Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Rhotic Menace

I paused awhile in WH Smugs before boarding, as you do, furtively looking for some reading matter to see me through the time between d├ęcollage and seat-belt-sign-ping (that interminable period when the iPad is banned for fear that its malevolent radiations will bring the aircraft crashing out of the skies in a ball of fire).

Me, I do everything that BA cabin staff tell me. I don't want the bastards going on strike before they've served the dessert. It was one little humdinger of a book that I had grabbed though. I didn't put it down all the way to Newark, even though I watched two movies, got drunk, fell asleep, accidentally tripped up one of the cabin staff carrying a tray of soft drinks, and killed a bunch of snakes. At last! An author who has dared to lift the lid on the unflushed toilet of Northern English philology! "Northern English: A Cultural and Social History" by Katie Wales is a classic, and will become required reading on every English course when I'm prime minister. For too long have our proud northern tongues gone unhailed, sneered at by posh bastards in Streatham wine-bars and ignored by Americans who think us English all talk like Dick van Dyke or the Queen.

It also brought me up to speed on some of the linguist's jargon. I didn't know, for example, that dialects that sound all their 'R's are called 'Rhotic'. The English dropped all that nonsense a couple of centuries ago, apart from a few holdouts in backward places like the west country and Blackburn. Just try saying 'Blackburn' now and you'll see what I mean. Does it sound like 'Blackbrrn' or 'Blackbuhn'? If the former then you're Rhotic, you pervert.

I checked it out on the chopper into Manhattan. When the pilot chuckled "I suRe hope you'Re gonna keep a fiRm grip on that baRf-bag, good buddy. This biRd's just been regeaRed and we'Re gonna hit those theRmals oveR the East Side like a sack of rahks", I tried to confirm. "Noo then marra. What thoos sayin' is that thoo shoowah hope ah's gan tuh keep a fuhm grip on that bowk-bag cos thoos just had this spuggy fettled and we'll hit them thuhmals ovvah 'east side like a sack of clemmies. Eh?"

He gave me a funny look from over his mirroRed shades, and shrugged. "We don't get many like you on this route".

"What, like NON-RHOTICS?" I asked. "I hope you don't have a problem with that, good buddy".

"SmaRdass" he muttered under his breath and yanked the collective hard enough to make my knees water. We lifted with a lurch and just cleared the perimeter fence before skimming the waves all the way across the Hudson, narrowly missing a ferry full of Japanese tourists. Non-Rhotics to a man, all of them, I suddenly realised. I waved and they cheered back, obviously sensing the kinship potential of the unvoiced intercalary and terminal 'r's that must be radiating from me.

Ignoring my entreaties to stop at 32nd and 3rd for a McDonald's, the airborne truck-driver settled the chopper onto the United Nations helipad with a thud and looked at me expectantly.

"What!" I bellowed. "You want a fucking tip for flying like a cunt!". Outside on the lawn I could see that Ban Ki and Hillary were staring, and I was forced to hand over a handful of crumpled greenies so the bastard would let me out. I gave the skid a good kick on the way though, and ran my keys down the paintjob. Rhotic bastard!

Next week: The new Cumbrian ambassador presents his credentials. But sensitively.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

What's in a name #5 - David Cameron

Every era has its hero. A likely lad thrust from obscurity who finds himself tasked with setting the world to rights. A brash, defiant soul hewn by the hoary hand of fate into a remedy for all that ails the Land. A latter-day King Arthur.

David Cameron, leader of the British Conservative Party, is such a man. Erstwhile master-blogger, his debating skills honed in the bearpit of the Guardian 's "Comment is Free" website, he led the Tories into battle at Westminster against the feared and hated New Labour usurpers to emerge victorious from the fray, in the May national election, with the riven scrotum of Gordon Brown held aloft in his two hands.

His deeds since then have been legendary. His unique Scottish ancestry lending him a hatred of profligacy and waste, he has set about slashing the bloated budget deficits of his predecessors, Broon and Blair. With his trademark big white forehead and his Liberal-Democrat right-hand man Nick Clegg, he is now poised to push the filthy democrats and the liberal invaders back into Europe where they belong. Camelot beckons.

So what's in a name? We asked famed Logomancer, Feargal Tesco, to randomly open his famed Collins Cobuild Dictionary and divine an acrostic that explains the meaning of the individual letters making up the name of our hero, D.A.V.I.D. C.A.M.E.R.O.N:-

Dungbeetle - Rolling up other people's shit is the quintessential task of any new government, and Cameron has knuckled down to the task with a will. Let us hope that he rolls those balls of shit back into the New Labour camp and doesn't use them to nourish his offspring, as dungbeetles are prone to do.

Avuncular - Will Cameron "fiddle about" with the economy like Pete Townshend's famous Uncle Ernie did with the supple-wristed Pinball Wizard of rock-opera "Tommy" fame?

Vombat - (Editor's note: Despite our insistence that "Vombat" is not actually a dictionary word, Professor Tesco insists on its validity for this particular application). For a German to call someone a "Vanking Vombat", as Angela Merkel did of Cameron at the latest secret meeting of Euroleaders in support of Greek Freeloading, required extreme provocation. Kudos to Cameron for standing firm, erect, and indeed foursquare as a solidly-rooted vombat under German pressure for Britain to throw its family jewels into the Eurozone.

Interesting - Cameron is one of the most interesting leaders to have bared his buttocks to the diamond-encrusted lavatory seat at Number 10 Downing Street. He has traded wit with the likes of Steve Davis at the Groucho Club - that famous roundtable of raconteurs where even Oscar Wilde failed to protect his seat for long - and has walked across America on no less than three separate occasions, living only on the contents of the hat passed around during impromptu stand-up comedy performances along the way.

Dickhead - David is proud of his glans penis-shaped bonce, and his prepuceterous hairstyle. Now, if he can only stop getting it caught in zips, and fingering it during Cabinet meetings.

Conservative - Tory to a "T" and not ashamed to tattoo it across other people's kidneys, David "we are not worthy ma'am" Cameron idolizes Margaret Thatcher and knows all of Norman Tebbit's most famous sayings by heart. Like any Tory worth his salt he is itching for war. Ladbrokes are already taking bets on who will be invaded first: Eire, or France? Will he try and retake the colonies? Will the USA become the 5th nation of the Union, ruled from Westminster at musket-point by thick-witted rapists in red coats and funny hats? Only time will tell.

Abba - like the famous supergroup who had 23 consecutive number one hits in the 1950s, David Cameron is a quartet of talented Swedes. But unlike Benny, Agnetha, Bjorn and the other one, the David Camerons only ever appear one at a time, splitting the busy Prime Ministerial schedule between them while the others cycle around the streets of London, followed by their chauffeurs carrying their lunchboxes.

Minge - Like all Old Etonians, Cameron had an aversion to minge. Dave "Screaming Lord" Sutch used this phobia to good effect when standing against the young Cameron in the Stafford by-election, and would thrust his famous minge-pole into Cameron's face shouting "get a good whiff of this you Tory bastard! I bet you never smelt anything like that before eh? Eh? EH?!!!" Cameron later revealed that the stench of Lord Sutch's minge-pole induced such "dread ecstasy" in him that he embarked on a frenzied minge-quest- a quest that was only fulfilled when he met his future wife, Samantha. "I followed her trail all the way down The Strand" he recalls fondly.

Earth - David Cameron lives here, like many of his constituents. And, like them, he is concerned that it should remain in a fit state to support not only life, but civilisation as we know it. He has pledged to deregulate the environment and let the unseen hand of the market balance the global ecosystem. "Carbon trading be damned" he says. "Let's trade everything!" Under Cameron you will have access to littering credits, endangering British species credits, even factory-farming credits, as long as you can pay for them. This money will go into a global fund available to third-world countries for picking up their own litter, conserving their own endangered species and strangling chickens.

Rupert - Murdoch is definitely known to be ambiguous about Cameron. "But is this fucking pommy shirtlifter ONE OF US?" he bleated at the opening of Newscorpse's ...."Pish on Wheels", the mobile micro-brewery and bottleshop that "promises to stop the decline of British pub-culture by bringing the hostelry to your doorstep". Unfortunately Rupert turned the volume knob on his life-support helmet the wrong way and this plaintive cry was broadcast loudly to the assembled press, who had to be individually silenced by threats of sacking, kneecapping or profile deletion, depending on their affiliation.

Order, order! - A rowdy, undisciplined Parliamentary performer, David Cameron has been reprimanded by the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, on no less than 1,048 separate occasions. Although most of these reprimands have been for trivial offences, such as smoking in the toilets or groaning audibly whenever Harriet Harman gets up to speak, some would be considered impeachable in any normal democracy. But such is the influence of David's pack of braying Old Etonians that events such as baring his buttocks to UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, offering to let the Queen suck his cock, and taking out the entire BNP from across the floor of the House with a wire-guided missile, have all been deleted from the Hansard record as though they never happened.

Nick Clegg - if Tony Blair had still been leader of New Labour it would have been Cameron and Blair we witnessed that fateful day, standing on the doorstep of Number 10 with their thumbs firmly inserted in each others arseholes, exchanging PR tips on their iPhones, and whinnying "ANOTHER new day has dawned, has it not?". But with Gordon Brown as the only alternative, Cameron reluctantly had to settle on the Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg as his coalition partner. "Clegg" is a dialect word for "horsefly" - that most persistent of biting insects - and Nick lives up to his name, buzzing, sucking, and generally hovering around piles of shit, waiting for dung-beetles to arrive.

Next week: God