It has just occurred to me that if you’re caught getting legless in Saudi, you might wind up in that state permanently. If you steal something, you may be forced to throw your hand in. And if you convert from Islam to Christianity, it is very important to keep your head, and keep quiet about it. Because if you want to get ahead, it’s important not to lose your head. You can’t keep calm and carry on with no head. (Am I the only person on the planet who’s now so fed up of that wartime phrase, I want to throw a biscuit tin through the window and not be calm at all?)
In our wonky, unbalanced pc world, each of those feeble gags represents a heinous crime in terrible taste, but I’m very keen that they should set the tone this evening. I remember very well the first time I saw the retail brand name PC World, and wondered both what they sold, and what the staff were like. I had a vision of prim, thin-lipped anal retentives showing me how to work a Rape Detector. But they turned out to be loud-mouthed twerps talking bollocks. Life is an eternal disappointment for those with expectations of something better.
Today the Joseph Rowntree Foundation tweeted to tell me that “Those living with dementia can run social and community projects”. I had three reactions, in this order. First, I’d always assumed that those living with dementia do run social and community projects. Second, those who run them well while suffering from dementia have clearly been misdiagnosed. And third, whyTF was anyone wanting people with dementia to run such things?
I’m in the very early stages of dementia myself, and I’m being dead straight when I say I wouldn’t trust myself to run a bath without forgetting to turn the bloody taps off. I find ageism the least legally recognised of all the isms, but I’m not about to kick up a fuss because I haven’t been chosen for the forthcoming NASA mission to Mars. It wouldn’t be pleasant for the other astronauts to spend 99% of the journey coexisting with a stiff following my death from a heart-attack during the launch phase.
Some years back, there was talk in the music press of a special nostalgia concert for Diana Ross and the Supremes, but they were a Supreme short and so applications were invited for the job. Now I’m in the right age-group, but the wrong gender and the wrong colour. Today, however, is the JRF suggesting I’d be right to apply…and be dubbed a victim of prejudice if turned down? You see, one couldn’t air the Cook & Moore one-legged Tarzan sketch in 2015, because it would be deemed offensive. All I can tell you is that I watched the sketch on the night of its original airing with my Auntie Molly, who had but the one leg. She pissed herself laughing from start to finish….as indeed did we all.
Just as Gilbert & Sullivan wrote that the punishment should fit the crime, so in life we must look to choose a horse for a course. If the going is heavy and it’s teeming with rain, best not to choose a camel that’s never raced before in its life. That’s how we got David Cameldung.
If people have a disability, the last thing one should do is set them up to fail….or even worse, tell them they’ve succeeded when they haven’t. It is part of the innate cruelty of ‘quota equality’ thinking that it assumes one should give an unfair advantage to the disadvantaged. Wrong: one should look for another dimension to that person. It is merely an addition to the general nature of teaching: bring out the talent in everyone, and then inspire them to mine that seam. Don’t just tick the box by sending him or her to Aston to read Media Studies.
Because New Labour was so infuriatingly middle class, they looked down on people whose real destiny was to be plumbers, cabinet makers, builders, electricians and plasterers. I don’t. I’m in awe of such people. For I am the infamous Captain Slapdash, the DIY fiend who knows not his watts from his fluid column pressure.
A Dutch lady I met in a bar yesterday informed me that Sir Francis Drake had been playing with his bowels when he should’ve been dealing with the Spanish Armada. I was shocked to learn this, along with her insistence that Sir Walter Raleigh had sung King Philip of Spain’s beard. I asked her whether she was by any chance a devotee of surrealism, and she asked me who this Sir Raul Issem was. After all, she said with a high degree of confidence, wasn’t everyone famous in British history ‘Sir’ something or other? Was he a foreigner like Sir Benjamin Disraeli?
I hastened to contradict the lady, pointing out such key figures as Watt Tyler, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, Eric Morecambe and Sid Vicious. I then dug myself a deeper hole by explaining how to play bowls, singe somebody’s facial hair, and tell jokes about two old men sitting in deckchairs. I was on a hiding to nothing.
The fact that foreigners get English so totally wrong much of the time is why most UK citizens still find foreigners objects of fun. This is of course staggering arrogance on our part, given that our approach to learning foreign languages is to shout in English at those who speak them. It’s particularly galling when one considers how many Estuary Brits can’t even master their own tongue without uttering unintentionally hilarious malapropisms. Over time, I have overheard some belters.
“The bird on the phone, roit,” said a bloke I was next to in a pub, “Said there was always an excellent ambulance in the restaurant”.
His mate replied, “Why der they need an ambulance then?”
“Wull,” said the first bloke, “I s’pose the food’s likely to give yer Delhi belly an’ that, so they need a really good one ter get yer to the ‘ospital when yer start chuckin’ up”.
He mentioned the name of the restaurant – “No ferkin’ way I’m goin’ there” he added – and so I looked up the website. The sub-head declared, “Always an excellent ambience”.