Tuesday, January 03, 2006

After the fireworks, not for me, dishing out the butter

On New Year's day, I read the facts about the fireworks in London on the previous night. Thirty pyrotechnicians worked from Boxing Day until New Year's Eve to set up the display. It was designed by Christophe Bertoneau of the French company Group F. The display, which lasted 10 minutes, used 1 ton of fireworks and cost around £1 million.

Countless catalogues drop through our letter box even after Christmas is over. I enjoy the feeling of not wanting certain things even as much as I enjoy possessing a few things that I like and find useful. In today's catalogue something, which I enjoy not wanting, is an olive wood baguette board. "Now you can slice French bread neatly, safely and stylishly too. Made from lovely grainy olive wood, this board features clever angled slots to produce nice even slices. The channel helps keep the baguette and crumbs under control."
There's nothing worse, I always say, than a baguette out of control and loose in the home.

I have been thinking for some time about a story, which I read some time ago in a book on Australian slang, and wondering where I could find it. Sitting idly at my desk today I noticed a book standing out from its fellows. There it was: The Australian Slanguage by Bill Hornadge. The story concerns the Australian irreverence for authority. The president of the Victorian Football League was a guest speaker at a lunch in Sydney. It was a self-service lunch and among the items was baked potato in aluminium foil. A steward was serving dobs of butter to go with the potato. The president asked for an extra dob and was told firmly: "Sorry, it's one dob of butter per person. Here's what follows:

President: Do you know who I am?

Steward: No

President: Well I'm the President of the Victorian Football League and your guest speaker. Do you think I could have two dobs of butter?

Steward: Do you know who I am?

President: You have me at a disadvantage there.

Steward: Well I'm the guy who dishes out the bloody butter.

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