The Sun headlines this morning that Lionel Messi, the world’s best footballer, is ‘in trouble’ with the Spanish football authorities. His crime? Calling an opponent ‘a negro’. Had he called the bloke a bicycle or a plantpot, he’d have been fine. But not now. Now he’s in trouble. Now, he’s in A Race Row.
“He called me a negro,” said Dutch international Royston Drenthe, “I understand that ‘negro’ is commonly used in South America. But we can’t stand it.”
What d’yer mean ‘we’, Royston? I can stand it. I can stand being called “a grubby northern oik” by upper class twits from time to time. What I tend to do is humiliate them in return. I’ve been, on various occasions, the victim of taunts such as “You’ve got eyes like two piss-oles in the snow”, “tatty-’ead”, “skeleton” and even “useless f**kin’ Manc”. But I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been the victim of A Class Row or A Regional Row or An accent Row.
Calling a helpless old guy “nigger” is sheer bullying, and deserves a good punch on the schnozz. But c’mon here: Drenthe is an erudite Dutch millionaire football star. He’s engaged in a physical game with less than polite folks being frequently encountered on the field of dreams. Negro? I’ve been called Honkey and Whitey in Brixton. Get over it you bloody daft Jesse. And stop encouraging racial disharmony, you nasty, phone-hacking little Currant Bun.
Sorry, I came over all tabloid there for a minute. Walking through our local seaside town today in search of another pack of Wake Up coffee substitute, I saw that our local Health Food store is closed. The note on the door said, ‘Closed due to ill-health’. I know that’s potentially cruel, but it is also very funny.
In equally questionable taste is the spate of Vidal Sassoon puns already on Twitter, most of them emanating from the immortal mobile of Time Vine. You have to follow Tim if you’re on Twitter, because it makes the rest of the generally uninspiring experience worth it.
Dear old Cyril Bassoon was 84 (which surprised me) but anyway, Tim was in quickly with “Is it too Sassoon for Vidal gags?” I responded with, “And so we say farewell to Vidal. Yes, this time it’s a permanent wave goodbye”. Back came Tim with “Vidal Sasson was a hairdowell”. The bloke is a genius.
With the Thin Blue Line on a protest march in London today, I was left wondering who would police it. Would any Plods arrest themselves? They are, after all, past masters at nicking the wrong bloke. In mediaeval times, once a year the serfs got to be waited on for the day by the Rich Man in his Castle. It occurs to me that, just for a police protest march, you could have lots of baddies sporting black masks and stripey tops nicking coppers for incitement to quiet, or perhaps behaving in a manner unlikely to cause a breach of the peace.
“It’s a fair cop, Fingers” said PC Dixon, “I’ll come noisy like”. Trouble is, they couldn’t have taken Plod to prison, because the warders were out on strike as well.
In today’s FT, the podcast headline asked, ‘Are we beginning to see a shift in European policy from austerity towards spurring growth?’ I worry about the FT more and more these days. Even Manuelo Barroso has cottoned on to the fact that growth is the new austerity. It makes no difference at all that the surface-scratching superficiality of EU policy is as deep as analysis therein is ever going to get: for the Financial Times to be asking such a question after everyone else has decided that austerity alone isn’t going to cut it….well, what can I say? Maybe Private Eye needs a new column in which some thinly disguised europhile FT twerp asks questions like ‘Is the new growth paradigm over?’, ‘Will Androids catch on?’, ‘Is the motor car here to stay?’, and ‘Who thinks there might be a flaw in the Bourse capitalism global investment bank model of commerce?’
Mind you, that last one would be pushing them to the limit.