Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Idler Friday, February 17

These stair-riding motor cars

CARS don't do too well on stairways. In central London the other day a driver took a wrong turn and found himself on a flight of stairs meant for pedestrians. It was at Broadgate Circle near Liverpool Street station. The black Toyota was firmly wedged, and photographs began appearing on social media.

It recalls an incident in one of Evelyn Waugh's pre-war novels when socialite Mrs Algernon Stitch deliberately drove her baby Austin down such a stairway, trying to catch up with a fellow she'd spotted, who she wanted to speak to.

It also recalls an incident in days of yore when the inhabitants of my student digs were wakened from our slumbers by the older brother of one of our digsmates.

He was in a state of great agitation. He had a problem. He'd taken a girl out for dinner who was a mistress at a very posh girls' school. After dropping her off at  her digs at the school, he took a wrong turn and found himself driving down the very imposing stairway that led up to the school hall. Then, of course, he got stuck. Cars don't like stairways. He couldn't budge it.

Next day was Parents' Day at the school. This would not look good. It might suggest inebriation. It might have been more acceptable if he'd been stuck on the stairway in a Bentley or something, but this was a Ford Prefect.

When we'd recovered ourselves from our sympathetic laughter, we all walked to the school and – heave ho! – we had the car off the stairs in a jiffy. A Ford Prefect is so much lighter than a Bentley.

I could name this older brother, of course. Today he's a senior professional man in Maritzburg. But he has bought our silence over the years in pints of beer. Now I think of it, another payment is overdue …


Eddie the mystic

WHAT a cracker of a game it was last weekend between England and Wales in the Six Nations – near-faultless play on either side, the outcome decided only in the final minutes. And tomorrow it's England against an Ireland smarting after going down to the Scots. This should be another humdinger.

To go back a week, did England coach Eddie Jones suss out the goats and the daffodils? He said before the game:  "We have prepared for any shenanigans that might go on. The Welsh are a cunning lot, they've got goats, they've got daffodils - we're preparing for anything."

It's mystified the rugby scribes. Goats? I suppose the Welsh Guards have a goat as a mascot. Daffodils? Wales does have daffodils but the Lake District of England is more famous for them.

Has Eddie become a mystic? Has he immersed himself in Wordsworth?

We wonder if he's as well prepared against Ireland tomorrow – leprechauns, fairies, banshees, shillelaghs and Guinness.

Modern rugby is an increasingly technical and complex game.




YESTERDAY I announced my plan to appear on the centrefold of Playboy magazine – now it's reverted to its theme of nudity – wearing nothing but a monocle and smoking a cigar.


But a fellow from Pennington, who calls himself Hughbythe sea, puts a dampener on the idea.


"I'm sure that the magazine will be banned - unless you get rid of the cigar!"


Sigh! He could be right. But a vaporiser just doesn't have the same cachet. I suppose a corncob pipe is also out of order.


Sigh again! Art has its challenges.

Kids' responses

EARLIER this week we looked at a questionnaire in America of Second Grade kids. On how and why God made moms. It reminded reader Maureen Elysee of an incident in her own home.

"It happened one Sunday morning. There was no mass so Aunty Coll rounded up a bunch of little cousins who had slept over and said: "We are going to do catechism. Who made you?"

A little hand shot up: "God made me."

"Right. Why did God make you?"

Long silence. Then little Senna piped up: "Because He got tired of making dinosaurs!"


AN APPLICANT is being interviewed for admission to a prestige medical school.

"Where do you expect to be 10 years from now?"

"Well, it's Wednesday afternoon. The golf course, I guess."

Last word

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style. -  Quentin Crisp




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