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Citius, Altius, Fortius November 9, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
I think I heard, or perhaps hallucinated, on my latest jaunt to the island that the London Olympics have already scottishparliamentishly gone twenty times over their budget before the first family has been booted out of its home, only to be rehoused in Harlow, so that an aquatic centre can be built where their slum-dwelling now stands. “The French will probably have to step in at the last minute and rescue the Games,” I thought to myself, shaking my head and rubbing my hands till they were red raw.

Which seems odd.

Darlings, you must cancel all flights from the UK for at least the next 500 years. Just hunker down nicely for the winter and cancel your trips to your second home in Switzerland, your time-share on Mallorca or your once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Disneyworld. It ain’t worth it. Or at least not until the BAA has got its new security measures off-pat and stops trying to guarantee that everyone flying out of, say, Gatwick Airport, considers ending either his own life or that of one of his fellow-queuers knowing that his flight is likely to take off to say, Berlin, with his bags but without him.

Thankfully, I only fly EASYjET and their flights are always late, so I had as long as usual sitting in the departure lounge once I’d eventually done my queuing, taken most of my clothes off and, annoyingly, missed my chance of a free grope from the man with the beeping stick. (Mind you, I’d cheated at check-in by blatantly going to the hand-baggage-only non-queue and, having gone through every item of potential explosive, was thwarted by my toothpaste which came in a special, 25%-extra-free, 101mg tube. That’ll learn me for inheriting my mother’s ‘buy-anything-that’s-cheap’ gene, including Eritrean champagne. Still, the man took pity on me and took my luggage off my hands there and then.)

Miraculously, I was seated in the front row, which affords leg-space and inappropriate access to the trolley-dollies’ ‘private’ conversation. “Is it something I’ve done?” wondered Estuary-English trolley-dolly who had a save-the-world complex and thought he must be the root of every evil. “Nein, I just can’t bear it zat people don’t vont to help,” answered his stern, painfully-thin, Calvin-Klein-underpant-clad colleague. A plain lady with an inflated ego and expensive luggage panted on to the plane. She must have had a ‘scared-of-flying’ code on her boarding card as great fuss was instantly made. Estuary-English trolley-dolly was attentive and reassuring. The stern, painfully-thin, Calvin-Klein-underpant-clad colleague pretended he needed to count the kit-kats. A female member of staff, who was meant to be serving another bit of the plane altogether, even tried to get in on the act and started asking the plain lady if she’d like to sit in the front row. “Well, I would, but all the seats are taken,” she said, loudly. The female member of staff looked us over. I took a cue from my German neighbours and held my ground, whereas I am, of course, genetically programmed to say, “No, I don’t mind moving for a plain lady with an inflated ego who was the last person onto the plane because she was busy telling strangers about herself in Gatwick Village.” She sat behind me, hollering at the staff throughout. Annoyingly, both her German and English sounded so perfect that I couldn’t even tell which she was. Perhaps she was Namibian…


It was a night-flight. I looked out the window. London, presuming there isn’t some other metropolis between Gatwick and the English coast that I’ve never heard of, went on and on. The lights looked lovely, in a way, but the only things that stood out at all were the sports facilities, looking like computer screens glimmering away for all they were worth. Lovely little patches of green (probably astroturf), floodlit to buggery. My thoughts turned to the poor family hurriedly gathering its possessions in Stratford, all the while being stood over by masked men pointing machine-guns at them, the parents frantically packing electronic goods and Sunny Delight as their children, Alchemy and Romeo, stood crying.

“It’s not right, is it?” I said to my German neighbours. “It’s going to be like the Three Gorges dam all over again.” When I’m sure all those world-class athletes wouldn’t mind hopping on a bus and doing their running, skipping and jumping at Bexley Heath Sports Centre.



1. Bowleserised - November 9, 2006

Ach. It’ll be Blair’s Dome. Or Blair’s second Dome (wasn’t it begun by the Tories?). Fat waste of money. Disaster. Grrrr.

2. Wyndham - November 9, 2006


*wyndham makes a note, just in case he decides to have another child, a little girl*

Alchemy is a little girl’s name, right?

3. BiB - November 9, 2006

B., I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole Olympics thing ended up being mired in quite a lot of scandal, but that’s par for the course in this day and age. But the Athenians managed to put on a good show, so maybe Stratford will pull it off too. Didn’t the Athenians actually put on some events at places like Mt. Olympus? Do you think Barking (or wherever) matches on the mythos scale?

Wynders, Alchemy is indeed a girl’s name. I have to confess it’s not of my own confection. My ex – grandson of granddaughter of llenyem ecila backwards, just to make the most of that connection – once heard a lady with a quadruple buggy shouting, “Alchemy, I’m fuckin’ warnin’ you,” in the environs of London Bridge.

4. daggi - November 10, 2006

And I thought punks calling their dogs “Penis” and screaming “Penis! Penis! Kommeher, du Scheißvieh! Jetzt! Sonst jibbet Ärger” at Boxhagener Platz was strange enough. But “Alchemy”? Did they mean “Infamy”? Did you know incidentally, BiB, that the Carry-on films were highly popular (probably not only) in East Germany. “Hells bells” is “Du heiliger Bimbam!”, which is something to try and put into your conversation as much as you can…

5. BiB - November 11, 2006

Daggi, a dog called penis. Could that be a name for your band – happy to join – due to tour North Korea? Marvellous.

Alchemy may well have had a sibling called Infamy. And perhaps even a Bimbam, who knows? I hope the Warsaw Pact had other British references than just the Carry On films. The Russian has never mentioned Barbara Windsor, thankfully. (I am reminded of French people constantly telling me how brilliant Benny Hill was when I lived in Paris. Too queer.)

6. daggi - November 11, 2006

Ex-Warsaw Pact Albania has Norman Wisdom as their national hero, and a museum dedicated to him (in an ex-Hoxha museum possibly) in Tirana.

And what was that with the French and Benny Hill? The Americans, that’s to some extent understandable (unless they’re from New York). But the French? A side-effect of all their arty films?

Lived in Paris, eh? Perhaps I should get over and shack up in the Shakespeare & Co. bookshop before it gets closed and turned into a hotel.

7. BiB - November 11, 2006

I think the Norman Wisdom museum should be in those nuclear shelter pods they had/have once every 100m. Although it would be a little disjointed, admittedly.

Do our American cousins also have a thing for Benny Hill? (O Americans! Please confirm.) I think he’s been replaced by Mr. Bean as the British comedy figure to like and be known abroad. I hope Rowan Atkinson is ashamed of his downward trajectory.

Yes, perhaps it was anti-artsiness on the part of the Frenchies, liking Benny Hill. Although I’m sure I heard intellectualised justifications for it too, and that M. ‘ill was in fact a genius and it all meant something incredibly profound, especially when he slapped the little bald one on the head. It passed me by in overlit living-rooms in the 1970s, I have to say.

I heard something on the wireless about the Shakespeare book-shop recently. Is it under threat? I’m not surprised if folk want to get their hands on it as it could hardly have a better location.

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