Thursday, 17 November 2011

Interview: The Wombles

The X Factor winner has some tough competition for the Christmas Number 1 spot this year. The Wombles of Wimbledon are back and ready to take on the charts. Orinoco and his fellow Wombles took time out of their busy schedule cleaning the Common for a catch up…

What have The Wombles been up to since the 70s?
Writing material for their next studio album.  With 30 years of writing, it’ll be a cracker!

Has much changed on Wimbledon Common?
The common has hardly changed. People still drop all sorts of rubbish everywhere. We have to look out for sharps and stuff but there is still the odd copy of The Times, and er...the Beano.

You achieved a lot in the 70s, what was your most memorable experience?
While we were recording a video piece for “Wombling Merry Christmas” for The Cilla Black Show, half way up a snowy Scottish mountain, the only wild herd of reindeer in Britain appeared from nowhere, walked through the shot and we never saw them again. That was quite memorable!

Who are your musical influences?
Jimi Hendrix, George Formby, Mantovani and Freddie and The Dreamers.

The Wombles were the interval act at the 1974 Eurovision SongContest, have you ever thought about entering as the UK’s act?
No, we don’t want to end up looking, er, ridiculous, and have to wear silly costumes.

You performed at Glastonbury this summer, how was that?
It was great. First time we’ve ever had a go at a one hour totally live gig. The crowd were brilliant. Not one person left their free Womble mask on the ground, - they all took them home!

What did you get up to at the festival?

We had to go in, do the gig, then get out, for transport and practical reasons so we couldn’t stay and see Beyonce. But she didn’t come to see us, so we don’t feel too badly about it. We did pull a bigger audience on the No 3 stage than they had that afternoon on the no 1 (Pyramid) stage. That was quite good to be told afterwards!

Did you meet any other famous people there? Did you get star-struck by anyone?
People get star struck by us, actually. KT Tunstall for example absolutely worships Orinoco. She went all tongue-tied when she saw him. And we get star struck by each other. Orinoco can’t believe he gets to be on stage with Wellington, and Madame Cholet is very impressed with Bungo as, like her hero drummer of all time.

Did you help with the clean up operation after the festival?
As we had to leave early, no, sadly. But I think Mr Eavis had it all under control. Would have loved to help, but Madame Cholet had to wash her hair.

Did you help clean up after the UK Riots
 this summer?
Two of us did dress up as humans and go down to shift a load of Earth in an inner city garden, so we did a bit.

You’re going head-to-head with The X Factor winner for Christmas Number 1 this year, are you fans of the show?
No, not really. It’s kind of unrecyclable rubbish, isn’t it!  Only kidding. We love you Simon!

Are you fans of Simon Cowell then?
Mike Batt is a pal of his so we have to say nice things...

What would The Wombles like from Santa this Christmas?
A hit single, and World Peace.

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