The spongy afro may have made him look like a long-lost member of Sly and the Family Stone, but Bob Ross was a seminal hair icon – alongside Oprah, the bearded bloke from Queer Eye, and myself.
And yet the hair was only part of the picture. With a paint brush in one hand and a cluster of good vibes in the other, Ross painted his way into our hearts and crafted a reputation for himself as arguably the most wholesome human being who has ever lived. His legacy lives on through the presence of t-shirts, mugs, and toasters all adorned with his image. Of course, this CV alone is enough to justify the construction of a statue in his honour, but any viewer of The Joy of Painting will know that Ross had a love of animals – specifically a squirrel named Peapod, who regularly popped up on screen. Squirrels are an integral part of Ross’ public image and this makes him, in my humble opinion, the perfect candidate for a statue in the centre of campus.
I mean, let’s be honest: we’ve all looked at the Forest of Light and thought, “what the hell is this?” I’m guessing it’s some kind of abstract thing but, to be completely honest, it just looks like a bunch of metal poles I’ve always wanted to drunkenly claw my way up on a night out. If we could pull them out of the ground they might serve as useful weapons for when Staffordshire University finally decides to invade, but aside from that the whole thing seems a little pointless. And even then, we might not need them – we would just send Trevor into battle for us, armed with a pot of tea from the chapel and a jagged Carling glass from the KPA.
We can all agree that some parts of Keele need a makeover. After all, the William Smith building is so Soviet-esque I thought I saw Mikhail Gorbachev running around the last time I was in there. But you may question the practicality of a Bob Ross statue. Who would build it? How much would it cost? What if it ended up looking more like a young Michael Jackson? Fear not – the process would actually be quite simple. Let’s not forget that Keele is in the heart of the Staffordshire potteries, where people have been making plates, cups, and figurines for decades. All we need to do is get in touch with a nearby company and ask them to halt production on ceramic kettles and instead pour all their energy into the construction of a colossal gold-plated statue of an American television personality. Preferably it will be in the mould of Christ the Redeemer, but a Statue of Liberty-type sculpture will also be acceptable. It’s a simple request that will hopefully come with a sizeable discount given our local status.
Bob Ross may have been immortalised in bobblehead form, but as of writing there are no official public statues dedicated to his memory. Guys, let’s change that. It’s a travesty of justice that must be rectified. If we want – nay, demand – a statue of Bob Ross in the middle of campus, we should get one. Let it serve as a reminder that everyone should be judged not by the ridiculousness of their haircut but by the content of their character. And their love of squirrels, of course.