“No jokes, no messin’, we’ll teach you a lesson, a state of confusion to keep you all guessin’!”
Wholesome family entertainers Ant (PJ) and Dec (Duncan) have come a long way since that terrible (but thankfully fictional) Tyneside paintballing accident in 1992, where Debbie and Amanda ganged up on the boys as revenge for two-timing them but PJ had taken his protective goggles off for a split second and got paint in his retinas. Whoops! “Geoff! He cannae see man! Spuggy’s done a sick! Nyooaaoorhhhhhhhhh!“. The duo/twosome have left behind the memories of PJ not being able to keep it in his pants and Duncan joining that tai-chi cult where if you recruited someone else you got a blue t-shirt (for 10 people you got a green one and 50 got you a red one!), and are ready to make their mark on an expectant world.
“Give us the aspiration we can cause a sensation!”
As the follow-up to televisual tie-ins ‘Tonight I’m Free’ (which originated as part of a Byker Grove Battle Of The Bands storyline and got to number 62) and ‘Why Me?’ (which fared slightly better), ‘Rhumble’ was Ant & Dec’s transition from child actors to child MEGASTARS. Watching the video, you can see that the lads are on the cusp of a new adventure – proclaiming their readiness to take on the world by moving to London with no adult supervision (save for the disembodied approval of pre-chorus boxing announcer Michael Buffer, whom I like to imagine is channeling Lou, the foster matriarch). The only thing the lads are frightened of is being TOO GOOD.
But Ant & Dec’s appeal doesn’t stop at their burgeoning confidence and oversized-trousers. There’s something captivating about their fresh-faced Pied Piper gang mentality. If you’re a UK resident of a certain age, the mere mention of the word “Psyche!” floods your brain with the boisterous exuberance of the Grovers, jumping up for joy in front of their blue screen credits. The rave sirens and maximal production make sure this message comes across loud and clear: there’ll be none of this wussy Grange Hill sappiness round their way. JUST SAY YES! I know which gang I’d rather be in – the cool kids who you never actually saw going to school, EVER*. Ant and Dec know this and suddenly we’re all following them down the street doing dance steps complicated enough to require us to stare at our feet the entire time. I wonder what colour t-shirt selling a half a million records gets you?
*Though heaven forbid they’d ever get caught doing anything ILLEGAL: “Partners in crime, we’ll never do time/A sentence for us has to end in a rhyme!“