Sunday, June 22, 2008

Boris Johnson: Who, Why, How?

I live abroad and don’t watch the news as much as I should. Although, if I did, it could only be news about a chicken that likes to watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire, an incident that involves shouting and wearing lots of gold jewellery, or a woman in Moldova who hasn’t been able to stop crying for 30 years. I should read newspapers, but the Guardian that I pay to get delivered every week (in theory) is as out of date as Tony Benn when it arrives. I therefore didn’t know until recently that Boris Johnson had become Mayor of London; I only barely knew he was running for it from a cryptic reference made by an English person I met here by chance. Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson? B o r i s J o h n s o n. Not experimental novelist and paper-clip fetishist B. S. Johnson, not a member of Anthony and the Johnsons, though both might have been interesting. No, the blond professional oaf off of Have I got News for You; the bloke who slagged off Liverpudlians for being falsely sentimental. Maybe he’s not a bad person. Just a knob. But mayor?? This polarises my entire headspace with regard to the cheeky chirpy Londoners of whom I once counted myself a member. It’s their saving grace that they don’t take themselves too seriously, unlike, well, Parisians. But it also shows they don’t give a monkey’s about anything else either - ‘cos that’s what I’ve always imagined Boris is most proud of.

Here’s my theory: Boris Johnson is that horrid, smug, blond child on the Kinder bars. As an 9-year-old more interested in equity investment plans than in conkers, he invested his vast and wholly undeserved Kinder bar modelling fortune - probably in chemical weapons and land mine manufacturing, just because he could. This then funded an adolescence of Young Conservatives pig parties that lasted until, well, recently, and even that still left enough dosh for him to watch his profits grow from his faux opium den in Kensington, until he’d grossed enough by 2008 to run for London mayor and really start taking the piss. I reckon it’s only the mildly amusing name “Boris” that keeps passers-by from grabbing him by the underpants and giving him a wedgie every time he goes out of the house. Or maybe I’ve underestimated the man; maybe I’m out of touch. I do hope he is tries to be a good mayor.


Mrs Pouncer said...

Dear Mr Dilo, Firstly, shouldn't you be on an Italian beach with your lady wife and 10 novitiates from the Convent of St Cunegund?

Secondly, although Mr Johnson (dear Boris to us) has been described as a bouffant-haired Bunter with his eye on the main chance, I can wholly vouch for him as the perfect Houseguest and almost unbeatable at croquet.

We cannot ignore the fact that he is an Old Etonian, and I think it shows. My own dear father was at Charterhouse, and was credited with usage of the dread phrase "Cheer up! It's not as bad as Charterhouse!" to each new slave on the Burma railway. I have met several others, however, who bestow the honour on THEIR fathers, with " Harrow", " Winchester", " Wellington" etc. But no-one has said it about Eton. It is because Etonians have such a wonderful time at school (Molesworth is good on this; something like "their toothpaste is waiting for them chilled in the washbasin") that their sheer joie de vivre bursts through and enchants all who come near.

Off to Wimbers now. Cordially as ever, Mrs P

Gyppo Byard said...

A true story about our Boris (I was *there*):

In 1984 - his fresher year, no less - he ran a campaign for the presidency of the notably unwashed and Spartist Oxford University Student Union, on an Anti-NUS ticket; a position he apparently chose merely for the acronym.

He and his cohorts proceeded to plaster central Oxford with posters reading "A.N.U.S. IS BEHIND YOU!"

All politicians are callous buffoons. At least Johnson wears his callous buffoonery on his sleeve. And he was MP for Henley, which is jolly nice. On the downside, he was a Balliol man.

Kushti bak, Gajes!
Gyppo Byard (The Queen's College, 1983-86, believe it or not)

M C Ward said...

Nice story, Gyppo. A colleague of mine went to Oxford at the same time as Bill Clinton was there - an unremarkable future president by all accounts.

I agree with Gadjo about Johnson's knobbism. Only Jeremy Clarkson would be marginally worse.

No Good Boyo said...

My first ever blog posting was about a telephone conversation with one of Boris's minions, who thought I was his constituent (he was about 300 yards out):

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm much happier being run by over-confident patricians with ridiculous names. But that's because I am permanently half-cut and like a good laugh.

Macmillan, Boothby, Curzon - funny.

Thatch, Major, Heath - not funny.

And yes, why aren't you having tallow rubbed into your hump by the brides of Dracula on some beach in Rimini?

Mrs Pouncer said...

Dear Mr Boyo, now I can't get the mental picture of Mr Dilo's tallow-smeared hump out of my poor head. I shan't sleep tonight. Cordially etc

Gadjo Dilo said...

Dear all, I just got back from the aforementioned beach and my hump is red raw, believe me. But more of this (plus a hello, this is comedy warning to my fellow holidaymakers) later. Thanks ever so much chaps for commenting a bit, even though I wasn't here.

Yes, an interesting insight, Gyppo. I hadn't quite grasped the idea that Boris is a real person. This man who bases his political affiliations on the acronyms that they generate is truly the Londoner's answer to Vaclav Havel. But Mrs Pouncer clearly knows his better side, and I do hope that she'll put in a good word for us.

Great that you had an active interest in Vinnie Jones back then, Boyo. I too like leaders with ridiculous names, particular ridiculous "given names", leading, presumably, to constant ragging at skool and thereby to development of character.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Hoorah! You are home! I simply can't
tell you how much you have been missed. Absolutely can't wait to hear your holiday report, but do be quick. I am at Wimbers for the rest of the week, and Henley starts on Monday, so please gather your thoughts ... and publish or be damned! Cordially etc etc