21 March 2011

Over-protesting Egos

~ Maligned & Misquoted ~

Brilliant tongue-in-cheek razor job by clever Judith Woods on the latest brain-wave from the even cleverer and ebullient Sir David Tang, KBE (鄧永鏘).

Do read it and I hope my fave scribbler Rod Liddle also spots the hilarity in this genius idea.

This is typical of Sir David's ability to spot a gap in the best markets and I know a little whereof I speak, having been introduced to Tang many moons ago by my childhood and much-mourned friend, Hamish Cowperthwaite.

ICorrect: I think I get it, but let Ms Woods' playful summary do the work for me:

"His latest venture is ICorrect, an ingenious damn-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? website where celebrities tired of being impersonated on Twitter and high-fliers frustrated by big fat fibs pedalled in perpetuity on Wikipedia can once and for all put the record straight."

It sounds an Over-protestor's paradise:

Like I'm famous and I want to draw corrective attention to some inconvenient niggling truth in which up to now no-one's been in the least bit curious or interested: I go to my space on ICorrect and minge and winge and 'set the record straight' with all the juicy details and innuendo that the gossip rags have failed to grasp and ... bingo!

It will be an instant success and make hilarious reading such as even Craig Brown will be hard put to parody.

Brilliant. Sir David on top form. Read it alongside his acerbic and accurate advice column in the FT.

Our house happens to be full of nonagenarian Heung Korng-yun, few of whom were fully clued-up on whippersnapper Sir D himself but of course, along with my doughty mother, knew 'the famous Tang' as one crusty Shanghai hand put it. They pounced on Ms Woods' piece and I was happy to talk them thru the underlying humour of the e-Wheeze.

Quite made my rainy Sunday.

  • Erratum ~ "Big names names ... hoist by their own petards". Miss Woods joins my equally exclusive club of those who misuse the phrase 'hoist with one's own petard'. The other list is of those who get 'fulsome' wrong.

    Sir John Cowperthwaite, father of Hamish, was a scholar of early French which (to my ear) he spoke fluently. He coined a wonderful saying based on petard coming from Middle French 'peter', to break wind.

    It went something along the lines of 'A fart to those who misuse petard!', delivered in fluent français and capped with a stentorian raspberry on the back of his hand.

  • I'm glad to see that Wikipedia includes the fact that Sir John 'refused to collect economic statistics for fear it would encourage officials to meddle in the economy.'

  • Fan Ling faffery ~ trying to sound interested and grown-up, I once introduced a note of gravitas to an early tee on the golf course by confessing myself perplexed by a recent edict from UrbCo (of which my father happened to be chairman at the time).

    Sir John rarely wasted breath on the young but this time he confided to me that 'Anyone who isn't thoroughly confused is simply very badly informed.' It was not his coining but for a 14-year-old to be introduced to this gem by someone of Cowperthwaite's intellectual (and impressive physical) stature left a life-time's impression.

    Caine Unable ~ Interesting mailbag on this post, many about Woods dig at 'Sir' Michael Caine and his grumpy disavowals

    I've long been a dismisser of Caine as someone who has nothing original or humorous coming from his own mouth.

    He has the advantage of acting the curmudgeon, which is allowed from sarf Londoners and northerners such as those vile fat puddings Bernard Manning and Les Dawson.

    All you do is put everything down and keep a dour face and everyone howls, not with laughter but relief that they themselves weren't in the line of fire.

    As Caine ages and believes his own press, he has slowed and become lazier about moving from the boring old chestnuts that a younger man can pull off but rebound badly when from the slouchy mouth of a sullen oldie.

    If he doesnt watch it, the brilliant Steve Coogan will slide that way. In the meantime, in this duelling mimics sketch, he [and the equally talented Rob Brydon] are unmatchable.

    Note Coog's lazy provocative stretch as he delivers the put-downers' put-down, "Well, they're wrong."


    Simon Baddeley said...

    Whoops, don't use girth to pair Dawson with Manning - as well compare Jersey butter to scraped lard.

    Simon Baddeley said...

    Whoops, don't use girth to pair Dawson with Manning - as well compare Jersey butter to scraped lard.