03 February 2009

robertson's gollie


Silly Carol Thatcher for blabbing in the green room. She should have known that it would be full of smarmy sensitive stoolpigeons of heightened political correctness who'd never *heard* of the sprightly woolly gog on Robertson's marmalade.

"She made a light aside about this tennis player and his similarity to the golliwog on the jampot when she was growing up."

Exactly the comparison I would have drawn - and do - if I come across anyone with that tight curly coiffure.

Come to think of it, I've never actually heard the whole word used as an insult. When I arrived at my posh prep school, it was always 'wog' that was directed at me.

Anyway, the usual brouhaha that the press will pounce on in a fit of righteous indignation and of course  the Beeb has to huff and puff after the Ross affaire - not that it has done him any harm, the blighter.

But I'm like Carol: every time I hear the word, I think of that super little chappie on my marmalade of whom one could collect badges and the like. It never occurred to us that he might have been born under sunnier skies.

If *only* I'd kept a few, how proudly I'd wear one on my lapel today, not to mention attached to my guitar strings and dangling from the cell phone. Damn! It's like my old Dinky coronation coach that my gran gave me and which I used in all my war games with those tin soldiers:

  • Chaps in gas masks charging
  • Grenadiers at the moment of throwing their pineapples
  • All those knights in armour ... sigh, all gone.
  • And those racing cars we'd race in the gutter - I liked the Ferrari colours but for some reason it was the Alfa that went fastest. The wide base, I suppose.

    Good days.

    Jo-Wilfried TsongaWolliGate: Back to the subject in hand, I'm immensely cheered to hear that some of the great unwashed are actually complaining about the ban. Quite right, too: I was under the impression that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's curly mop reminded  Carol of the dusky Robertson fellah, not that she actually called him a woolly gog outright.

    ashby bearsRather a handsome cove; touch of the Cassius Clay.

    Blimey! First Prince Harry's KhakiGate, now this.

    Hunt the Gollie: This really does seem to be sprouting legs.

  • Now it turns out that a royal shop was peddling those cuddly gollies.
  • Yo! Can we get a ruling on how it's spelled? Is it 'wog or 'wogg? We need to know if only to ensure consistency for the avalanche of coverage to follow.
  • I predict a McCarthyite witch hunt for trembling traders touting gollies of every hue - actually, they're only one hue, aren't they?

  • Trendy Trendle will go, for starters.
  • After them those Ashby Bears.

  • b&w minstrelsbamboozled posterBlack & White Minstrel Show - I know they've got nothing to do with gollies, but this might be a good time to cash in on the general groundswell of nostalgia and have them back. Instead of just blacking up, they could wear goggie masks.
  • After that, bring back Spike Lee's wonderful satire, Bamboozled.
  • Gollies and Racism: I never knew ghetto blasters were called wog-boxes or, cleverer still, "Third World briefcases".
  • chilesThat's the Bogus Bonhomie git over there - Master Adrian Chiles - who, with 'comedienne', Jo Brand (too ugly to show) mentioned Thatcher's golliwoggy comment to his executive producer. The pathetic whingeing creep.
  • Fulsome apology: BBC1 controller, Jay Hunt, bleats that "we have given Carol ample opportunity to give a fulsome apology." You know what?? That is exactly  what those stupid wogging hypocrites deserve ... they deserve  a fulsome apology and they deserve to have it plastered all over the press and booming from the radio and burnt in poker work and hung in pride of place in the Green Room for all to mock and jeer at hereafter.
  • Invented Name: Now you know who to blame for the name - Florence Kate Upton. Way to go, Flo'! Gimme a 'woggie ^5.
  • GolliBay
  • Free the Golliwog - I include this splendidly no-nonsense post because Mr David Duff has the same name as my favourite writer about Queen Victoria.

    His "Victoria's Travels" from the fine house of Frederick Muller was for many years the perfect gift to take to maiden aunts, country house weekends and the like.

  • Nikki's darling Dandy DickThe entrancing Nikki gets the origin of 'Wog' ever-so slightly wrong but never mind because that's her darling 'Dandy Dick' Golli over there. Anyway, she looks too young and beautiful to worry about such details.

    To boot, she's only trying to give our side a good name by pretending we meant they were "Worthy " Oriental Gemmun.

    (Chortle. As if! 'Pon my soul, what a preposterous proposition.)

    I left a discreet correction on her blog which I'm sure she'll take in the right spirit and ignore me as just another Wilful Old Grump.

  • They're on ebay (see above) so it shouldn't be long before we get Rent-a-Goll ... shades of that bizarre R.A.N I came across before all this Worthy Old Gollis stuff blew up.
  • Good question: A marketing pal has asked me if the 'wogo logo still exists on the jars and I told him of course not, but when I look them up *they* are not existing!! Duuude! Quel irony! With all this wogging great free publicity, they'd be flogging their marmajams in the millions - if only out of solidarity and to stick it to the Beeb. I must design a t-shirt amesos and have my wily Hong Kong producer run a few up with the Golli logo and suitable wording in Grik and Anglais.

  • News flash: Honestly, I can't keep up.

    Anorak mag (laff!) now tells me that it was Andy 'Too Good to Hurry' Murray to whom Carol was referring.

    Give us a break: He's not even a tinted shade of pale.

    What the fuck is the BBC playing at?

    At least let the Thatcherism have been about someone with a decent tan.

    And she's wrong: Murray's unruly locks are nothing like a golli-cut. We wuz robbed.

  • And it goes on - article in the Grauniad giving a potted history of Gollies and listing a few stockists such as Merrythought. I'm gnashing my teeth that I'm not in the right business (or *any* business). Think how I could be cleaning up with just two products on my shelves: old-style Robertson's with the proper (ie improper) label and ... a range of cuddly Gollies. The window display would be a cinch: b'ars and jars and stand clear of the doors lest you be crushed in the rush.

    Still with the Guardian, little Sammy Leith en forme  with his reminder of Uncle Ben etc.

    You know, I'd often wondered about that as I cruised the supermarket aisles ... Unca Ben, Aunt Jemima, all those cute Asiennes beckoning us to chop their sticks. Then there's wily ol' Rowan Faginson treading the boards, oy veh.

  • Verbal Litter Goodish piece by the splendidly named Yasmin Alibhai-Brown,putting people like me in our place and reminding me of something I never remember, that the world has changed and is no longer the Whiteys Club I grew up in and still behave accordingly. Yazzer's still wrong about what was going thru Carol's head at the time - everyone keeps grinding on about ugly racism blah blah yadda dadda but the true grotesquerie is that what was running thru Carol's empty bonce is what runs thru mine on occasions like that - nothing. We grew up with images like Noddy, Little Ssmbo (which is what I have called Sam our dog from the day I arrived), Biggles, the Famous Five (whose 'George' now seems impossibly masculine and kinky but was just a normal terrifying girl when I was reading Blyton) ... who else was there? William? Oh yes, Fu Manchu - can you believe it? Reading Fu Manchu in Hong Kong and making no connection whatsoever between the evil doctor and all my relatives and the hordes cramming the streets outside - except they werent hordes in those days, it was a nice quiet island and you could swim and walk and have milkshakes at the Dairy Farm - but I digress.

    Yes, as I say, images like Mr Golly are/were our mental landscape, just there as reference points. That's not to say I don't find Carol's comparison a bit far-fetched. I have many pals with fuzzy hair - good heavens, the stalwart Paul Gude has a fine head of tight curls - and I'm sure I've complimented or envied them in every way I can think, but the image has never come to mind of the Golly that's at the heart of this furore. Even my blackest friends don't stir images of marmalade. Very odd that Carol should come up with that one and if it *wasn't* someone with a touch of colour in his cheeks, odder still. Nowt as quare as folks, aye?

    Darkie Toothpaste: I knew  there was something this whole Golligate rumpus reminded me of - Black Man Toothpaste. Of course!

    Back in my Hong Kong days, all of us grew up keeping our gnashers gleaming thanks to 'Darkie'.

    I even took crates back after each summer hol as bribes for the prefects and anyone else who bashed me up.

    Then one day in the early '80s, old timers like me in the colony were shocked - shocked - at the news that Darkie would be no more and that it was being re-branded under the spineless 'Darlie' moniker.

    There was immediate panic buying and the shelves were stripped bare by frantic souvenir hunters (I still have my paste 'n'brush memorial pack.

    Hot on the heels of this drastic move came full-page adverts in the Chinese press - included by clever Wiki - reassuring readers that:

    " ... the Chinese name of the brand, "黑人牙膏" (in English, "Black Man Toothpaste"), had not changed.

    In fact, a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste".

    This is because the term "黑人" does not have any negative meaning in Chinese. The phrase 黑人 (hēi rén) in Chinese is a general term for persons of African descent."

    Full page advertisements, no less, which I found astonishing enough to buy a dozen copies and send the relevant paqe to pals back home, most of whom framed them for decor in the loo.

    Sinosplice : Thanks to researching G-gate, I've got to know the excellent Sinosplice where not only appears a good pic of the before and after branding but also a quote from Toothpaste World:

    "Hong Kong’s Hazel & Hawley Chemical Co. would probably still be hawking Darkie toothpaste had the company not been acquired by Colgate. The Darkie brand’s Al Jolson-inspired logo, a grinning caricature in blackface and a top hat, was as offensive as its name. Colgate bought the company in 1985, and then ditched the logo and changed the product’s name to Darlie after US civil rights groups protested. However, the Cantonese name - Haak Yahn Nga Gou [黑人牙膏] (Black Man Toothpaste) - remains."

    Was Thatcher being racist? - TimesOnline's shrewd Dan Finkelstein cuts thru the crap and applies the Malcolm Gladwell Test.

    A Better Britain - At last the ball is rolling for real and we have passed Gladwell's tipping point. Out of the woodwork comes every Dave, Dick and Jamal to use Golligate as a springboard for memories of racially epitheted childhoods.

    Remember the famous Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen sketch with self-satisfied northerners outdoing each other over who'd had the roughest upbringing? Hilarious. Well, we're fast reaching the point of Golly Fatigue from the outpourings of scribblers vying to tell a sadder story.

    If this was a whiter shade of problem, the media bosses would have stemmed the drivel long ago; as it is, they're too scared of their woollier staff to nay-say them their bleat and a weary nation is goaded towards rivers of even gollier epithets than the original.

    A muddle-headed Dave Matthews talks of inviting a 'chastened' Thatcher to "hang out ... meet some real people, clear the air and learn a little about modern Britain. We won't bite."

    What? As in gathering round the cauldron for a tasty chomp? Dude! What a cannibalistic remark - lucky Davy has his photo up there to confirm his credentials for such a snipe. I'd like to see whitey get away with a crack like that.

    I don't think the problem is mixing with real people or meeting Modern Britain so much as keeping her (and moi) away from reminders of confectionery of our youth. If I'm reading Mr Matthews right, the 'real' people he has in mind will trigger exactly the images and indiscretions as popped up in the first place and we'll be back to square one, no tom-toms, no passing Go, certainly no popping into the Green Room for a loose-lipped reviving tincture.

  • Not famous enough to escape nonensical denunciation.
  • 10 of them

    David Duff said...

    Thank you for the mention, 'Busker', but alas, you touch a nerve because whilst I am an avid reader of history I have never got around to my namesake. Another entry on the 'must do' list.

    Busker said...

    Cool, David. At least *I* have found a cool blog to monitor.
    Thanks for yr prompt reply.

    Sibadd said...

    An enjoyable rant. I have a problem withbottled water. Simon

    Busker said...

    yes, i needed something else when i found paki-gate was going nowhere. wo-gate has super pics and silly remarks and has turned out quite nicely altho i've had to force myself to carry on after it turned silly. i imagine it irking someone or one of the key players tunes.
    sorry about the bottled water. we see people with heaped trolleys and forget that people *buy* water here. yikes, what an expense and what happens when it runs out? back to diellas or wherever, i guess.

    Sibadd said...

    So what do you make amid our feeble grumbles of Ed Balls - once called the cleverest man in the UK - saying unguardedly that the current crisis will last decades, bids to be worse than the 30s and equals at least the banking crisis of a century ago? And the Broon saying it was a slip of the tongue when he said 'depression' the other day. Cold wind's gonna blow but it could mean the end of bottled water and frivilous consumerism. Now ye ken! S