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An absolute shower.

By MICHAEL BLACKBURN.

tthomasTHE LATE ACTOR Terry-Thomas, who always played the part of quintessentially British gentleman cad, was famed for his catchphrase “you’re an absolute shower,” as a term of abuse or disapproval.  It’s one of those phrases and sayings that has gone out of fashion but deserves to be revived, like “when in Rome do as the Romans do,” which should be stamped across both hands of every immigrant into the country, in English on one hand and in their native language on the other. Likewise “sticks and stones may break my bones but your words can’t hurt me,” should be beaten into the consciousness of every thin-skinned social justice warrior who has hysterics on Twitter and elsewhere every time they detect a micro-aggression against their favourite victim group.

Calling someone an “absolute shower” has the benefit of being suitably contemptuous without using the “bad” language of the sexual or scatological (both of those have their place in the arsenal of abuse, of course). It also implies a certain level of moral superiority associated with class in an old-fashioned way. All the more reason to use it to annoy the social conformists.

jrottenThe use of expletives once taboo in polite or public conversation has become commonplace but I remember with amusement an infamous incident on British television in the far-off pre-Thatcher days of punk rock which combined the old world and the new. Bill Grundy was attempting to interview The Sex Pistols on his show. He made the mistake of thinking he could mock them with impunity, and after Johnny Rotten had uttered the word “shit” egged them on to say something worse.

They duly did. Grundy was called variously “you dirty sod”, “you dirty bastard” and “you dirty ****er” (it works better with the asterisks). So far so modern. But the best was “you ****ing rotter.” Yes, a youth of the 1970s could still call someone a rotter, albeit supercharging the noun with an effing, and not sound like a posh uncle or Terry-Thomas at his best. It makes me laugh out loud even now.

“Rotter” qualifies, therefore, as another term of abuse deserving rehabilitation. What made me think of this was listening to Peter Hitchens the other night. Although he was talking mainly about the current problems of Russia versus the EU, he had occasion to recount his experiences meeting Blair (whom he frequently refers to in print as “the creature Blair”). He described the former PM as “olympicly dim”. He could have used other words, but this phrase is so apt nothing further is needed. It makes a refreshing change from hearing the tedious tag of “war criminal” favoured by the media and the left. Blair was, is and ever shall be an absolute shower and a rotter of the first water.

The unfortunate truth, though, is that “olympicly dim” describes so many modern politicians across the world. Many of them are olympian in all the wrong ways. Just look at them: Cameron, Obama, Hollande, Merkel. Olympians in arrogance, deceit, self-delusion , vanity and ignorance of the real world, all of them. We can’t seem to get rid of them and there seems to be no one on the political horizon who is not a similarly stunted bonehead.

So I’m going to indulge my ire and despair in some old-fashioned expletives and lambaste these buffoons as rotters and an absolute shower. It will be interesting to see if the sensitive souls of the permanently offended will be able to discern any hate-speech in that. Not that I care, because they’re an absolutely bloody shower themselves.


suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet, writer and lecturer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire . From 2005–2008 he was the Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University of Lincoln where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent collection is Spyglass Over The Lagoon. A selection of his Fortnightly Currente Calamo columns, Sucks To Your Revolution: Annoying The Politically Correct (US), is available as a Kindle ebook.

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