Monday, January 24, 2005

Norwich: forward-looking wellspring of open-mindedness and multiculturalism? er...No.

Before I came to Norwich, I looked at it on the map, “mmm”, I thought, “pretty close to London and it’s got its own international airport. It must be a forward-looking wellspring of open-mindedness and multiculturalism” (hahahaha*). Upon living here for a few years, I realise that Norwich’s relative proximity to London doesn’t really matter to most of its denizens. I was first made aware of Norwich folks’ suspicion of the big smoke while serving some local old boys at the Grad Bar. When he was finished taking the piss out of Irish people using the so-called ‘wit’ of the English male**, one old boy piped up and said ‘I had to go to hospital the other London!!!!...I’m not going THERE again’. Although my face was in ‘surly’ barman mode, I was cracking up on the inside. So, the only reason this guy would go to one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world would be if his leg was falling off or something. The common viewpoint among the Norwich elders seems to be that all the ‘bad things’, you know muggings, murders and multiculturalism, only ever happen in London.

Anyway, this rambling rant is merely an intro to discuss this weekend, when I visited London (by choice!) to see a great lecture at The University of London by Esther Leslie called ‘American comic heroes and Failure’, it was great to hear superheroes being discussed so intelligently in such an illustrious venue. See above for picture of the big building in which it occurred—my esteemed colleague, friend and housemate also pointed out that the above, Senate House, was used in the film 1984.

With a few hours to kill and not really fancying the prospect of spending £11 to see Elektra, I wandered around Leicester Square for a bit. I say Leicester Square to sound slightly respectable, but I’m sure you realise I was wandering around the sleaze-fest that is Soho. As I have held forth on previously, Channel 4 was a vital pre-adolescent portal of smut. The best way to show porn in those days was through the medium of the ‘shocking documentary expose’, which always included a shot of the intrepid reporter braving the depravity of Soho’s sex shops and strip-o-ramas. Imagine my pleasure in actually encountering such a documentary being made during my visit! A bishop or Christian Voice type mook was beng filmed silently walking through Soho and glaring at each neon-lit window and at every poor shivering girl in a doorway (like they don’t have enough to worry about without some Christian fuck judging them with disdain). Anyway, if you see such a documentary in the coming months keep an eye out for a grinning Irish ‘pornnoisseur’ with a bag full of comics in the background. Observe that smile, it is one of realisation, it is a
smile that says, "There is life outside Norwich, places where not every eligible young lady looks like Vicky Pollard hurrah!!"

*At this juncture, why not add your own longer derisive laugh, I don’t have room for three or four lines of ‘hahahaha’.
** The comedy arrows in the average English male’s humour quiver include: pointing out weaknesses in others, one-upmanship, bad word play, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and, (their favourite) homophobia: All in all, as funny as accidentally nailing your scrotum to a bit of wood.

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