Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Virgin Olives & Australian Nuts

Before I clamp down on the burgeoning bad language in this blog, or face an inquiry by OFBLOG, I thought I would share this story with you, discovered in my reading this week.
The Portuguese husband of the late Frank Muir's domestic help spoke very poor English and adopted the device used by many foreigners of shortening words, so 'weather' became 'weath' and 'butcher' became 'butch'.
One day Muir and his wife were talking to some neighbours at their gate and telling them about a walnut tree from which they used to make pickled walnuts. The Portuguese gentleman was listening to this conversation and suddenly interjected: "In my cunt, we grow four kinds of olive."

A French friend and former work colleague used to provide many memorable examples of getting English slightly wrong. She once silenced a busy London restaurant when, after ordering a particular type of cheese, she shouted after the departing waiter "Rape!" instead of 'ripe'. She always said 'next of skin' instead of 'next of kin', although that was somehow better than the original. Extraordinary spoonerisms also fell effortlessly from her lips. She once asked a shop assistant in John Lewis if a fabric was 'wachine mashable.' But my own most alarming experience of her imperfect English was when I went to dinner at her house. It was winter and I was wearing an overcoat, scarf and gloves. On arrival, she took me upstairs to the bedroom and instead of saying "You can leave your coat here", she said "Now take off your clothes." Apparently, I went white and started edging towards the door. But we've spent the following thirty years laughing about it.


I've finally discovered a use for the streaming coverage of Celebrity Big Brother. If you put it on in the daytime it's mostly a soundtrack of birdsong which is quite soothing. I've decided that one of the reasons they cut the normal sound so much is to stop things getting into the media before the evening peak-time show goes out. Why anyone who can't lip read would sit and watch this is a mystery to me.

I only mention it again because the sudden departure of Germaine Greer is all over the front pages of the so-called quality papers and because what she's been saying proves beyond doubt that the poor old biddy has totally lost it.
It's well known that she once wrote an article savaging reality TV and Big Brother in particular, so she must have watched it at some point. Yet now she says she was naive and didn't realise what it was about.
She's decided that the programme is partly to blame for bullying in schools. Oh, for God's sake! I can't believe that many under-16s spend their evenings watching these D-List celebrities. And was some Victorian version of Big Brother responsible for little Tom Brown being roasted in front of an open fire at Rugby?

She also talks about Big Brother as if this were a real person - 'he's a bully' she keeps saying - rather than a group of TV executives dreaming up ideas to boost ratings.
But it gets worse. She seeks to link Big Brother with the Holocaust. "Persecution is what happens, holocausts are what happen when good people do nothing", she raved. Ironically, a documentary about Auschwitz was scheduled against Big Brother on BBC2 last night, at about the same time as the demented Professor was being chauffeur driven back to her country home. It's insulting to the millions who died in the concentration camps to compare a television game show with a "fascist prison camp" as she did.
In her 'exit interview' she said she had to leave while her "ducks were still in a row." Too late, Germaine. Much too late. Your ducks are shot to buggery. Blasted out the water. Ducks in disarray. Dead ducks. Ex-ducks.
So do us all a favour, you crazy old bitch. Stop quacking.


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