Monday, 11 January 2010

Wrestling with a Fuzzy-Wuzzy

In a small way, life is more pleasant since I promised myself that I wasn't going to post any more on the Brown racket. Putting yourself into an impotent rage isn't great for your mood for the rest of the day: sour-making. Also one of those futile little assaults would impart a curious feeling of being soiled, the online equivalent of going head-to-head with a slippery Fuzzy-Wuzzy, the old Ethiopian warriors whose frizzy locks were clotted with rancid butter.

But what if wrestling with Fuzzy Wuzzies was your life? What must it do to your psychology to deal with the seedy lack of scruple which one finds in politics, day-in, day-out?

One of my old tutors at Oxford was at college with a Tory former Cabinet minister, whom he'd known as good, warm company. He ran into him having not seen him for a number of years and they shared a drink. He said he left feeling quite chilled: his old friend's eyes were dead, even whilst the rest of his face was animated.

Can you imagine what you'd feel like if you had to deal with Brown-Balls regularly? Dead eyes would be a minimum level of desensitisation I would have thought.

Serendipitously, I've come across this entry in Auberon Waugh's diaries for this date in 1985. He's explaining why he finds drinking water 'a strangely unnerving experience':
What put me off in the first place was when I discovered the human body is composed of 98% water. This means you only have to add 2% - perhaps a few tablespoonfuls - of Hattersley Essence (for instance) to a bathful of water and out will climb the repulsive, farting Opposition Spokesman on Economic Affairs, ready to make a conceited speech describing himself as a Dream Ticket.
A similarly minute quantity of some other extract and you have Mrs Thatcher or Mrs Shirley Williams; add a touch of black treacle or soot and you have Lord Gowrie. The only thing these people have in common is that they are all made of water. Nothing will convince me it is a healthy substance to drink.

I think we can guess what the addition to bathwater of a certain admixture containing rancid butter might produce.

Anyway, must move on!

7 comments:

worm said...

...vicious sharpened mangoes...

Brit said...

Excellent stuff from Waugh there.

Gaw said...

Worm: a nice phrase but what does it mean? Or refer to?

Brit: a bit Dahlian, don't you think? 'Auberon and the Bathwater Politicians'.

malty said...

Waugh's outpourings against La Williams were well founded, she personally was responsible for the wrong direction education took, introducing comprehensives 'one size fits all' whilst her own children were privately educated. She was my local MP in Hertfordshire and although she personally intervened and got results for me with a business problem any meaningfull normal conversation with her was impossible, the universe began at the back of her head and ended at the tip of her nose. Sartorially she was a dog, uncombed hair, unwashed and wearing scruffy old flashers macs, she would stand on the podium in Stevenage town centre and talk crap.

She was however Joan of Arc compared with another politician I unfortunately had to deal with, S.Byers the oily little two faced creep was MP for North Tyneside where my last business was based, the most untrustworthy individual I have ever met, and a lawyer to boot.

worm said...

gaw: not that I was ever a Blackadder fan, but it refers to the conversation Blackadder has with Field Marshall Haig (in the last ever episode), where Haig thanks him for saving him from attack by fuzzy-wuzzys armed with viciously sharpened mangoes

http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Umboto_Gorge

malty said...

Corporal Jones of course stuck it up 'em, it's the cold steel they don't like, you know.

Gaw said...

Malty: Some great pen portraits there. I can't say I've ever felt warm to either of them. But I heard a bit of Williams' autobiography when it was serialised on R4 and she didn't seem too bad an old stick. Byers though...

Worm and Malty: Mangoes or not, the Fuzzy-Wuzzies were, by all accounts, a terrifying and admired foe of the British Army. So old Jones was probably a brave soldier in his youth. I think there's a great bit in Winston Churchill's memoirs where he describes the Mahdi's army and its Fuzzy-Wuzzies. It was just before he took part in the last major cavalry charge that the British Army ever made, at Omdurman. Worth looking up. The Four Feathers too is about all that (not the recent film, which was hopeless but the one with Ralph Richardson in it - a true classic with lots of amazing on-location footage).