Coronavirus: Monty Python song played on van's PA system to cheer up community in lockdown

A freelance sound and lighting technician has used his trade to cheer up people across the area – by driving around Fareham with a 75-inch horn playing Monty Python’s ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.’

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 6:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 1:35 pm

James Gardner, from Warsash, owns several public announcement systems as part of his job and decided to take a cheery song out to the community, after the prime minister announced the country would be in lockdown from Monday evening.

The 20-year-old said: ‘’I’ve got a few of these massive horns.

‘There aren’t many in the country – they are a very old-fashioned.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

20-year-old James Gardner with his PA system equipped van. Picture: James Gardner

‘I thought – I have a roof rack, and I could put a horn on that, and it would cheer some people up.

‘Me and my sister did a test run by the tip, and it worked well.’

James traveled from Warsash to Lee-on-the-Solent on Wednesday, playing the optimistic tune on repeat – which he admits did begin to sound less cheery.

He said: ‘It is the most annoying song, it turns out, after you’ve heard it more than ten times.’

But the response from the community has been ‘genuinely amazing.’

The former Brookfield Community School pupil said: ‘I was on the front at Lee-on-the-Solent, and all the elderly residents came out onto their balcony and were waving – so hopefully it’s made a few people smile.’

One of James’s friends, Molly Brown, received a surprise – and very loud – performance of Happy Birthday when the van travelled to her home on her 20th birthday.

Molly, who lives in The Rising Sun pub, in Warsash, said: ‘He’s always been a wonderful character – it’s been really nice.’

But on Wednesday afternoon a police officer pulled over the van and told James he has to stop – as it’s non-essential travel.

James said: ‘Because it’s a non-essential journey, I was told to go home. So it’s game over. The officer was more than reasonable. He said he didn’t really want to tell me to stop, but I understand.’

Having previously worked for The Point theatre in Eastleigh and The Berry in Hedge End, the freelance technician now faces an uncertain future, with the coronavirus pandemic crippling the event’s industry even before the country went into lockdown.

He said: ‘The event industry had literally stopped.

‘I’ve lost all my work – in the space of one day I lost about £3,000 of work.

‘So I’m just waiting to see what happens.’