Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Blind Man's Buff

I've been meaning to write an impressively closely-argued piece about why politicians' private lives are sometimes relevant to their public role. I may yet do this so don't say you weren't warned.
But the one revelation in the Blunkett affair that I can't get out of my head is that Kimberley Fortier used to tease Blunkett by pretending to be a tall blond rather than a petite brunette.
It had never occurred to me that you could have this kind of fun with a blind person. And did the high-spirited Mrs Fortier try any other little leg-pulls on the Home Secretary - like inviting him to supper, giving him Pedigree Chum and saying it was Chile Con Carne? Of course, in pretending to be a tall blond she was only doing what people have been doing on the internet for years. Chubby middle aged men who live with their mother in Croydon have swaggered through cyberspace as 25 year old sex gods who live in a Manhattan penthouse. Dating a blind person could mean you never get found out.

There is a serious point here though about whether consenting adults in private are entitled to make jokes about their own or their partner's disabilities. I'd say they definitely are. And it's difficult to deny that the one person allowed to use the term 'cripple' is someone who is themselves what we can no longer call a 'cripple' - and I've met several who do. Similarly, some gay activists have reclaimed the word 'queer'. But this raises an interesting question if you have a law that criminalises homophobic abuse, as the French are about to do. Could a gay man who wore a T shirt saying 'Queer And Proud' be prosecuted for homophobic abuse against himself? I've no idea but in the unlikely event that any froggy - sorry, French, - legal experts read this blog, please feel free to comment. And while you're here, why have Frenchmen in berets stopped cycling through middle England selling strings of onions? We do miss them.


Apparently there's outrage in some sections of the press that Becks and Posh are Joseph and Mary in Madame Tussaud's Nativity Scene. I'd have thought this was quite a PR coup for the Christians and they didn't even have to shell out for a multi-million sponsorship deal. Let's face it, carpenter David coming round to put up a few bookshelves would be the answer to a lot of people's prayers. And nobody thinks it sacriligious for all the snotty-nosed little Sharons and Kevins across the land to be posing as God's Mum and Dad with Sainsbury's tea towels on their heads.

Over breakfast, Carlo was telling me how a huge Christmas tree used to be installed in the hall of the embassy in Manila. On Christmas Eve the staff were given a glass of punch and handed their presents which had been placed around the tree.
This is just the sort of sentimental nonsense that Sandy Mannington-Preen would revel in. Carlo had told me the same story last December - and November, October and September. Eventually I had allowed him to put a small plastic tree in the kitchen but refused to countenance any 'parols' in the house - star-shaped lanterns with candles inside - on the grounds that they were a fire hazard.
This year he is making a fresh bid for the parols, saying that with Lee now unemployed he could help Carlo to make and install them. I replied that I am not operating a job creation scheme for unemployed youth nor remedial therapy for the intellectually challenged and under no circumstances will Lupin Towers be made to resemble the Arndale Centre in Luton.
"Anak ng puta mo", muttered Carlo as he served my boiled egg.
I wrote this down on the back of The Guardian and will email Sandy to ask what it means. I don't want any unpleasantness as we enter the season of goodwill but too much Mr Nice Guy and the domestic staff start cursing you in foreign tongues over breakfast. It is totally unacceptable. And he forgot my bread and butter soldiers.
Next, in the soap that congeals in your detergent compartment: Lee's Mum does me a big favour.


At 10:08 AM, Blogger Tony said...

The Arndale Centre in Luton is a classic example of 1970's architecture. They demolished most of a grotty old Georgian town centre to build it. They usually have a very nice Christmas display which I will make a point of visiting when I'm in Luton during the holidays.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

I picked Luton at random as a generic example and didn't mean to imply there was anything peculiarly horrible about it. I last went there in the 70s so it must have been quite new then and I think it was one of the trailblazers for that type of centre.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Tony said...

You may be as rude as you like about Luton and, in particular, the Arndale Centre. I wasn't being serious, it's a typical example of wanton destruction of our architectural heritage. It was the perfect choice for your piece :-)

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

I wasn't 100% sure which is why I gave a non-committal reply. It proves yet again that we need a special font for irony.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger peter said...

You write for Coronation Street. I just knew it was something like that. The giveaway was a plural personal pronoun. Or summat.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Damn. I knew I'd slip up and give it away eventually! If anyone sends me an appropriate sum of money I'll reveal what happens at Ashley and Claire's wedding.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger peter said...

I don't watch it atm, although have done from time to time. The first appearance of Ena Sharples in the Cabin was possibly *the* greatest scene in British television, even eclipsing Blackstuff and that one where the mother gets her baby taken off her in a station.

Hilda and Racquel were perfect.

It's prone to lapse into self-parody and comedy, which is no bad thing.

Eastenders seems to be appalling, but I only see glimpses of it at work in the staffroom. Yet one time (Den and Ange, Colin and Barry) I was as glued as the next queen.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Yes, Ena Sharples said "but no eclairs" in that famous scene. And who can forget Racquel walking away from Curly through the puddles in the ginnel in her high heels (written by Frank Cotterill Boyce).
But, to avoid any misunderstanding, my reply to your first comment should have been 'I wish' although I'm flattered you might have thought it a possibility.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger peter said...


At 10:07 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

My mother warned me about men winking at me.
(I spent the next 10 years looking for one).


Post a Comment

<< Home