Saturday, June 18, 2005

Saturday Snippets

With the Borethon of Wimbledon almost upon us, the BBC has had to restrict the showing of a trailer for the tournament after complaints that it was frightening children.
Well bugger me in Barnsley! (© Jonathan Harvey).
If they can make tennis scary then surely they are also capable of making it interesting.
And if terrifying tennis has arrived, how long before watching paint dry becomes an extreme sport?
But my aversion to posh ping-pong is a blessing on these summer evenings.
It means I can linger over my dry martinis and canapés on the South Terrace, watching the sun set over the council houses and listening to the soothing cooing of the wood pigeon and the distant chatter of the chavs outside the Co-op, without having to rush in to a stuffy Pink Drawing Room to watch grunting Amazonian women, elderly men who sit in a baby's high chair and call everyone 'love', and young boys who can sprint faster than a junior baseball team leaving a Neverland sleepover.

Did anyone believe that a jury could possibly convict Gary Lineker in the recent libel case? I haven't read the full transcript of the trial but I assume the judge was obliged to tell the jury:

"You must focus on the facts of this case and banish from your minds the ineffable niceness of the defendant.
Some of you may have seen the defendant on your televisions presenting programmes about Association Football and been captivated, as is my wife I regret to say, by his boyish charm and his undeniable knowledge of the game which he himself served with such distinction. Who can forget his penalty save against Turkey in the 1966 World Cup Final?
But forget it you must, members of the jury. And much else besides.

I must remind you that when Mr Arthur Smith in his well-known stage drama said that even Mr Lineker's farts were probably perfumed, this was a comic invention, albeit in execrable taste. Even if Defence Counsel had called expert witnesses to substantiate this assertion, it could not and should not have any influence on your consideration of the facts in this case.

It is true that a fellow judge once drew the attention of a jury to the 'fragrance' of a witness, one Mary Archer. It would, however, be totally inappropriate to speak in such terms of a male defendant and - a fortiori - one who has been a distinguished exponent of a rugged, manly sport.
One characterised by the clash of sweaty male bodies, the mingled aromas of vapour-rub and pheremones, the mud-caked thighs, the tangle of arms and legs in goal mouth scrambles, the group hugs and bodies piling onto prostrate bodies when a young striker, running with the speed and grace of a gazelle, has penetrated a tight back four to score, followed by hearty carousing in a communal bath, the foaming waters swirling round the toned, young, naked, male bodies, so redolent of Roman times......the paintings of Alma Tadema....... that film with Kirk Douglas........could the Clerk pass me a glass of water.......the jury will retire...... I shall lie down."

I'm not sure that Alan Duncan did himself much good by appearing on Ann Robinson's new Friday night topical pot-pourri on BBC1. This particular pot-pourri smells mostly of desperation. Plus an unpleasant whiff of effluent as in the previous week's remorseless attacks on Cherie Blair, not for anything she's said or done but for the way she looks.

The interview with Alan Duncan focussed almost entirely on the fact that he was gay and naturally included the observation that if he became Prime Minister he would be able to give Downing Street's interior design a makeover.

Much was made of the fact that, in the unlikely event that he became Tory leader, then he could become the first gay Prime Minister. It would probably be truer to say that he would be the first openly gay Prime Minister. I'm sure I've read speculation that Spencer Perceval was gay. But he was also the only Prime Minister to be assassinated, so that's not a comfortable precedent for Duncan.

Ted Heath was, and is, a 'confirmed bachelor' but that doesn't necessarily make him gay, although many people made that assumption.
In the 1970s I watched trade unionists marching through London chanting 'Heath is a poof'. In these more enlightened times they might possibly have chanted 'We strongly oppose your Statutory Incomes Policy but your sexuality is not an issue.'
Or possibly not.


At 9:19 AM, Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

I was really enjoying this article, particularly the references to Wimbledon. Then you mention that you watched a television programme featuring Ann Robinson.
This is always the way, my heros turn out to have feet of clay.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

The fact that I watched it doesn't mean I don't think she's the spawn of the devil.
And even writing a humble blog means you have to look for good copy.
I once exposed myself to the horrors of a theme park to write a newspaper article. That was pretty heroic, come to think of it.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger cello said...

But Marcus Brigstock is always good, and rather handsome. Though why he's making himself look like the Ann Robinson version of an Esther Rantzen Eunuch is mystifying.

Willie, top-notch blog today. I am going to have to circulate the Gary Lineker piece. I gather this is the idea of blogs.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

cello, how strange. I was going to draw the 'That's Life' analogy and use the phrase 'Esther Eunuch' myself but then went off on another tack.

By all means circulate. I should point out that the homo-erotic ravings of my judge bear no relation to any of my own fantasies. I would never put those into a blog even if I could remember what they are.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger cello said...

We both deprived our subjects of an 'e', I see from the Radio Times. Anne Robinson and Marcus Brigstocke apparently.

If you can't express your homo-erotic ravings in your own blog, then it's a sad world. That's one of the great bonds between gay men and women; we tend to fancy similar people. I couldn't get excited about Gary Lineker, mind you, lovely chap though he clearly is. Thierry Henry, on the hand.....literally.

I hope it isn't too impertinent to ask where you stand on the Julian Rhind-Tutt and David Tennant front, my most recent crushes? Please just ignore me if this is going too far, too soon.

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

We fancy the same sex but not necessarily the same people.
There are very few footballers, or sportsmen in general, that I find attractive. Thierry Henri is no exception to that.
In the early days of the C4 Green Wing forum I annoyed a lot of people by being rude about old Bacon-Rind. His appeal to so many women is a complete mystery to me. Don't think I've ever seen David Tennant but I just heard on the radio he's the new Dr Who. At least he can't be any uglier than the current one.
It was interesting how many women were hooked by the 'love interest' in GW. It completely passed me by and I only watched it for the comedy. So perhaps I'm not such a romantic after all.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger cello said...

To be honest, I rarely fancy sportsmen, preferring a more emaciated look, despite being rather padded myself. Although I might have a type in theory, looks never do it for me. I named Thierry Henry because I believe him to have the 3 absolutely essential qualities; kindness, intelligence and humour. I could add others - integrity and sensuousness for a start - but those give anyone a shout with me. Oh, and decent teeth.

So, in that context, you will understand that the significant cohort of intelligent professional women who developed a crush on Bacon Rind were really only falling in love with the character. And the Green Wing romance followed the classic pattern of unresolved sexual tension, lots of fake sparring, brief, relatively chaste physicality and a heroine we could truly identify with. Think Elizabeth Bennett, Jane Eyre, Beatrice (from Much Ado)

When you posted on the Comedy Forum, Willie, did you go by your preferred pseudonym? If not, are you prepared to say what you called yourself?

I'll now leave this thread in peace.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

I feel a stupid gender generalisation coming on. With men the process of attraction starts in their genitals and they then rationalise it by finding lots of, often spurious, other reasons like personality, sense of humour. "We're so alike!" No you're not. He/she is just good in bed.
Cynical, but I think there's a smidgin of truth in it.

I too generally prefer the 'lean and hungry' look. Poor old Jules is an exception to that.
I think it's the car commercials that put me off Thierry. Plus, if I were going to date a footballer I'd be expecting endearing stupidity, not intelligence. Christ, what a patronising thing to say!

I'm pretty sure I used this name on the C4 forums (GW and Shameless). Haven't been there for ages because you can waste hours of your life on them and they can be quite addictive. I fled to C4 from the BBC because their boards are a technical disaster.


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