Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Column, December 20, 2005

WELL what have we learnt from Sue Barker’s rib-tickling gag about Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson – or Churchgate as I’m going to christen it.
Churchgate – d’you see what I did there? Oh well, save it up till the end and give it me big.
Well, firstly we’ve learnt that some people should not tell jokes. Sue Barker is one of those people.
It’s like your aunty the church organist trying to do it, it just doesn’t work, you want to make them stop, but they insist on blundering on embarrassing all around them especially themselves when they realise that the punchline is X-rated and they’re talking to the vicar.
Secondly it’s about our attitude to the BBC and it’s probably a hangover from the days when its presenters would tell us the news from the Empire in full evening dress while being slowly strangled by their dicky bow.
You just don’t expect Auntie Beeb to deliver a gag as crude as ‘keeping Henson out of Church.’ As double entendres go it’s about as subtle as being hit from behind by the Pontypool front row.
The beauty of the double entendre, when it is well-crafted, is that it is on the face of it, entirely innocent, and it is only slowly that its dirty alternative meaning dawns on the listener.
And the true beauty is that the listener has to have a slightly dirty mind to even get it, so they can hardly complain can they?
None of this was the case with Sue’s not-so-funny at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
Firstly, for it to work, Henson would have to have a reputation as a church-goer in the truly Biblical sense. Which he hasn’t. He’s a nice lad, but it can’t be said that he’s chapel through and through can it?
He might be God-fearing, but he’s better known for wearing gel on his hair thatn his faith on his sleeve.
So keeping him out of Church is less of a double entendre and more a single entendre isn’t it?
Sue Barker may as well have just said to coach Mike Ruddock: “So, if you can make sure Henson doesn’t have too much rumpy-pumpy with Charlotte, what do you think your chances are of another Grand Slam.”
So it was a poor joke, and badly delivered by someone who really ought not to deliver jokes.
And that should have been the end of it really. It’s not the end of the world, just a bad joke on what has become a bit of a big, baggy monster of a year-end programme.
But no, we have to have the guaranteed, wind-up, shocked reaction after someone like Sue cracks a joke so crude don’t we?
I’m surprised questions weren’t asked in Parliament such was the moral outrage expressed the next day.
Apparently, we are told, Henson, though he wasn’t there when Sue expressed an interest in his sexual exploits, sat ‘stony-faced’ through the rest of the ceremony.
Stony-faced eh? How could they tell?
He will always be my hero for that kick and for that tackle on Matthew Tait, but I don’t look to Gavin for the whole gamut of emotions writ large upon his features.
I think he tries to keep his face as still as possible for fear that any seismic furrowing of his brow when he smiles might bring the whole edifice of his hair-do tumbling about his ears.
But really, come on, he’s a rugby player for heaven’s sake.
Now I know rugby has cleaned up its act ever so slightly in the days since the Lions knocked lumps out of the Springboks for looking at them funny, but you’re not telling me that a rugby dressing room is not the home of banter so near to the knuckle it would make an Ark Royal stoker blush.
What’s more I’m willing to bet that if Gavin is ever the target of such banter he gives as good as he gets and a bit more.
Furthermore if the worst anyone ever hears in a rugby dressing room and a rugby pitch for that matter is a minor crudity about Charlotte Church then rugby is not the game I used to play and love.
I could recite rugby songs that would make your hair curl and recount behaviour that would have its participants serving lifelong ASBOs. But this being a family newspaper, were I to repeat them here it would probably make this column my last.
Now, I’m guessing that while Gavin himself may never have participated in such behaviour, he was aware of it going on around him and front row forwards are not known to deploy the sort of wit made famous by Oscar Wilde.
In fact when it comes to crudity, they’d be far more at home with Sue.

LITTLE did I know what a raw nerve I’d be touching when I suggested yet another supermarket was not the answer to North Wales’s problems.
Christine Price is the latest to set me straight and she writes:

“David,David,David what a short-sighted article in todays paper re Prestatyn.
On your own admission you do not live in the town- if you DID you would be on your knees praying for the arrival of Tesco.
How many peope in what is virtually a retirement town have the transport to travel out of town to shop,the physical ability to carry the shopping home on the bus or a decent enough pension to pay top prices.
Tesco would address all of these problems, not just for old codgers but for young families on limited incomes too.
We could actually shop at reasonable prices and either afford a taxi home or - glory be - have home delivery.
When was the last time you walked up Prestatyn High Street?
The bottom of the town looks like a scud missile has hit it,Ethel Austen have been forced to close their doors ( supposedly a temporary measure but I have serious doubts about that),shops all the way up have closed and are boarded up precious few true shops remain.
There are plenty of charity shops and multitudes of "visitors" gift shops but you can count on two hands the shops which locals use.
If (please God ) Tesco do come I and others will not abandon our butcher, fruit shop or chemist(the local one).
We will have CHOICE and hopefully be able to purchase it and get it to our homes with the minimum of effort.
I enjoy your column - especially the caustic comments - but please consider the whole community when writing on such an emotive subject,we are not all still working,we are not all in the best of health,we don`t all have cars.the low skill,low paid jobs ARE STILL JOBS FOR SOMEONE !"


Rhys Wynne said...

" If (please God ) Tesco do come I and others will not abandon our butcher, fruit shop or chemist(the local one)."

If Sue provided contact details, I dare you to get in touch with her within a year of this store opening (God willing of course), to see if she still shops at hel local butcher, fruit shop and chemist (providing they're still there of course).

Have you seen this blog about Rhuthun and a new Tesco?

FinbarrSaunders said...

David, your last 2 blogs have been disappointing to my colleagues and the inmates but you're back to form with this one. Well Done !!!