argue for 6 years it was easy to feel like there had never been anything good between them at all; no love, no in-jokes, no shared interests, but here was evidence that at some point, they’d liked the same stuff. They might have even watched it together!

Acorn Antiques made me realise that my parents once loved each other.

Again, I felt instantly comforted.

Of course, aside from being comforting, Acorn Antiques was very, very funny; funny in a way that unites people – even warring, ex-spouses.

On Christmas day, Victoria Wood would break the sleepy silence that falls over a family that are weary after being together since 9am and pull everyone towards the TV; after the naps, the new books and the clean up, everyone would be back watching the same thing for an hour.

Victoria Wood also get you through the first 3-5 days of a breakup, when you’re unwashed, pyjama clad, and too emotionally fragile to watch anything that contained even the faintest whiff of romance, but you need something to watch through the night to drown out your own thoughts.

Nothing bad was going to happen; no nudity, no violence, no one crying in a half full bath. Everything she did, whether that was as a performer or writer, was warm and joyous and at times even heartbreaking, but without the need to ever be harrowing.

And so, as the news filtered through Twitter yesterday afternoon, the world felt a little less warm, a little less joyous and a little more heartbreaking.

I wanted to be in my mum’s bed.

For a few hours, I was a child again – because that’s what loss and grief does to us, it turns us all into children again. Despite everything we know and everything that life has taught us, we just don’t understand how someone can be gone. I think that’s why everyone is clinging to the “Curse of 2016” – it gives us a reason for all of the death that we don’t understand and don’t want to happen.

Mum’s bed no longer being available, I settled for as many Youtube clips of Victoria Wood’s comedy that I could find – they have exactly the same effect.

And so, because my words will never be as good as the words that Victoria Wood scribbled out and chucked in the bin, here’s one of my favourite sketches:


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