Monday, 9 April 2012
s*itting on the throne
- thanks to the late great Spike Milligan for that one, leads me neatly into the matter of this month's musings - brought about by several tenuously-linked little la-de-das: firstly, a rather pointless discussion from the world of work whereby one of the local lads started having a pop-in-jest at my regional northern accent, and giving it the usual 'why don't you speak proper?', without the slightest trace of irony; riding hard on the heels of this was a discussion in the dA forums about how much somebody liked 'The British accent'; both this and the regional rivalry of course being of equal nonsense-value.
- much as with the peoples of any other country in the world, the accent of any given Briton will differ vastly even between counties separated only by a matter of a couple of miles: of course, the perceived accent of the 'British People' (rather insultingly taking no account of the wonderful dialects of the Welsh, the Scots, and the Irish, who make up more than a fair proportion of these little isles of ours), is that very clipped-and-correct manner of delivery that one associates with the BBC Home Service Radio Broadcasts, and possibly her madge the Queen and her ilk (like an elk, but with smaller antlers). The trouble with that perception of course is that it's an affectation - the very term the Queen's English rather than being the definitive form of how the Brits speak, is in fact, by its own name, defining itself as an affectation of spoken english - just in as much as American English is a different way of speaking (and occasionally spelling) the language, so too is the Queen's version of the tongue - thus failed my associate's attempt at a learned argument, when he claimed that his manner of speaking was correct since it was of the Q.E. variety - 'fraid I had to tell the poor chap that he'd been hoist by his own petard, as it were - and nothing mucks up a discussion on 'proper' english than throwing in a term derived from something in French.
In any event though, this was clearly a case therefore of ha-ha with knobs on as far as his argument went - because her Elizabethness is of course of directly German descent, and thus the Windsors' way of wordiage is in fact derived from how a German user of the tongue might first approach it - and therefore it's actually German English. Me, I speak English - a 'northern' dialect, certainly, but still just English (in spite of all the best efforts of my German, French, Spanish, and Latin teachers...should've kept up with the lessons really, them were some of my best grades at school, but heyho).
Anyway, my accent, such as it is, seems to be fairly under-represented in the world's stage of things - the nearest I've heard to it anywhere in the medium of the media is I guess somewhere close to what that lass in 'Frasier' does, whose accent roves somewhere in the no-man's land between Bolton and Manchester - but ne' mind that - some of Britain's other regions thankfully are gaining more recognition: Scotland owes many thanks I think to the likes of Connery and Connelly, in no particular order, as well as a young Mister McGregor and some of his peers; Wales' most recent heroes on the scene I suppose would be the likes of Rhys Ifans and Ioan Gruffudd - and Anthony Hopkins for the Old School though it's somewhat more rare to hear his accent during any 'typical' performance; and probably the most obvious Irishman of the moment would be Colin Farrell - with a heavy nod though too towards one Brendan Gleason, even though he does tend to portray a Scot more often than not, so it'll be very unlikely you'll have heard him in full-on Irish mode - anyway, you might have seen him in the likes of Highlander and Braveheart - to narrow it down a bit, he's one of the big lads.
Meanwhile, some of the other regional accents of Britain got a bit of a showing by way of a little movie you may have heard of that had something to do with magic rings and halfbits, or something like that - but other than these, I suppose we're generally still collared with this 'Royal We' thing that folks think us Limeys adopt as the standard. Anyway, that more or less brings me to what I've been thinking about for this little bit of the month (look at that, all that fuff and I'm not even close to the point yet, talk about bloody blarney...) - that, and the fact that I just caught up again with a film about 'The Madness of King George', whose problems with purple piddle (the royal wee, see?) - presumed porphyria, posthumously - gave him a somewhat eccentric edge on things every now and again.
- so, I was having meself a bit of a thinkle, mid-tinkle, about the 'order of the privy' (you know how I like to lurk around life's lavatorial latitudes) - nowadays I believe merely a fairly meaningless title, but which at one point I think actually entailed the duties due to the monarch's motions - as quite well represented in said film - in keeping an eye in no uncertain terms on the Regent's robustness, as might be ascertained by examination of his Kingly clear-outs, so to speak. I wondered first of all what rate of pay might recompense this somewhat unappealing occupation: would you perhaps be receiving - for the performance of this service, and the resposibility for the royal rear - a King's ransom for the King's rectum, or a Princely sum for a Princely bum? Perhaps a pound for every time you have to pore over the pot?
I dunno, maybe you'd end up making a game of it to take your mind off it all, like some kind of bum-themed bingo - y'know, eyes down for a full house, and all that. Also, what kind of prospects might there be, it's not really the sort of job that offers any kind of upward mobility(not so much a rosy future, more of a little brown carnation)...quite the opposite, in fact - plus, you ought to be careful moving about too much down there anyway, in case you cause a bit of unwarranted pomp and circumstance or something while you're 'round the wrong end of the regent or regina - you might end up getting knighted in nicturate, or find that your sovereign has slipped a sneaky sausage out at you while you're bowed under the bum of Britain.
I don't know if this sort of thing still goes on in the Royals' rest-rooms, whether or not they still have their arse-attendants - I know the 'Ladies in Waiting' are still extant, and thinking about all this stuff I can guess what they're waiting for, 'cause it must take the monarchs bloody ages to get off the bog with all that nonsense going on...so yeah, I wonder if the job-opening (so to speak) ever comes up in the newsheets - and if so, I wonder just how they might phrase the advert - something to do with helping the empire deal with problems in the colonies, perhaps? Evacuation expert required? I'd guess too that you'd need some degree of experience, otherwise the term 'wet behind the ears' could take on a whole horrible new meaning. And what do you think the other officers of the crown think of this particular office, and the orifice it answers to? - it used to be considered one of the highest stations in the land, even if it might have seemed quite lowly - not quite the guardianship of the Crown Jewels, but I suppose the Crown's stools used to be held in quite high regard (which would be better after all than holding them low, where you'd get a niff of 'em). No doubt there would be a certain science to it all among the concern for the Ruler's well-being, derived from many generations of doctoring to doo-doo, presumably there'd be some long-recorded histories from the previous privy-keepers - a blog of the bog, as it might be, or a fulsome file of faecal facts and figures, and a pathology of poops from the past - a lengthy log of all previous polluted ablutions, toxic turds, and poisonous plops. Certainly I imagine somebody in that history would have had the twin responsibilities concerned with...'weights and measures'...making sure the increments and excrements compared as favourably as they ought to.
- but eh, what a way to start your day, weighing up waste and widdle, and taking notes on the nobbles in the nobles' nuggy-bricks, sifting through the sticky bits in chamber pots chock-full of choccy-blocks. It'd be about enough to put you off your breakfast...though I suppose you'd be more or less okay so long as you stayed away from the cook's fudge brownies.
I dunno - I guess, at the end of it all(!), it'd be much to do with mind over matter to keep your your morning's munchies out of your thoughts while you were dealing with the king's dinner - though then again, this is faecal matter we're minding, and that's not the kind of matter that doesn't matter - kinda like anti-matter, in a way - inasmuch as you wouldn't want to come into contact with either type - it'd surely be in your best interests to avoid any sort of close encounters of the turd kind; worse yet, brushing up against them UFO's - unidentified faecal objects - arriving out of nowhere, messing up the place and scaring people, and having a peculiar attachment to the rectal region - excremental extra-terrestrials, little brown men - who needs 'em? Not my cuppa tea, ta very much - I'll leave it to them with a fascination for the fundamental things in life, and a morbid interest in the monarch's muck-bucket.
I'm assuming that nowadays there's less of an emphasis on this sort of thing, and that 'Liz number Two's number twos are nobody's business but her own, and that she takes care of all her own queenly quintessentials when it comes down to that sort of thing - I suppose the business of the monarch's 'business' must have all but gone out of business when a certain Mr. Thomas Crapper (I shit you not) started up a small business with his new invention of the flushing-water commode, which I believe was first endorsed - in all possible meanings of the term - by one Queen Victoria, who apparently found no amusement whatsoever in any kind of toilet-humour. These devices began as quite closeted contraptions, but later became more public conveniences - only to become quickly inconvenient when they required the deposit of a penny before any other kind of deposit might be allowed - hence the term 'spend a penny' being applied to the process involved; and I can only assume it would cost you tuppence for a function that might conceivably take at least twice as long - hence, presumably, this all lead to our modern euphemisms using the first two numbers of the digibet. What with inflation of course, it can nowadays cost as much as a pound to spend a penny, which means the queen's coffers have probably filled up almost as much as the Thames - which is of course why the flood-barriers had to be built.
...anyway, I must go - and I really mean that - I've sank three cups of tea typing this stuff.
Today's Journal was brought to you by the numbers one and two, and by the letters p and u - and was a production of the Unsuitable for Children's Television Workshop.