New Boots and Panties

“Arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks” screamed Ian Dury in  the opening line of “Plaistow Patricia” from his superb debut album “New Boots and Panties” in 1977. Was anyone offended? I don’t know, I certainly wasn’t as a 12 year old boy listening in my bedroom and turning it down so my mum couldn’t hear. Now she would have been offended but she would never have listened to Ian Dury and to my knowledge Engelbert Humperdinck never swore on any of his albums so no harm done there. That dear reader is the point, the current wave of poor souls complaining to anyone that will listen that they have been offended by what they have seen and heard needs to stop. There is a time to be offended and time to mind your own business.

The analagy I want to use is this. If I heard Gethin Jones say “fuck” on Blue Peter I would be offended. There is obviously no place for swearing on childrens television. Now, if Gethin was on “Friday Night With Jonathan Ross” and he said “fuck” I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Everyone says “fuck” on “Jonathan Ross” I know what to expect. My wife has chosen not to watch Ross because she finds him offensive, choice put into action.

Which brings me to the the infamous Ross/Brand/Sachs incident. What they did was infantile but not offensive in my view but I would choose to listen to Ross and Brand and know what to expect. There were virtually no complaints at the time it went to air and they only started pouring in when people who would never listen to Ross and Brand read about it in the press. They have no right to be offended by the report of an incident that was not intended for their ears. My 79 year old mum listens to Terry Wogan on Radio 2 because she knows what to expect, she would never listen to Ross or Brand because it’s not for her and she knows it, simple. If Terry said “I hope all my listeners over 70 die painful deaths this week” my Mum would be offended and rightly so, if Russell Brand said it she would neither know about it nor care. She loves Paul O’Grady even though he’s “one of them” (my Mum’s words) he’s perfectly safe at 5pm on Channel 4. My Mum would never watch O’Grady as Lily Savage therefore would never be offended by O’Grady’s alter ego, not her business. 

The recent furuore over Carol Thatchers “golliwog” comment, said in private, is ridiculous. I can be racist, homphobic, ageist and sexist in equal measure in my own home mostly without meaning it or really thinking it. Hand on heart who isn’t? Honestly? But I know in public where to draw the line, I know not to offend and I know that if I told an innapropriate joke in the wrong company then I deserve all the vilification that would come my way.

The Dail Mail reported today that on QI comedienne Jo Brand likened Margaret Thatchers name change to Lady Thatcher to a feminine shaving device . That is funny, approprite for the show and completely inoffensive. It has become offensive to those who will now complain because The Mail have brought it to their attention. When I have finished this post I will complain to the press authorities about the Mail persistantly telling me about things I wasn’t meant to hear. I hope you all join me.

In conclusion, if you know you don’t like something or someone, excercise your right not to watch or listen. If you enjoy Last of The Summer Wine on a Sunday night and Russ Abbott is shown full frontally naked, excercise your right to complain. If you read about something in the press that wasn’t intended for you, excercise your right to mind your own business.

As a footnote New Boots and Panties was re-issued as a tribute album a few years ago. Shane MacGowan performed an excellant version of Plaistow Patricia and Robbie Williams performed Sweet Gene Vincent. I’ve often wondered how many parents of young Robbie fans bought the album only to hear “arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks blaring out of the family stereo. Would they have the right to be offended?

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I have learnt many things in my first 5 months blogging. There are some decent people out there, some nasty people out there, some opinionated people out there and some complete lunatics out there. But we all have the need to be heard in common. Differences can be seen in many aspects of what we all do and one in particular got me thinking about my favourite word BOLLOCKS!

I used the word in a comment on a particular blog, a very talented American talking about many different subjects didn’t know what it meant. So I sent him an explanation and he has assured me it will become part of his vocabulary. Global learning, evolution of language via the internet, love it.

So, why is bollocks my favourite word? I think it stems from the fact that most of the four letter swear words are now so common place in the media,  even the “C” word no longer shocks the way it did. So I need a word that covers all, that has impact and still gets a reaction but you have to say it right. When said correctly and in the right context there really is nothing else to be said.

This is the explanation I sent my American blogger.

“Bollocks” is an English slang term for testicles! Can be used as an exclamation i.e. “My team just lost, bollocks!” Can be used derisively i.e. “That environmentalist talks a load of bollocks” It is a word for all seasons and the more you emphasise the “boll” the more offensive it sounds. “All that fuss about David Beckham is a load of “BOLLocks”. Typically for us limeys there is an English term “The dogs bollocks” which is used as a complimentary term i.e. “Your blog is the dogs bollocks.” Seriously that is a compliment and I’m not talking bollocks

So there you have it my favourite word “BOLLOCKS”, what’s yours? Please let me know and maybe I’ll learn something new too.