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Cock, fanny, whatever

  Tue 13th May 2014

For one day a year all normal canons of taste are cast into the indifferently style-erasing maw that is the Eurovision Song Contest. I was to watch it with my girls and a friend of mine I met thirty years ago on teaching practice. I printed the scorecards off, then prepared a buffet tea of hydrogenated vegetable fat, salt and sugar.

Francesca turned up dressed as a Dutch peasant, all golden tresses and a long white milkmaid-type dress. Although she's a couple of years younger than me, she's a bit deaf, and in cahoots with my children, who appear to suffer from the same impairment, she turned the TV up so loud I had to stuff bits of paper in my ears.

Iceland had an MP in their band, while Poland brought a washerwoman, chosen for her singing ability alone, which helped them win the UK televote. Hungary judged that a pissed-up Saturday night audience of Czech farmworkers and Russian postmen would take to a song about child abuse and neglect. Russia's entrants tied their hair together and toyed with perspex poles on a see-saw, and Ukraine brought a dancer in a giant hamster wheel--one of the usual crop of redundant Eastern European acrobats. On the internet, we didn't have long to wait before the traditional foreigners' exchange of insults over Eurovision, expressed in the default phrase of girls who don't speak much English: "You are bitch!"

Our song, ("Something's stirring in the silence / And it reeks of passive violence)" finished 17th, up two places from last year. The contest was won by a bearded Austrian transsexual, prompting one Russian politician to remark that "the participation of the obvious transvestite and hermaphrodite Conchita Wurst on the same stage as Russian singers on live television is blatant propaganda of homosexuality and spiritual decay," whilst the former Speaker of the Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, announced that this is "the end of Europe." The leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party said "Fifty years ago the Soviet army occupied Austria. We should have stayed."

I pored over pages of comments on the Guardian about the words "conchita" and "wurst". It's a fecundly polysemic dyad, having many different resonances in slang in South America and Austria. It could mean "little shell sausage", but it also suggests "cock, fanny, whatever, I don't know" in parts of Austria.

Trina watched it at her house, and rang me up in drunken midnight enthusiasm saying that we must go to it live. The following day she'd booked us a flat in Vienna for that week.


"So, who's that girl you've been flirting with on Visage Livre?"

"Oh her [Italian-Looking Woman]. No, you've met her. You met her the other day. She was sat over there. She was that girl at the party."

"She's very pretty. So why are you... dallying with her?"

"No, no, there's nothing there. She is pretty, but do you think I'm going to run off with someone who works in recruitment? That's a fucking non-job for a start. I tell you who is pretty. That girl who took over your job. She is gorgeous. I loved that necklace she had on, do you remember--those grey stones on a silver thread, and that beautiful grey skirt and those black boots--you know, when we all went out to that Chinese. She is gorgeous." Trina smiled and started riffling her hands through my hair.

When we got in I noticed that the bailiffs had been round again. Fortunately we'd all been out. I swept the note up as quickly as I could but Trina saw it, and this morning she rang and asked me the usual questions, "I'm not having you go to jail," "how much would it cost just to postpone them," and so on. I want to hasten my imprisonment, not postpone it. It would be a bit embarrassing, being in the local paper, but it's hardly something that will hinder my future prospects, seeing as I have none.

Before my fifteen minutes of infamy, I'd prepare Kim with a list of what has to be done while I'm in the Queen's Hotel. Trina would add more to my problems, by making me explain why I hadn't entrusted the task to her instead of Kim, but Trina cannot handle situations with which she is not already familiar, having had a narrow upper-middle class life. She'd get in a tizz and go tearfully in person to the bailiff's offices in Liverpool, where they would light up at the sight of a comfortably off but legally uninformed, love-smitten girlfriend. "But they were so kind and understanding, looby. They gave me a cup of tea while they put my card through."

Never mind, at least I'll be secure when I'm old. Got this from the railway pension people the other day.


Let's talk about sex, baby. Could I make a polite request to the women of Lancaster please. More white cotton short-sleeved broderie anglaise tops with the first couple of buttons undone. Saw this girl the other day in town wearing one, lanyard dangling down her cleavage, and I was transfixed. Oh dear, I have become a tit-starer in middle age.


I was googling how to get to Vaduz, because I am not going to meet this European Marketing Manager for Zeneca, or whatever she is, in Glasgow next month, and we were flirting and chatting by text and she pre-suggested a second date in Vaduz, where she's been, and I said I've got David Beattie's history of modern Liechtenstein, and in the course of looking how to get to Liechtenstein, I discovered one of those rich women's blogs which consist of photographs taken during showy-offy visits to places where everything is charming.

8 comments

The pension amount is merely an estimate. You might be in line for more.

Doesn’t all this tit-examining leave you exhausted and frustrated? I can’t decide which condition is worse; yours or mine whereby I don’t think about at all and am spared the mad yearning.

Wed 14th May 2014 @ 03:37
Comment from: [Member]

Well, say they’ve underestimated it by 100%. That still only means £220 a year, or £4 a week. I’m not bothered, honest. The girls can have it.

Yes, there’s an element of frustration, but I can’t help it, and flirting is one of the highest pleasures of life.

Wed 14th May 2014 @ 06:43
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Won’t she be working for Pfizer soon? Trust me, the expenses won’t be so good if that deal goes through… ;-) Been there know that one

I’ve been a tit and arse starer for many many years not just since my middle age

Wed 14th May 2014 @ 10:30
Comment from: [Member]

She works in that sector but not for either of those. I’d be worried if I worked for Astra Zeneca now. Tweedledum and Tweedledee won’t do anything about it of course.

Re the staring—I’m getting worse as I get older!

Wed 14th May 2014 @ 11:16

I can say with great smugness that lovely new Zealand DID NOT broadcast the hellish f*cking Eurovision Song Contest.

Tits and arses are always good. Some are better than others, but they’re still all good.

Wed 14th May 2014 @ 12:04
Comment from: [Member]

Well, I extend you my sympathy for your broadcaster’s benighted ignorance. It’s a hoot TSB, a great night in.

If you walked round Lancaster on a Saturday afternoon, you might have cause to withdraw your optimistic assessment of the front and rear elevations. We’re currently going through a plague of these wobble-bottomed thin jegging efforts. No-one’s arse is that good. Will I be glad when girls go back to wearing skirts.

Thu 15th May 2014 @ 02:01
Comment from: PendleWitch [Visitor]

One of the local schools’ sixth form has a fairly strict dress code - one rule is “Girls should note that leggings are a substitute for tights; not trousers". I think that should be a rule for life…

Thu 15th May 2014 @ 18:57
Comment from: [Member]

Excellent advice PW, that should be broadcast generally throughout the UK.

Thu 15th May 2014 @ 19:14


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 57 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.


There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
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One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
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