Leech - sucking the blood of popular entertainment

  • The List
  • 16 January 2007


Sucking the blood of popular entertainment

So, farewell then, Magnus Magnusson. You started, you finished and somewhere inbetween you delivered the finest reading of Flaubert this literary Leo Sayer ever heard. ‘Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity,’ you sternly intoned, when a simple ‘incorrect’ would probably have sufficed. Even so, the Leech was inspired, and since then has bewitched veritable picnic processions of grizzlies, koalas and pandas with funkier compositions than even James Brown, whose increasingly funky corpse remains six feet above due to familial wrangling over his will. OK, so this wretched purple tossprose will never elicit celestial sympathy. But the Leech’s metaphors have sent more bears mad than all the zoos in the old Soviet Union! And just look at what it’s done to KT Tunstall in the picture! Read closely and you can almost hear the Fife songfox howl!

The Leech was recently reminded of Magnusson’s place in the pantheon alongside Galileo Galilei, Zinedine Zidane and Andy Pandy, as someone whose parents’ nominative cruelty spurred their offspring to tremendous achievement. Indeed, the mentalist French football magician was uppermost in the Leech’s thoughts when contacted by a researcher on the BBC series Balderdash & Piffle, a programme previously cherished for informing the Leech that ‘Naff’ comes from the Polari abbreviation of ‘Not Available For Fucking’, ie an obvious, oblivious heterosexual. Fantabulosa eh? Anyway, the show is striving to find the earliest recorded use of the phrase ‘Glasgow Kiss’. Oof!!

Now, as the phrase in question refers to using your bonce as an instrument of medieval siege, you may be surprised to learn that the earliest citation the Oxford English Dictionary uncovered is from 1987, coincidentally when OED boffins last ran amok in Scotland. Stranger still perhaps, is their discovery of ‘Liverpool Kiss’, dated 43 years previously and responsible for driving yet another potentially divisive wedge between Celtic and Liverpool FC, whose fans already butchly contest the historical initial shrill of the Rodgers and Hammerstein number ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ on their terraces. Regardless, if you received a Glasgow Kiss before 1987 and had the wherewithal to calmly register the date before lapsing into a coma, please email balderdash@bbc.co.uk .

‘You’re useless!’ ‘You look a state!’ ‘You’re a waste of space!’ The Leech’s ears long ago grew deaf to these observations from your correspondent’s significantly angry other, partly through repetition, partly through sheer volume. But the Leech is keen to clarify that these phrases’ appearances on billboards across Scotland highlight the important issue of domestic abuse. Not an escalation in the Leech’s own domestic war of attrition. Or a belated tribute to Paul Le Guen.

Final word this issue goes to those poor kids on Channel 4, who were simply everyday Glaswegians, trapped in France with Keith Allen and mistakenly diagnosed as Tourettes sufferers. ‘Shitslapheadwankcunt!’

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