Yesterday was Albania’s birthday or something. They had a party for it in that there London and things kicked off a bit, apparently. Turned into a right old ruckus. Shame that. I really like Albania. Gorgeous country, lovely peeps, great beaches. I once saw a bloke leading a bear on a leash along the seafront of Vlora. And Norman Wisdom is/was rightly very popular there. He’s even on one of their postage stamps.
Albania was not much fun between the years 1944 and 1985 when it was ruled by the dictatorship of communist leader Enver Hoxha. His secret police kept the country controlled by fear; political opponents were jailed; use of the death penalty was not uncommon. Hoxha banned Western movies from Albanian life, meaning film stars were practically non-existent. Except for Norman Wisdom. Why him? Because his characters’ perennial struggles against ‘The Man’ were viewed as a communist parable on class war (Mr Grimsdale was, apparently, capitalism personified).
Here’s Norman Wisdom & The Pitkins singing Big In Albania (written by Tim Rice).