A mayor for Birmingham

This article originally appeared in the April issue of Area.

You won’t remember this but, instead of weird psychedelia with top bands going ‘gabba gabba’, or gibbering stocky puppet simpletons with screens in their stomachs, kids would happily sit in front of the TV and watch stories about talking animals that had adventures in primarily human settings. One such animal was animated Sunday lunch Larry the Lamb, and when he had exhausted all his mint saucey options he’d go to see the head honcho. “M…M…M…Mr Mayor” he’d say, and a fella in a tricorn hat would sort it all out. Sweet. And decidedly tasty with mashed potatoes.

Where do the lambs of Birmingham go when the wool hits the fan? Well at the moment they’ve no Mr or Ms Mayor to trot along to see—but might well have later this year. This is a round about way of saying that on May 3rd this year there’s a referendum in Birmingham to decide if the city gets to elect it’s own mayor in a similar way that London gets to be presided over by Boris Johnson—although we probably won’t have any blond, bumbling, biking, bonking Borises in the running.

A ‘yes’ vote and in November brummies will get to pick their leader, and while we won’t know who’ll stand for a while it’s worth looking at some of the most famous mayors the World has had and see if we can guess what they’d do if we voted them in here.

Famous Mayor: Dick Whittington
Mayor of: London, three times.
Would they work in Brum?: Panto fave Richard Whittington was indeed mayor of London three times, and apparently loved his pussy as much as the current incumbent. Dick’s best days are behind him, and once a man has been mayor three times there’s not much chance he has another term in him. Not your turn again, Dick Whittington. We’re one hundred miles from London, puss, and there’s no sign of Dick here. Oh no there isn’t.

Famous Mayor: ‘Diamond’ Joe Quimby
Mayor of: Springfield
Would they work in Brum?: Mayor Quimby rules the city where the people are yellow with a rod of wads of notes wrapped in brown envelopes. No method of corruption or mode of bung is too obscure for ‘Diamond’ Joe to have a finger in, even though he only has six. His womanising ways wouldn’t sit well with the Birmingham electorate who are already confused enough by local MP John Hemming’s lovelife. That said, he his modelled on the Kennedy clan so Brummies could be turned by his celebrity connections—after all we’ve only really got Jasper Carrott.

Famous Mayor: Mayor McCheese
Mayor of: McDonaldland
Would they work in Brum?: The nuemero uno, the big cheese, of McDonaldland, Mayor McCheese has a beefburger for a head and sports a top hat, a diplomat’s sash, and a pair of pince-nez glases. So far so much like many of the current councillors, and the official McDonaldland Wikipedia page says he is “portrayed as a giggly, bumbling, and somewhat incompetent mayor” so maybe not one we’ll be voting for any time soon. His record on crime (or ‘hamburgling’) is poor.

Famous Mayor: The mayor off of 60s batman
Mayor of: The camp version of Gotham City from the 60s TV programme
Would they work in Brum?: You know, in Batman with Adam West there was a white haired old gent who basically stood around looking confused with Commissioner Gordon. His decisions ran like this: there is a problem caused by a supervillan, he’s not really sure what’s going on, Mayor Linseed turns on the bat signal. In Birmingham how would that really work? If an evil genius is draining the canals or turning everyone that touches the canapés in Glynn Purnell’s restaurant to stone, I’m not sure that flicking the switch on a giant lamp its going to do much.

Famous Mayor: Clint Eastwood
Mayor of: Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Would they work in Brum?: I don’t think he’s played one on screen, but ol’ Dirty Harry himself was the real life mayor of a tiny place in California—voted in by this fellow movie stars and artists. The town has—seriously—a ban on wearing high heeled shoes without a permit, so we’d like to see him tackle Broad Street on a Friday night with his Smith and Weston. Did he fire six shots or only five? And how many did he fire in Spearmint Rhino?

Oh, please vote. and Yes.