Friday, 1 July 2011


Football fans don't go 'Oooooooh' when their player misses a shot. Football fans shout 'wanker', 'you fucking wanker' and much worse. This of course makes tennis a middle class sport and football the working class ballet, at least that's how it appears. Pippa Middleton may well be muttering 'fucking wanker' at Wimbledon, and I'd like it much more if she did, but it would these days be always under her breath, and probably getting deeper under it as she scales the British social ladder, even though the upper classes here are famous for their bad language. This is a curious paradox and the viciousness of appearances and spectacle. I wish she'd accepted that offer from Vivid to do a porn film for a million or two, that would have been most decent of her.
There's a good chapter on 'Oooooooooooooooooooohs' in Josef Heller's Catch 22 (pg236), one of my favourite novels, where 'Oooo....h's' become catching in the briefing room as a particularly voluptuous nurse in a tight top accompanies General Dreedle. Major Danby, concentrating on clocks and procedure, utters the final 'Ooooh' amongst the silencing of 'Oooooo...h's'. Dreedle immediately replies; 'Take him out and shoot him' as a result of this unfortunate last 'Ooooh'. But it was only really an 'Oh' because he actually 'Oh'd' at something else entirely (timekeeping). The nuance of language, the absurdity of life, is all there. I guess we might try the same with 'Aaaagh's' and their various meanings. I guess that's how I'd like to read bloody fucking Wimbledon.

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