Thursday, 22 August 2013
Monday, 27 August 2012
Saturday, 25 August 2012
|Customs & Excise Officials. Sons of Sheepdogs.|
Going through Customs in the UK is much like arriving on your first day in high security prison... I suppose if you're on your way in to the country, this is NOT a metaphor! But today, on the way out, and after my sleeping baby was searched in her pram (an indignity I was not put through, despite having bigger pockets), some of our possessions were taken aside for special attention. My mobile phone was removed from its leather pouch and swabbed. Then my wife's camera. Then, my daughter's yoghurt pot too. Because this yogurt was 'for adults', it was duly and dutifully confiscated, leaving baby without her favourite snack before a 3 hour flight (there are no yogurts in the astronomically-priced post-customs shops). But no explanation was given why these items were swabbed, or how these little squares of cloth, like the things you wipe glasses with, would somehow prevent international terrorism, end the drug trade, or even just leave visitors to the UK with anything other than a bitter taste in their mouths (and no yogurt to get rid of it). No doubt if you asked what they were doing, they'd say very loudly 'Please, sir, try to be a little more cooperative' before whisking you off to a side-room to the cheers and applause of the waiting-impatiently.
Are they really collecting DNA samples and matching them via your boarding pass to your microchippped passport? Probably not, but what would you do even if they were?
The dehumanising continues, as I sit in the plane waiting for take-off. The captain, having waited for everyone to buckle up, has now explained that we ain't going nowhere for another 30 minutes because of the destination airport. And theoretically, according to the lights, we can't smoke, and we have to keep the seatbelts on! All an elaborate plot to sell more magazines and newspapers, now parading down the aisles. I hope we don't crash, (if we ever take off) or we'll be told that life-jackets are available for a small suplimentary charge.
Saturday, 28 April 2012
WARNING: This article may contain traces of F-words
Some people live interesting lives, but leave behind little to show for it. Others live boring lives, but redeem themselves in the grand scheme of things by coming out with some witty or intelligent comment that often survives much longer than the memory of the person who said it. In the case of celebrities, their final words are carefully documented for posterity. Of those, I know of at least 3 examples...
Probably one of the most famous lines ever spoken, the possibly homo-erotic undertones of “Kiss me, Hardy” are often excused by arguing that it was probably actually the word Kismet (meaning something along the lines of ‘fate’). I’ve always wondered how it could be possible for historians to re-write a famous quote once it’s been quoted. The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether Nelson and Hardy ever touched navels, or were just navals who happened to be touching – the fact remains that it sounds much more dramatic to say ‘kiss me’ than to say ‘kismet’.
The famous writer (who was either Irish or English, depending on the nationality of who you ask!) had a great chance to follow in Nelson’s footsteps and strike a blow for gay rights by asking the Marquis of Queensbury to kiss him, but instead he chose to make one final wittisism; “Either those curtains go, or I will.” The gathered bedside mourners must have been rolling around giggling politely with tears in their eyes saying things like “Good show,” “Frightfully witty,” or “Hoorah, Oscar, old chap.”
The unpopular king once visited the sleepy seaside town of Bognor and thoroughly hated the place. Then, much to his chagrin they added the word Regis to the place-name in honour of his right-royal visit (I suppose Bognor George would have sounded a bit strange). Lying on his deathbed years later, coked up to the eyeballs (as most monarchs seem to be thanks to their attending physicians ), he cursed “Bugger Bognor” before leaving this mortal coil. Of course, technically, this was a royal decree, and since then, everybody in Bognor must be sodomised or else face a trip to The Tower for treason.
Having given these three examples, I’ve noticed that there is a certain gayness to last words, which I suppose brings us full circle back to the title of the piece. The reason is because it occurred to me that the word that is uttered far more than any other when a person faces death is ‘FUCK’. How it is said depends on the nature of the impending death – including whether it is surround by words to form a sentence, or punctuated with three dots like “FU…”. This is at least in part due to the versatility of the word – the same word could be used in many different tones and situations, such as the following three examples…
1. Complacency/Stupidity – ‘Don’t walk in the road, Harry, you could get hit by a bus.’ – ‘I don’t give a fu…’.
2. Shock/Horror – as a meteor, bus or other fast moving object hurtles towards you “What the fuck!”
3. Irony/Remorse – ‘Any last regrets, Sister?’ … ‘Only one, Mother Superior. I never had a really good fuck.” Of course, censorship probably has something to do with why our four-lettered friend seldom makes it into the numerous books on the subject of famous last words, but I would hazard a guess that it is heard considerably more frequently than some obscure reference to curtains, seaside towns or what to do with Hardy.