Before you begin to read, please be aware that this is by way of a tirade, a polemic, a philippic, a jeremiad, a diatribe… or, put more simply (for the benefit of any sad souls who do not nibble a thesaurus between meals) a rant. And it will most probably involve terms of execration, revilement, vilification, vituperation and, last but by no means least, invective—all aimed at the members of that dire tribe of marketing idiots who insist on trying to sell me something which I do not wish to buy. I refer, of course, to that well-known quadrennial celebration of running round in circles, leaping up and down, and splashing about in water which is commonly known as The Olympic Games.
Please don’t misunderstand me: two of my most heartfelt tenets are—and, I trust, shall ever remain—Live and let live and Whatever turns you on. So if some people wish to engage in the (to my mind) rather peculiar activity of thumping a football from one end of a small, man-made lake to the other for an hour or so, then all well and good. Let them indulge their harmless passion, say I. Nor do I much care that other (again, to my mind) equally ill-advised members of the human race are willing to part with substantial amounts of hard-earned cash in order to watch these aquatic cavortings. You pays your money, you takes your choice—and Amen! to that, too.
No, the cause of my choler is not that people want to amuse themselves in such eccentric ways. Rather, it’s the apparently unshakeable belief that because they think it’s the best thing that’s happened since God (or was it Mother’s Pride?) verily clove the two-pound loaf into several and brought forth Sliced Bread, that I must share their opinion. So this will no doubt come as a shock to them: I don’t.
And yet I cannot turn on the TV and watch the BBC’s World Service for more than five minutes (a practice which, as you may imagine, has become rather less frequent of late) without being addressed as ‘one of the faithful’, whose sole interest in life is to know where the Olympic torch is now (to within five miles) and that it hasn’t gone out… or that (heaven help us!) the government sincerely believes that spectators really are going to cycle back to their hotels in the chilly downpour of an average English summer evening after watching whatever it was they were watching (because public transport simply won’t be able to cope)… or that missiles are to be “strategically positioned” on the roofs of certain public buildings “for reasons of public safety”(what!?)
All that is more than enough in itself. But, in addition (so that Aural Injury may never lack for company while Intellectual Insult is around) we have The Jingle—that musical joke by which my eardrums are continually assailed. I’m given to believe that it’s title is London Calling, but I have lived long enough to know that nothing is certain in this uncertain world—and this is no place to engage in philosophical debate as to what the name of the song is called. It is performed by what a (probably apocryphal) judge once referred to as a ‘popular beat combo’. And, just as all things in the world are uncertain, so is that group’s enunciation of the words of this soul-stirring refrain. To put it bluntly, after being subjected to more than a hundred brain-bludgeoning repetitions, I still didn’t have a clue what the hell they were singing about.
I mentioned this to Hache… who promptly admitted that she hadn’t a clue either. So (purely in the cause of linguistics) we each produced a version of what we thought the words were. Here are both of them, presented side by side for the purposes of comparison:
Be sure the light stops don't mean “turn
You're shiny when I'm alone.
And so I tell myself that I'll eat scones
(They're cheesy when they're cold)
'Cos they're corny, corny, corny –
Need some - corny, etc.
You're sure the lies got stroppy
Turned to stone
You ship* it when I'm alone
And so I tell myself
That I've been stolen
And cheese-links when they're gauche...
'Cos they're corny, corny, corny
Beef funk, corny etc...
*I sincerely hope this is ‘ship’, because another alternative offers itself quite strongly.
If you’re sad enough to want to see the ‘real’ words (which, I have to admit, are sometimes funnier than our ersatz ones), then please click here.