Like so many people I have been fascinated by the trial of former local hero Rolf Harris, long known as the Boy from Bassendean. Now that his sinister predation of young girls has been proven in a court of law, we all have to recalibrate our view of him.

Government and business organizations have to work out what to do with various plaques and memorials made in honour of the entertainer. After all these symbols don't just celebrate his work but his character as well. Now that this has been found to be severely flawed (to say the least) the overwhelming official view is that they have to be removed. Of course that's a fairly straightforward process. 

But what about all those personal memories we have of him? They are causing huge cognitive dissonance for people all across the globe, particularly here in Australia.

Not unlike the Queen, Rolf Harris been around as long as most of us can remember. Even if you were never a fan of the entertainer, you are sure to know a few of his songs. And you've certainly seen him numerous times on the TV, and perhaps even live. (I can vividly recall watching him perform "Jake the Peg" at a sell out concert at Beatty Park Swimming Pool, of all places!)

And in all of those performances he surely projected his trademark affable, avuncular persona. The knowledge that he cruelly exploited the immense power and influence he had and ruined the lives of numerous women is very hard to accept. But of course we have to accept it.

His fall from grace is just the latest in a long line of similar cases proving that show business is exactly that. Entertainers are seldom wholly like the personas they present. These are almost always carefully constructed facades and you can end up in all kinds of trouble if you confuse them with reality!

That said, if someone is as dark as Harris clearly is you can often see signs of these characteristics in his work. My earliest memory of the entertainer is his version of the Flanders and Swann song "Have Some Madeira M'Dear". It tells the story of a revolting old lecher plying a teenage girl with alcohol so as to bed her.

I can still clearly remember the old vinyl record that was on. I heard it many times in the early seventies when I was a young boy. I've tried to find the Harris version online. No luck, however there is this clip of the Limelighters performing it. Given the recent revelations, imagining Harris singing this same song is quite unsettling.