Passing feather-footed through the plashy fens of life, sniffing out curiosities, amusing trifles and scandals from the worlds of culture, politics, news and sport
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Swearing for beginners
So as the amount of cars bearing fluttering white flags with a red cross tells us, another World Cup is about to start. That and the car drivers have very small cocks. The World Cup may have officially begun yesterday, but those were games just involving unimportant countries like France. The real tournament gets under way tonight when England play the USA.
Incidentally, I can understand why David Cameron thinks it would be a good thing politically to fly the flag of St George over the office during this tournament, but isn't there the risk that it will make Downing Street look a bit like a council estate?
You may have read that Wayne Rooney, the troll who plays up front for England (a rather talented, semi-shaved troll, mind), has been told off for swearing and warned that if he does it tonight he will be sent for an early bath. To help referees to prepare properly, they have been given a list of 20 English obscenities to keep their ears open for.
Twenty? Crikey, I wonder what the other 15 are. Will they be really foul, or really tame. Will "you blighter" count? What about "bloody hell, ref"?
Still, if you see Joe Cole say "damn it all" after fluffing a chance and then one of the linesmen shouts "bingo", you'll know that they have completed the full set.
While Rooney must watch his tongue, there is no reason why he can't be creative about expressing how passionately he views the referee's decisions. These tips might help him stay out of trouble:
The Haddock method: Captain Haddock, the bluff seadog who accompanies Tintin, is the angriest cartoon character ever drawn, yet his abuse remains appropriate for children’s eyes, if not their vocabularies. “Billions of blue blistering barnacles” is one insult. “Ten thousand thundering typhoons” is another. And then there are the single-word curses, such as “ectoplasm”, “coelacanth” and “troglodyte”.
Follow Shakespeare: If it’s on the national curriculum it must be OK. So Rooney can call the referee “a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave”. And that is just from one quotation in King Lear.
It’s classier in Latin: “Pedicabo ego vos, et irrumabo” is the opening line to a love poem by Catullus. It is positively filthy – although one school translation just renders it as “nuts to you and go to hell” – but has the advantage that no one will understand it, apart from Frank Lampard, who has a GCSE in Latin.