by Barry Git
I was in the pub the other day with a few friends discussing the relative merits of James Cameron’s blockbuster masterpiece, Titanic, when a good mate of mine, Barry Bollocks, brought up the subject of the Irish in it. “How,” he postulated, “it is that everyone has a go at the James Cameron, the Bearded Nemesis who created Titanic, for stereotyping the Irish as bunch of big trotting Murphy’s drinking copious amounts of amazingly watery Guinness, being chirpy in the face of danger, jigging about at the drop of a hat every time someone whips out a violin and generally acting like some mental cases idea of what the Irish must have been like back in the days of yore?”
“Well, Bollocks,” I told him. “That’s because they’re not stereotypes, and it’s all true. James Cameron is a very intelligent man who wouldn’t knowingly represent a country of people on screen without a great deal of research, so back in those days everyone from Ireland danced a jig, drank brown water, and died on the Titanic. It’s obvious, innit? I was watching a film by that bloke, Ken Loach, the other day, and it was about a bunch of grim Northern people having a pretty tough time, and I thought, ‘yeah, that’s right, because everyone up north is really grim and has a hard time and all that, because it’s all true.’ See, Bollocks, everything you see on the film is a representation of what goes on in life. If you bugger off to Hollywood there’s a load of prossies over there and they’ve all got hearts of gold, and if you’re a down and out who’s been stitched over by some posh Wallstreet geezers for a bet they’ll help you get yourself back on your feet.”
“Yeah, but Titanic was set in the olden times,” said Bollocks.
“That’s where Hollywood can teach us all stuff about history,” I tells him. “Don’t believe what that bloody Simon Schama geezer tells you on the non-car chase programs about talking, because it’s all bloody lies! F’rinstance, he’d have you believe that it was some Spanish Geezer what discovered America, when we all know it was actually Gerard Depardieu. And the USA wasn’t build by a melange of foreign types who emigrated there and an enslaved population, but – as we know from that masterpiece Far and Away – America was actually forged by Californian midgets with strange accents and floppy hair.”*
“I thought the Brits did it?” said Bollocks.
“Well, that’s another story,” I tells him. “Basically the Brits did almost everything in the known world, but mainly the evil stuff. But that’s only when we were in America. Over in Blighty it’s a different story. F’rinstance, as we all know from Four Weddings And a Funeral, when soft Southern shandy drinking big girl’s blouses aren’t stuttering about trying to get into the pants of wooden objects disguised as women they’re living in mansions and big flats and going to massive parties full of posh arseholes.”
“But I don’t live in a mansion, Barry,” said Bollocks.
“Never mind that,” I carried on. “After watching that programme on the telly which they always show at ten o’clock with the people who sit in front of desks and say stuff at you and then it cuts to something else and then they have a nice bit at the end about the Queen or some kittens hang gliding or something –“
“The ITV news?” says Bollocks.
“That’s the one. Anyway, after watching that drama many years back I was under the impression that Notting Hill was full of none-Hugh Grant types, but when I saw the film I had to reassess my knowledge of the place. It was full of white people who all had money and that, and they all had Welsh friends who were a bit whacky, and loads of women film stars with huge gobs hung about and talked shit there. And wheelchairs are the only form of transport. Which brings me down to people with disabilities. The world outside of that big place where they show the films would have you believe that people with disabilities have it tough, don’t get enough help, and can sometimes even be bitter about the condition they’re in. But we know from Richard Curtis films that everyone with any disability whatsoever is always a spunky type who’s there for their mates, and they don’t mind not having any legs or no arms or being deaf or any of that, because they’re all lovely people and everything’s nice in the world.”
“But, Git,” said Bollocks, “I have an epistemological question. How come all us brits are lovely and stuck up and live in mansions and posh flats and stuff, and I live in a toss-pot of a council house with a fridge on the front lawn.”
“Because you’re obviously living in the wrong part of the country, Bollocks,” I tells him. “Either get yerself a mansion or a posh flat and a mate in a wheelchair or piss off up north. The only types who lives down here are posh toffs and geezers who get involved in all kinds of dodgy deals and mockney capers.”
“I nicked that tube of toothpaste once,” said Bollocks.
“Then you’re a typical mockney scamp, Bollocks,” I said. “You need to get yerself involved into a bunch of risky situations with hard bitten gangster types and learn cockney.”
“But I am somewhat discombobulated, Git, old mate,” said Bollocks. “If stereotypes are real and they all exist, what about all those films with giant robots hitting each other and orcs and wizards and all that?”
“Don’t be stupid, Bollocks.” I took another swig of me genuine cockney lager. “Those things don’t exist. You don’t have dragons and talking fish or any of that lot. But what Hollywood and films and all that are TRYING to say is this – if such things ever did exist, then that’s what they’d look like and act like. Except Optimus Prime. He’d actually play drums for Sting.”
I think at this point we’d already had a few pints too many and the conversation degenerated into who would win a fight – Wall-E or the spaceship from Close Encounters, and by the time we left the pub I’d forgotten everything we said, so this whole column might have just been made up and never actually really existed. So forget everything you’ve just read.