Friday, November 28, 2008

G-G-G-G-G-Granville! (#4) The World's Top Stammerers

Disclaimer: Gadjo Dilo in no way supports bullying, which is shite, and anyway he now has several years of martial arts training under his belt so come over here - yeah you, <name deleted> - and try your luck if you disagree :-)

As promised, and with great pride, I hereby present the cream of the world’s stammerers. Rather than categorise them by profession I’ve used a simple tripartite taxonomy based on psychological profiling which I call “Playground Kicking Classification”. This simple metric also has everyday application: when you come across a stammerer, enact this scenario in your imagination and you’ll quickly understand what sort of stammerer it is and how it should be treated. (I myself largely managed to avoid this nonsense in the school playground by floating around like some ethereal golden-haired sprite too beautiful to be touched by human hand – I still don’t understand how I got away with it.) Some of the following may actually be ex-stammerers, but this only goes to show how effective a good kicking can be.

Kickable, regardless of what they might have “achieved”:

Rowan Atkinson: If kicked will do the funny face. Now probably a multi-millionaire though.
Yukio Mishima: Gay Japanese poet and fascistic ritual suicidalist - asking for it.
Marc Almond: We suspect he made his stammer up to justify his vaunted victimhood status.
Lewis Carroll: Simply a freak. Avoid.
Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad (Indian communist leader): Looks more like a Swot (see below) but you’d always make him say his name in full and then throw his duffel bag over the fence.

Can stammerers be cool?? Surprisingly, yes, though it may not be obvious at first. By constantly compensating for their deficiency they can become extraordinary gifted at something else. If you’re smart you’ll think before you kick:

Winston Churchill: The ultimate over-compensating stammerer. Respect.
Tiger Woods: All black sportsmen are cool, even if they play golf (though this pushes it a bit, admittedly).
Marilyn Monroe: Sex kitten. Enough said.
James Earl Jones: Super-cool - turned his stammer into the world’s most mellifluous voice.
Joe Biden: An asthmatic, a dunce and a stammerer when young, but you'll soon be mighty glad that you didn’t nick his dinner money.

The “halfway-house” where kicking’s concerned. Many stammerers spend a lot of time in libraries and other places where they try to avoid embarrassing themselves. Surprisingly, it can be worth giving these types the time of day: by pretending to be their friends you can get to copy their homework. Kick, but only as an incentive:

Bruce Willis: “Cool Person”, surely? No. Swot. Becoming a famous actor with a stammer and no talent, he must be a grafter.
Ed Balls: Maths homework... possibly. But which came first, the stammer or the cruel nicknames?
Isaac Newton: He also wore a girl’s wig so even looks like a freak, but his homework’s still worth borrowing.
Charles Darwin: A useful science bod on your homework team, though you'd have to do the monkey dance every time you met him.
Aristotle: Unusual double Cockney rhyming slang for “arse” (via “bottle and glass”), but he’s one of the swots that other swots most often copy from, so knowing him can save you a trip or two to the library.

This list of high-achieving stammerers seems endless, though actually it ends here. T-t-ta-ta for now!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gadjo’s Video Jukebox #2

The Romanians got their chance in the previous video jukebox, so now it’s time give the Hungarians a go. (The Hungarians already had a go, they’ll tell me, and Fărâmiţă Lambru was %100 gyppo and nothing to do with us; why don’t you put on something by that nice Julio Iglesias, now he’s a Romanian) The Hungarians of course used to run this town, and although Ceauşescu ensured that their community is now reduced to an embittered rump their well-dressed presence here still leavens the dough a little. They may seem cold and to have one pint of blood less in ‘em than the rest of humanity (other than of course their distant cousins the Finns... and I mean distant - have you ever tried having a conversation with one of those people??), and a silly language, but they are at least modern people. They understand irony, and for that and for their comparatively spicy cuisine I thank them. Here’s the fine Hungarian/gypsy ensemble Besh O Drom with both a tribute to and pastiche of communist-era Top Of The Pops.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gadjo’s Video Jukebox #1

A video jukebox is a fantastic idea, allowing one to inflict one’s music on others and yet requiring so very little effort! I begged and pleaded with Scarlet Blue to let me do this, and eventually she relented and even explained how to do it. I’m in the mood (i.e. still knackered) for doing this regularly, but I have to warn you that there'll be much music from Romania and other parts of Eastern Europe, you will see gypsies, and it will feature the ţambal as much as possible. Out of respect to Scarlet I’m going to start with something for the laydees – ladies, that is, who like their gypsies to use as much Brilliantine as is humanly possible. Here’s Fărâmiţă Lambru singing about a wedding ring. Even if you don’t like the music, take a look at the man’s microphone technique.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

TV Transylvania #1

I'm still exhausted, so here are some suggestions for television programmes that they could show over here, if somebody had an ounce of imagination, that might perk me up a bit.


Everybody – everybody here, at least - agrees that there’s nothing funnier than a kitten on a skateboard, a dog chasing its own tail or a hamster trying to escape from a pan of frying chips. (Why they use canned laughter on these programmes I do not know – it’s always drowned out by hysterical real laughter in every household I’ve been in.) But the potential entertainment value of the donkey has not been explored to its full potential. There are many of these lovely animals here but they’re made to perform manual tasks like pulling carts of hay. I’m convinced they have a more artistic temperament and are just dieing to get on the stage, maybe simply to waggle their ears in time to The Birdy Song or to do a Graham Norton impersonation. Or they could be asked questions: stamp a hoof so many times for the number of sides on a pentagon, wonders of the ancient world, horsemen of the apocalypse, etc. It’s TV Gold.


Until the presenter got pregnant the most popular programme in Romania was Surpriză, Surpriză!. Yes, the same one we used to have in UK with the lovely Cilla Black. It used to go on for about 7 hours every Saturday evening, and in a country where people get by with so very few dreams it made most of those dreams come true. But more realistic – and more modern, considering the “reality television” phenomenon - would be a programme with absolutely no surprises at all. Bloke wakes up, goes and milks the cows, bids his neighbour good-day, calls him a twat under his breath, goes home for breakfast, grunts at his wife, feeds the chickens, has a dump, goes home for lunch, grunts at his wife again, feeds the pig, talks to the dog, digs the vegetable plot, goes home for dinner, grunts at his wife, shuts himself in the bog for 20 minutes with his memories of Laura Lavric, goes to sleep. Every day.


Back in the Good Old Days there was only one channel, only 4 hours of broadcasting per day, and half of those were dedicated to the doings of Comrade Ceauşescu and his Charming Wife Elena. Some people actually miss those times: they were starving but at least everybody else was too, and they were ruled by a megalomaniac arse but at least he was their megalomaniac arse. I’d like to bring back a bit of that for the sake of nostalgia. The only Romanian man alive with comparable standing to “The Genius of the Carpathians” is Ilie Năstase. Ilie played good tennis but is now mainly known for being 6th on Maxim magazine’s list of lotharios, having slept with 2500 women despite looking like my friend Steve*. I think many people would like to spend 2 hours an evening watching and learning his technique.

* Steve is sadly no longer with us, but he was also astonishingly successful in this arena of human endeavour.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Most Embarrassing Record

I've been tagged (kinda) by Scarlet Blue who asks for a most embarrassing record ever owned. I'm gonna name two, as I have been a very embarrassing person over the years. I still haven't got speakers fixed up, so I do hope these clips show the two songs in their full glory.

1: Too Young by Donny Osmond. When I was about 9 years old a friend and I saved up our pocket money to buy this. And we owned it jointly, the idea being that I'd have it one week and he'd have it the next, etc. He rapidly realised that everything about this situation was incredibly uncool and I become ipso facto the sole owner. I'd like to say that I then destroyed it using a home-made bomb comprising weedkiller, Thunderbird and indoor fireworks, but in truth it probably got taken to an Oxfam shop by my mum 20 years later.

2: You Think You're A Man by Divine. I bought this when planning to make a small, humorous film about my Open University colleagues and I wanted to sample this track. (I never made the film - lacking time, money, and knowledge of how to make a film). When I rented out my bedroom to a young Indian couple I left (for some unknown reason) this CD (baaad choice) on top of the stereo. 2 years later, when they left, I found that it was still there, covered in a thick layer of dust - they couldn't even bring themselves to touch the thing!

I'd really like to tag everybody that I've embarrassed over the years. Kind of like My Name Is Earl.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Moldavian Joke #2

We’ve been discussing so many fascinating things in our corner of the blog-sphere recently: elections, gingerness, insanity, Esperanto, rugby, randomness, stammering, girls girls girls, language of all kinds - even Mrs Pouncer’s pussy has been touched upon. I’m very stimulated to write more on these themes, but frankly I’m exhausted. So I reckon it’s time to relax with another Moldavian joke. The same disclaimer applies as for the previous one – so don’t come and burn my village, ok? Mersi.

This Moldavian guy goes to live in another village* and wants to fit in with the locals. But when he looks over the fences into his neighbours’ gardens he sees them having sex with their cows. “Hmmm”, he thinks to himself, “I really do want to fit in here so I’d better try”. So he’s on the job and starts shouting so that his neighbours will hear and look at what he’s doing. They indeed look over his fence but then start laughing at him uncontrollably. “What are you laughing at?” he protests, “this is what you all do!” “Yes”, they reply, “but your cow is not very pretty!”

* This would never happen in reality, but let’s say for the sake of argument that his excrement haulage business has gone to the wall owing to an epidemic of bovine constipation in his village and he has to find alternative work elsewhere.