Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 8 December 2012
I was walking though town today, and although I was not deliberately out Christmas shopping, I found the ideal gift for someone whose spouse you absolutely hate.
In a music shop window, a plastic-encased kit sat invitingly close to the glass, and the caption on the cardboard backing read, "Teach yourself to play the Irish Penny-Whistle."
Set in the transparent outer wrapper was, indeed, a shiny golden Penny-Whistle with a red plastic mouthpiece, and beside it was a CD ROM to which - presumably - you can play along with as you learn. The cardboard backing was printed with a photo depicting a rural Irish scene, complete with a castle and setting sun.
What a brilliant and cost-effective way to: cause a domestic murder; the break-up of a partnership that you never approved of in the first place; justifiable infanticide - or simply get rid of in-laws who have overstayed their welcome beyond the 25th of December.
A friend of mine bought his 9 year-old son a full-sized but cheap drum kit recently, but could not afford the isolated house on the remote moor to go with it. His logic was that the kit was too large to be set up in the living room, so - unlike a traditional Victorian tin-drum which can be carried from room to room as it is smitten by the child - it had to be set up in the lad's bedroom. He had forgotten how loud a real drum-kit actually is, so he now spends most of his son's waking leisure time in the pub.
When I was younger and constantly moving from shared flat to shared flat, I always wanted to - having passed the informal interview with the rest of the potential flat-mates - turn up on the day of moving in with a full-sized Tuba, just to see the look on their faces. It was only the cost which put me off the little joke, but I suppose I could have borrowed one for an hour or two.
I once - and this is true - got thrown out of a shared flat for grilling a whole packet of Bombay Duck. In case you don't know what Bombay Duck is, let me tell you that it is an Indian delicacy that has nothing to do with birds. In certain parts of India, they catch long, thin, scraggy fish which have hardly any meat on them at all when alive, then they allow them to rot in the sun for a few weeks until they resemble strips of stinking Biltong. They then vacuum-wrap them (or triple wrap them in the old days) in bundles of about 10, just so they are allowed to put them on a plane for export.
I am not sure how you are supposed to prepare them in their country of origin, but I developed a taste (when living on my own) for grilling them until they turned into greasy, crunchy strips, then eating them without accompaniment, bit by bit. Like Roquefort (or that fruit which you are forbidden to carry on public transport by local law) they absolutely stink, but they taste strangely delicious - once you have got over the gagging reflex caused by the grilling. I was told by one of the erstwhile flatmates that they had to bring in professional cleaners when the smell showed no signs of dissipating after about two weeks.
So there you have it - forget turkey this year, give them Bombay Duck instead.