31 March, 2009
They don't like it up 'em
Ann Summers founder Jacqueline Gold is sending out bad vibes about City hacks. "If I hear the BBC's Robert Peston imply that he has 'told us so' one more time, without acknowledging that the media, and financial correspondents in particular, have been complicit in the crushing of our customers' confidence, I will be tempted to introduce him personally to some of our more intimate products."As the Standard adds, steady on!
This post is respectfully dedicated to Jackboot Jacqui and Grubby Hubby in gratitude for all the entertainment you've given us in these doleful times.
29 March, 2009
The semi-detached mind at loose in the Multiculture
"Here, ring this number and they will help you with your addiction."
At least that's what I eventually decided she'd said. Now, it may say more about me than about the young lady's fairly thick accent that what I actually heard was
"Here, ring this number and they will help you with your erection."
The mind boggled gently for about 10 seconds — after all, we were on the periphery of Soho — while the necessary phonetic and sociolinguistic postprocessing and reluctant reevaluation took place in my ageing brain.
28 March, 2009
A discreet silence was maintained
Sikh, Punjabi and general Indian news sources are reporting this as a racially-motivated arson attack. Yet I can find no mention of it in the British national MSM. I mean, guys, a racist arson attack on a major Sikh temple in London. That's worth at least a mensh on the BBC, in the Guardian or in the Indie, surely. Of necessity it is reported briefly in the East London Advertiser and it also, bizarrely, apparently cropped up in the Worthing Herald. (I say 'apparently' because the Google News link no longer works.)
So, what's going on?
Then I came across this report in the London Evening Standard, a paper which, whatever its faults, is pretty straight in reporting 'racially tinged' matters in London. The Standard writes
Witnesses today said a man had been run [presumably "been seen running" - don't they have subeditors any more?] into the temple during a women-only prayer session then escaped just before flames were first seen.
Having spotted the intruder, the 10 women quickly discovered the fire, which had taken hold in one of the holiest parts of the temple. They tried to put it out but were beaten back by the flames.
Witnesses described the suspected arsonist as being black or mixed-race.
Most of the temple's roof collapsed and worshippers fear all but one of its eight holy books were destroyed.
Let's look at that third para again: "Witnesses described the suspected arsonist as being black or mixed-race."
25 March, 2009
The semi-detached mind has some improper thoughts
I don't know where the idea came from. One might, I suppose, venture a possible connection with the fact that a Belgian bun is sticky and has a cherry in the middle, but I suspect the origins of the association to be rather more irredeemably random and illogical than that, lost in the workings of the semi-detached mind. Whatever, I am now stuck with it and live in dread of the day when some comely and innocent young maiden politely inquires, "Would you care for a Belgian bun?" I mean, how do you, decently, explain an uncontrollable fit of the giggles in such circumstances?
Or to quote a very old joke, "'The bishop's a long time coming', complained the actress, stirring her tea with the other hand."
On a not dissimilar topic, I was making use of the gentlemen's sanitary facilities in one of our local hostelries, when I happened to read the instructions on the vending machine:
Pull knob out, then push all the way in to dispenseAll very sensible, but given that the machine in question was selling condoms and inflatable sheep (I kid you not) perhaps just a touch unnecessarily explicit.
24 March, 2009
Tales from the Multiculture: I know my rights
A group of Black persons, including a young man in his twenties, the latter probably UK born of West Indian heritage, are entering a nearby building. The young man pauses and begins to engage in a rant at the police officers, intervening on behalf of the yoot and making references to heavy-handed behaviour and to his rights.
Ah the joys of dealing with the 'entitled minorities'. To be fair though, it was possibly undiplomatic of one of the police officers to retort “I'm not interested in your 'rights'”, thus comprehensively enraging the young Black onlooker. I suspect that phrase is not among those approved in the official Home Office guide to Police on Dealing with Wankers in the Street.
23 March, 2009
Financial news from the Multiculture
Just thought you'd like to know that.
The economy of South East London is evidently thriving, particularly in the telephone card, PAYG SIM and mobile unlocking sector. How much of this activity is relevant or contributory to the greater economy of the United Kingdom is another matter entirely.
21 March, 2009
Fighting back in the Multiculture
And do they speak Sri Lankan at home?Perhaps the Isle of Serendip would be a less troubled place if everybody there did speak Sri Lankan, whatever that may be.
Wouldn't it also be jolly nice if we could insist that shop assistants and other customer-facing employees speak English to us? I have posted here passim about dealing with such people in London, who in too many instances speak an English so limited and/or distorted that any transaction beyond the simplest becomes an uphill struggle, or in extreme cases speak something which purports to be English but is actually incomprehensible to the point that the transaction cannot be completed without the intervention of an interpreter.
When I lived in Germany, half the people would insist on practising their English on me as soon as they heard my accent, but generally to get served in shops and post offices and the like, you had to make the effort to speak German.
I'm not for a moment suggesting that every casual visitor, tourist or even temporary "back office" worker in the UK must speak perfect idiomatic British English. I am quite willing to do my best to help them if I can. (I recall on one occasion giving directions out of the kindness of my heart to a group of "asylum seekers", my guess was from Albania, in central London. They were clutching a scrap of paper with the address of Lunar House on it. We communicated in a sort of pidgin Italian. I have to admit, though, that my contribution to international understanding was to point in the general direction of Croydon, say "venti chilometri, per treno da Victoria", and do a runner before the implications had time to sink in.)
But it is not unreasonable to expect those interacting with general-purpose public services such as shops and public authorities to either speak the language adequately or alternatively to accept the disadvantage they may suffer, or perhaps to deal with it by arranging for their own interpretation.
Equally it is not unreasonable to expect that customer-facing people can deal with us in the working language of the country, British English. (Stop that angry baaing at the back there, you Welsh buggers.)
Incidentally, dontcha think that The Admirable Deva Kumarasiri would make an excellent title for an Edwardian novel, penned perhaps by the likes of Wodehouse and treating of the adventures in fashionable London society of a Subcontinental of indeterminate birth but of noble bearing?
17 March, 2009
Has Sunny run out of ideas?
As we aficionados of the Interweb are wont to say on these occasions, WTF? It's a bit of fun, Sunny. A hook on which to hang a passingly entertaining photograph. All newspapers publish little fillers like this. As do many radio and TV news bulletins, usually in the "And finally..." slot at the end where the newsreader's voice either drops into sepulchral tones to announce the death of somebody you've almost but not quite heard of, or alternatively segues into a chipper little anecdote about plastic bath ducks being found on the dark side of the moon.
I appreciate that you're not happy that people aren't taking you as seriously as a mover and shaker in the world of British race politics as you clearly deserve, but this is scraping the bottom of the proverbial just a touch, don't you think? Tell you what, if this does prove to be a harbinger of the imminent collapse of the Mail, I'll buy and eat a bagel. (But I draw the line at buying it off some non-English speaking illegal immigrant rock dove. That pigeon looks as if it hasn't had a bath since it was a squab.)
08 March, 2009
Quote of the day
'She said some of the parents have said their children go to an independent all girls school and unfortunately they're concerned because we have got boys in the club,' Mr Perry said.This patent and startling misunderstanding of human biology may be at the root of the difficulty. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've always been under the impression that boys got girls in the club, not the other way round. Perhaps the parents are concerned that their daughters will fall pregnant due to the mere presence of pubescent males.
(Tip of the titfer to the Penguin, commenting on this Old Holborn post.)
Warning. Gratuitous joke follows:
Q. How do fairies get pregnant?Boom, boom!
A. By sitting on toadstools.
Travelling in the Multiculture
The DLR conductor was a gaunt African lady, East African at a guess. We were approaching Canning Town station at the time. And indeed in her announcement, I clearly heard the phrase "Canning Town". I also just about picked up the phrases "Jubilee Line" and "London Bridge". At least I think I did. As to the rest of her announcement, it was completely unintelligible and I do mean by that that it might just as well have been in Swahili or Amharic. As it happened, I was not intending to transfer to the Jubilee. If she was telling us about service interruptions, for example due to engineering work, it didn't in the event matter to me whether I understood what she was saying or not. Other travellers may have been less fortunate.
Now the point of this anecdote is that part of the job of a DLR conductor is to communicate information to passengers. The working language of London is British English, and this was nothing like it. I'm not suggesting that she should speak with a gorblimey, Lord love a duck cockernee accent, just that she be comprehensible to native-English speaking Londoners.
To that extent she is not competent to do her job and should not have been employed.
This is a widespread problem in London, particularly in relation to platform announcements. London Bridge (National Rail) is particularly bad. Perhaps the transport operators do not care. Or is the problem perhaps fuelled by institutional colour-blindness and fear of the race card? I am reminded of the incident many years ago when some eejit recruiter working for my then employer hired a Ghanaian gentleman for a job which required him to talk to customers, in English, pretty well continuously. Except that he could barely string two words of English together. Because of fear of the race card and a then overpowerful and unreasonable local trade union, it took us four months to get rid of the bugger.
07 March, 2009
The semi-detached mind
On the same topic, I was in a pub in central London the other day (no change there then). This establishment, one of a chain, offers a specialty sausage menu. Very nice they are too. They also offer periodic sausage tasting sessions where customers can sample the range. Which is fine apart from the thought nibbling away at the back of my cortex that a sausage tasting session sounds too much like a game at a gay party. Anyway, I'm standing there contemplating the sausage menu when my gaze lights upon
Pork & BombardierI spend several seconds struggling with the notion of supernumerary artillerymen being chopped up for sausage meat, before I remember that Bombardier is a cask beer brewed by Charles Wells at Bedford. What a relief!
Leaving the pub, having regained my composure somewhat, I pass another catering establishment offering
Children's Menu - £4.95If that's the price of the menu, how much do the bloody meals cost? (Perhaps the place is part of Michael O'Leary's business empire. He'll want something to fall back on once he's finally alienated the last and most desperate of his airline customers.)
Ah the joys of having a semi-detached mind. So much better than living all the time in the real world.
Don't count your chickens before they've roosted
In all, Ireland has received at least 600,000 immigrants, most of them within the past five years. It could be many more. No one has the least idea.Nine million immigrants into the UK would represent 15%. Comparing that against the ONS's 1-in-9 (11%) bombshell, we're getting there Kevin, we're getting there. All too rapidly.
In the US, such immigration would translate into an inward population movement of 45 million. In the UK, the figure would be nine million. Needless to say, neither state would be so idiotic or feckless as allow such vast numbers to enter.
Only Ireland would be so idiotic and so morally lethargic as to allow such massive inward population movements.
I fear your kind estimates of our national levels of idiocy and fecklessness may not be soundly based.
05 March, 2009
Searchight: could try harder
Which is ... wait for it... (to précis the Searchlight piece)...
The BNP have a distribution warehouse in North Wales. We, the crack Searchlight investigative team, have located it. And here's an inside photo (I wonder where they got that from - probably off a BNP website I shouldn't wonder). And look, we've struck a blow against fascism by defacing the building directory (or, being cowards, crudely photoshopping a picture of said directory).
Wow! This is the acme of "anti-fascist" journalism is it, guys? A political organization we don't like very much has got a commercial-grade base from which to distribute publications and other material. Strikes me, chaps, that you've shot yourself in the foot a touch. There will be many potential punters out there who assume that the BNP operation is run entirely out of Nick Griffin's spare bedroom and is therefore not a serious contender, and here you are revealing to the world that they have the funds and the volume to operate on a small commercial (read "professional") scale. Not one of your better publicity coups, Jez.
Does it strike anyone else that the Labour Establishment is getting desperate? What with this sort of tosh and a Labour prospective parliamentary candidate telling us that voting BNP will give you AIDS, or failing that acne. They seem to have started lashing out at random; never a positive sign.