Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Idler, Monday, February 27, 2017

Transatlantic convolution of meaning


We've got sunlight on the sand.

We've got moonlight on the sea.

We've got mangos and bananas we can pick right off the trees.

We've got volleyball and ping-pong and a lot of dandy games.

What ain't we got? We ain't got dames!

THE lines from South Pacific, the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, illustrate transatlantic convolution of meaning.

In Britain a dame – such as Dame Vera Lynn, who we discussed last week – is the female equivalent of a knight, a member of a chivalric order reaching back in some cases to the 14th century.

In America the title "right honourable dame" is considered a contradiction in terms.

Yet the fellows in South Pacific longed for dames. I don't think they were yearning for ancient chivalric orders.


LYNN and Glyn. The rhyming surnames recall a bit of verse about actress Eleanor Glyn.

Would you like to sin

With Eleanor Glyn

Upon a tiger skin?

Or would you prefer

To err

With her

Upon some other fur?


Good stuff!

WELL, the Sharks did more than pretty well in their opening match. They led almost the entire game. They tackled magnificently. That try from a driving maul – classic stuff! The Kings Park season ticket looks a sound investment.

Yeah they let it slip. Pat Lambie should have banged over a couple more kicks when he got the chance.  The lad was kicking like a metronome. But, as they say in the classics, if your aunty had gonads she'd be your uncle.

Yeah, James Tuttle scored for Queensland off a forward pass. When an Aussie commentator says it's forward, you know it's forward. But such are the fortunes of war – and rugby.

It's early days. And the boys showed they have class. Good times must surely lie ahead.

Bank charges

THE banks are much in the news these days. My old pal, Tom Dennen, accuses them of being a tad arrogant with his money.

"Bank charges? I lend my money to a bank just to earn a tiny bit less interest than the bank gets lending out my money.

"Then one day, the bank actually starts charging me to lend it my money. A deposit charge? I don't get it. I'd rather keep my money under the mattress.

"But then the bank insists that mattresses are not safe and I mustn't carry cash around either because I'll get robbed. Then the bank puts an arbitrary withdrawal charge of fifty bucks at the ATM.


So now I have to take out larger amounts of cash so I don't get hit for R50 next time I need some cash. Then I think: 'But they said I mustn't carry large sums around or I'll get robbed… and the mattress is out for the same reason.'



AND Tom finds support from none other than Ian Gibson, poet laureate of Hillcrest.

The banks have been in cahoots

To milk us with devilish loots;

So, honesty's an illusion

In the face of collusion;

Now's the time to put in the boots!



Churlish cops

THESE cops show no appreciation of the arts. When they stopped a woman who was driving erratically in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the US, they ordered her to perform a field sobriety test. She obliged in spades, performing cartwheels and backflips.

They tried to stop her but it went on and on. At one point she collided with an officer and knocked him down.

Then she collapsed giggling.

Then they booked her. Very churlish.

Just as our local cops once booked a well-known Midlands farmer at Camperdown after he proved his sobriety by performing the Cossack dance on the N3.

Again, no appreciation of artistry.



VAN der Merwe is on holiday in England. He's invited to go fox-hunting. He's a natural. He looks a treat in his hunting pink. He takes his horse over hedges, gates and ditches at full gallop as if he were born to it.

Afterwards he's chatting to the hunt master,

"Well Van, old boy, you certainly seemed to enjoy yourself. You're a wonderful horseman. The chaps are saying you look as if you've been riding to hounds all your life."

"Ag, thanks."

"Just one thing though. In hunting we shout: 'Tally-ho the fox!' Not: 'Daar gaat die blerrie jakkals – skiet hom!'"


Last word

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell


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