THE FINE ART OF THE FOUL MOUTH (Cut-Ups)
Hallo, and welcome to Spud's little corner of BowieWonderworld.
In the coming weeks I will be posting various writings, some db related, others completely unrelated, but all, I hope slightly entertaining in one form or another.
As you can see from the title above, the following submission is about the use and misuse of swear words, or cussing, as I believe the term is to our friends over in the USA. Unfortunately I must inform you that there will be a number of profanities written in this edition and I wish to apologise to anyone who might be easily offended by this in any way.
May I advise, that if you are likely to be offended by the use of such words, that you f**k off now.
Ed. If you are under 18 years old or easily offended please
and leave now.
Whilst at work the other day, I had occasion to take some passengers to a local countryside park. The type of place that local urban councils are promoting to enable the average street kid to experience the beauty and atmosphere of something they might not often visit, rural England. The day was fine, well, as fine as a cold day in January could be. The sort of clear and brisk day, that although the sun is shining your breath hangs in the air like dwarf clouds with every exhalation.
The park I refer to is situated a couple of hundred yards off a very busy main road, and behind a huge superstore, yet it has been cleverly ensconced in trees and shrubbery in order to enable its visitors to feel as if they had escaped the frantic and chlostrophobic lifestyle of the town or city. It is well hidden, and it is only the distant rumble of articulated lorries and heavy traffic that reminds visitors of their whereabouts. Small tree stumps have been carved into various animal shapes and picnic benches have been set aside just in case the weather should prove freakish enough to let its visitors eat al fresco.
As I helped the passengers from the cab, I saw a couple of young mothers at one of the benches. A baby sat, soaked in yoghurt in a pushchair and one of the girls had a small boy of about three or four years old sitting on her lap. The girls only looked about eighteen years old, dressed in tracksuits and quilted nylon coats with their hair tied tightly back, except for a bleached fringe which seemed as if it had been set in a huge roller and the whole hairdo stiffened with hairspray.
"Watch this Emma, he's fucking mad, I'll show ya.
"What colour is this Danny?" said the mother, holding the yellow sleeve of her puffer jacket out for the boy to see.
"Marzipan." answered the warmly wrapped child, firing pastry crumbs and clouds into the air.
"It's yellow." said the young mum.
"Marzipan." exclaimed the child, chomping at his giant sausage roll.
"No, it's yellow. Marzipan was what we had on the Christmas cake. It's yellow." she explained.
Then, looking at her friend she rolled her eyes and tutted.
"Marzipan." said the child again, with a frown.
I climbed back into the cab and wound the window down so I could watch and hear the outcome of the argument.
"No Daniel, what 'colour' is mammy's coat?"
"Hehehe, I told you Emma, fuckin' mad."
The child ignored his mother completely now, as his attention had been stolen by a couple of thieving Magpies that were chattering loudly and hopping across the tops of nearby bushes. The child was clearly excited by this and screamed at the top of his voice.
"For fuck's sake!" said the mother.
"He thinks them birds are cows, I'm gonna take him to the fuckin' doctors."
This last exchange sent me into fits of disguised silent laughter as I shrank into the car seat.
"Fuckin' doctors." said the boy, looking down and nibbling humbly at his sausage roll.
He had no problem with that adjective.
Fuck: We all know the meaning of the word in its usual sense, but it is a word that is used to cover such a variety of meanings in the form of verb, adjective, noun or euphemism. It is of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch. 'Fokken' to strike.
The fuck word came as natural to the young boy as the deed itself would a dozen or so years from now. The fact that the mother was willing to use such language indiscriminately in front of her child really pissed me off, so I decided to go. As I drove away I turned the radio up, and it was at this point that irony came into play.
"We'll be right back after Coldplay." said the deejay.
And I began to sing.
"Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything that yooo do, yeah they're all marzipan."
"I came along, I wrote a song for you, and everything yoooo do, and it was called marzipan."
I had a good laugh at the expense of the poor child, but then I began to think a little more about what I had seen. I really felt for the kid. He had obviously associated the colour yellow with marzipan, something quite logical, and probably one of the easiest forms of mnemonics. He had used his head and that should have been encouraged. When I drove down the lane to the main road, I could see that there were indeed some cows in the field beyond the bushes. Perhaps the kid had seen the cows through the bushes? This we will never know.
The more I thought, the more I was angry at the mother. The kid was barely out of his nappies (diapers) and he was being chastised for using his initiative. Not only this, but her excessive use of the fuck word meant that the child was picking up one of the worst linguistic habits thriving in our communities right now. That is Profanitus Marius, more commonly known as 'Sweary Mary'.
Now I'm no silver-tongued lyrical wizard, and I admit that I use far too much bad language, far too often, but I try my best not to swear in front of the youngsters in my (or anyone else's) family. This is at times impossible to do of course, for me anyway, but even if I do swear it's usually minor words, and the kids know not to repeat them. I know that they will, and probably already do swear whilst in the company of friends. The one thing I hope is that they don't swear in every other sentence, and more importantly, that they know when not to swear.
Don't get me wrong, in my opinion the use, and misuse, of profanities can be very amusing. Take Billy Connolly for instance, his use of swearing adds texture and humour to his beautiful and hilarious views of everyday life. Likewise the overuse of a swear word can also be amusing. The characters Joe Pesci plays, with the frantic use of the fuck word is amusing on screen. His 'you fuckin' fuck' etc is very funny in a cheeky 'stuck for words' type of way.
One of my favourite television programmes of recent years is Father Ted. The simple change from 'fuck' to 'feck' made it all the more acceptable and gave it a better slot in the running order on telly. One particular exchange of words had me crying with laughter. Father Jack, he of the foul tongue, was 'fecking' this and 'fecking' that in every other sentence.
Mrs. Doyle and Father Ted were trying desperately to calm him down and Father Ted said "Come now Father, sit yerself down."
Father Jack plumped himself into his scruffy armchair, and Mrs Doyle asked: "What would you say to a noice cup o' tea now Faither?" to which Father Jack replied "Feck - off - cup!"
Then of course there is the totally innocent person, from whose tender lips spill words that would make the hardiest Gangsta Rapper squirm in his Gucci underwear.
Mrs. Spud's mother has rarely been heard to use any 'real' swear words, with the exception of 'bloody' and 'sod' etc, you know the words our parents used frequently when we were growing up. So I was astounded once to hear that she had used, quite nonchalantly, one of the most offensive and disgusting swear words in the English language.
One night Mrs. Spud, my mother, and my sister-in-law Heather, along with Mrs. Spud's mum and an Aunt, all decided to have a girls' night out. This was partly because other than the odd conversation in our house, our mothers had never really had time to have a good old chat. So Mrs. Spud organised a night out to help them get to know each other better. They would have a bite to eat, and talk about the things that women talk about without any male interference. Naturally I was anxious for them to get on, as it always makes life easier when the parents of any couple in a relationship are able to mix well enough to make the couple feel comfortable.
This story has been relayed to me three times on three separate occasions and each time I have felt almost sick with embarrassment for all parties involved. What had happened was this...
They decided to go down to a nice quiet pub on the seafront that does lovely pub meals. They enjoyed their meal, then settled into the lounge for a chat. However, it was a Wednesday, and Wednesday was quiz night. The locals had gathered for the friendly competition and the open fire was roaring in the corner.
Not wanting to talk over the quiz, they decided it would be a good idea to enter. After all there would be plenty time for chat after it finished.
They all huddled around the table with pens and paper and the quiz began. All was going well and the wine was beginning to hit home, especially for Mrs. Spud's mum who had began shouting the answers out too loud whenever she knew one. But it was all in good fun, and although the room was small enough for everyone to hear her comments, it was all very relaxed.
After a while the quizmaster said that the following round was a 'guess the word' round. Mrs. Spud's mum rubbed her hands together saying how she loved doing crosswords and word-puzzles so she would enjoy this round.
Now at this point I must tell you that Mrs. Spud's mum is a lovely person, very innocent, and very very old fashioned. So much so that butter would probably freeze in her mouth, let alone melt. The round would work like this. The quizmaster would give clues to the word, and the contestants would guess the word from the clues.
Example: 'This word begins with 'D'. It has eight letters. I am no longer living, I am cold and stiff, I am?'.'
At this point the people would all guess at 'deceased' apart from Mrs. Spud's mum, who was getting louder as the alcohol flowed through her veins, still shouting the answers out.
"You are dead, no, you are deceased."
She would shout. Like I said, the others didn't seem to mind her tendency to blurt out the answers, correct or not, and the cosy atmosphere in the friendly public house had everyone feeling quite at home. Then it happened.
"This word begins with 'C'. "It has seven letters. I am devious, I am like a fox, I am?'."
"You are a cunt!" shouted Mrs. Spud's mum. The place fell silent. A cold swirling wind whistled around the room lifting the quiz papers on all the tables as it went. The fire snuffed itself out instantly. I was told that people froze on the spot, midway from the bar back to their respective table with trays of drinks in hand. Words were snapped mid sentence, and people gasped and gaped at the utterance of such an expletive.
"Ooh, is that? It is, it's a naughty word isn't it?" said Mrs. Spud's mum, holding her hand up to her mouth.
Needless to say, the small party of women left soon after, amid tutting and sheeshing from all corners of the room. In her defence, I am told that she was completely and utterly unaware of the meaning of such a word, and that she had only heard it once or twice herself, but I for one will never forget the time she made such a cunning of herself.
When I was at school, there was a boy in our year that could not say his effs (F's) or his esses (S's). Instead he would replace it with the 'th' sound. He was quite a tough nut, not least because of the derision he suffered in those younger years because of his speech impediment. People would be told to 'Thuck oth!' or called a 'Thtupid thuckin' bathtard' if they got on the wrong side of him. And if they didn't follow his instructions to the letter, they got a final warning of 'I'll thmath your thuckin' thathe in.'
I was always bewildered why he chose to use so many words with the 's' or 'f' sound so prominent in them, but it's not until you try writing or saying something and changing that sound to 'th' that you realise how difficult that would be.
I remember once in woodwork when his wooden stool he was making broke in two.
"Thuck!" he shouted, with such venom.
"Simon, I will not have language like that used in class." said the teacher, leaping to his feet and shouting across the classroom to the unfortunately named Simon Stephenson.
"But thir, I didn't thwear."
"Enough! You will stay behind for an hours detention tomorrow night."
"Thatth not thair thir, I only thaid thuck."
"Enough I said, or it will be an hour on Thursday as well."
"But thir, I didn't thay 'Thuck' I thaid 'thuck'. You know, like thucking an ithe lolly or thucking your thumb."
Poor Simon Stephenson, I wonder what he's doing now? Probably a bingo caller or something.
Anyway, from now on I am going to do my best to refer to anything yellow as marzipan in honour of the little kid in the countryside park. His use of 'cut-ups' in the English language should be endorsed more often.
To take this one step further, perhaps we could substitute the fuck word for something else also, just to see how it would sound. I propose switching it for the word 'help.' Although singing along to your favourite songs might prove difficult.
We would have? 'Can't Fuck Thinking About Me' or...
'And a crowd of honest people rushed to fuck a tired old lady who had fainted to the whirling wooden floor, crying God knows I'm good...'
Beatles songs would sound great... 'We all live in a marzipan submarine.' or the simply titled 'Fuck!'
'Fuck, I need somebody. Fuck, not just anybody. Fuck, you know I need someone, Fu-uuck!'
I apologise here and now for any offence that has been caused to anyone reading this utterly childish piece of immature drivel. I just can't fuck myself.
BW MB Profile...