30 August, 2011


Serves you right

Yesterday's Guardian has a charming little "and finally" piece to end its editorial column, relating the tale — yes, I did actually write "tail" there and had to go back and correct it — of "Station Jim", a dog famously resident at Slough railway station who was so appreciated that he was stuffed and displayed there after his death. (Read the link.)

Being the Guardian, they can't resist appending a sententious political tie-in to this amusing little anecdote, can they? (Or should that be "innit?")

Jim is in surprisingly good nick. His coat is glossy, and his case well-polished. Compare this with Britain's other modern mummy, Jeremy Bentham, whose severed head has been repeatedly pinched by students amid dubious japes. We would appear to have greater respect for dead dogs than for dead philosophers. It would be nice to think that, rather than revealing deficient regard for abstract thought, this reflects a proud national trait: the British capacity for boundless sentimentality about animals, including those who are animate no more. Maybe, just maybe, as they rebuild after the riots, shops could consider putting stuffed creatures in their window. Public taxidermy as the antidote to public unrest? Stranger things have happened.

The obvious response is not long coming, in the first below-the-line comment in fact,

How about stuffed rioters in their windows?

Serves you jolly well right, you sanctimonious barstewards. Anyway, it wouldn't surprise me if many of the rioting demographic were more likely to break the window and attempt to eat the stuffed animal. I think you might be on a loser there.


I've just noticed another comment further down BTL

Oh I remember Station Jim from childhood when we went to visit my Aunt Agnes in Slough. How fantastic he's still there! Is The Dolphin pub still there too? I used to thin it was called Courage The Dolphin, and that it was named after a particularly brave cetacean.

Reminds me of when I was sitting in the beer garden (ie several of those one-piece wooden table and bench doodahs in the car park) of a South London pub when a passing German tourist stopped to inquire. He was intrigued by the inscription in huge letters on the side wall of the pub.


it proclaimed. He had seen several of these encouraging mottoes on his travels round London. Was this an English tradition, he wondered? He was most disappointed when I explained that it was the brewery's advertising slogan.

I've often wondered, should I perhaps have left him with his happy illusion.

Funny it should be a German, I used to wonder why evey bar in West Germany was called "Trink Coca Cola"

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