Greetings. And I mean “greeting” very much in the Scots’ sense of the word*. I Have Grave News has had a wee holiday, so when better to come back than on the most depressing day of the year? And it’s been such a lovely few weeks, too. What have we missed?
Well, the first thing I saw in a provincial newspaper after Christmas was an advert with the headline, “Massive Lingerie Sale”. The stampede to get to that would no doubt have registered on the Richter scale.
A Dublin bus from “Out-In” Tallaght was hijacked in the Liberties; apparently, the hijacker lives in Dolphin House. I’m sure he didn’t do it on “porpoise” and anyway, as other passengers would testify, he drove the bus quite well and didn’t “flipper” over.
Anyway, even if there were few decent things on TV over the festive season (Jonathan Creek being a glorious exception), the ongoing soap opera that is the British Royal Family continued to provide unexpected guffaws from all generations. Way back when I was a British tax payer, I couldn’t bear the thought that my hard-earned cash went into their pockets; it’s only now I’m away that I can see just why they’re such a tourism money-spinner.
In a News Of The World exclusive, that little tyke Prince Harry, who once dressed up as a Nazi for “fun”, was heard calling one of his former Sandhurst colleagues “Paki” in a video diary. Only a couple of days, much furore and sweaty hand-wringing later, it was similarly exposed that his dad, the heir to the British throne, has apparently been calling an Asian polo colleague “Sooty” for years.
So where do this father and son double act get it from? Well, it’s from Charlie’s dad, The Duke of Edinburgh, of course. Prince Philip has been travelling the world putting down Johnny Foreigner with dodgy jibes, all in the name of diplomacy, for decades. There’s no end to the nations he’s upset:
China: In 1986 he described Peking as “ghastly” and told a group of British students: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
Canada: “We don’t come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.”
Scotland: In 1995 he asked a Scots driving instructor: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”
Hungary: Meeting a Briton there in 1993, he said: “You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly”.
Australia: (as pictured above) He asked an Aborigine: “Still throwing spears?”
India: On seeing an old-fashioned fuse box in an Edinburgh factory in 1999, he commented: “It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.”
Kenya: To a female Kenyan native, who presented him with a gift: “You are a woman, aren’t you?”
Thailand: “Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world.”
Australia (again): When asked to stroke a Koala bear, that cute, cuddly, world-famous emblem of Australia, he said: “Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease.”
Cayman Islands: “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”
Papua New Guinea: Visiting this nation, once notorious for accounts of cannibalism, he commented to a student who’d been trekking: “You managed not to get eaten, then?”
The Cantonese: “If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”
Good old Philip (who’s Greek, lest we forget), he’s worth every penny.
*vbl.n. greetin, weeping, whimpering