Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Day In St Andrews, Hector's Journeys & Hoddle's Knee Shin Toe Joke

Marion’s having a relaxing day with Sarah in the Spa here at The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews today so I’ve been left to my own devices. I had almost an hour in the gym trying to strengthen my right leg to get rid of my limp, which I can’t seem to shake off despite the new hip.

Then I read another of the Hector’s Journeys books by Francois Lelord. This one, Hector And the Secrets Of Love sees psychiatrist Hector travclling to the Far East ostensibly in search of the inventor of a love potion that really works. Like his Search For Happiness, the book is written in a simple and very quirky style that seems childlike on the surface but is actually quite deep when you scratch below it. I enjoyed reading it. The novel has more of a story to it than “Happiness” but that story is very much a skeleton to on which to hang Hector’s views on love and attraction – a point that is emphasised in the wonderful epilogue that leaves the reader plenty to think about. If you haven’t tried Lelord’s books, do give them a go. I’d love to hear what you think.

After a long walk around St Andrews in which I visited the Castle and Cathedral for the first time and managed to climb to the top of the tower ,I treated myself to half of bitter in the Jigger Inn pub which adjoins the hotel. I sampled the delights of the Daily Express and found that it is as right wing and reactionary as ever although even I ( a bleeding heart liberal) sympathised with the paper’s rant about the bloke who ended up losing £13k after his employee took him to court for marching him to the police station with a placard reading “THIEF”. Having been the victim of one particularly nasty case of theft by an employee who cost my company thousands of pounds and was only given community service, I know that you sometimes wonder which side the law is on. I’m not sure that I approve of the public humiliation but it would have been nice if someone in authority had seen the employer’s point of view and decided that, whilst he stepped out of line, there was no case to answer. Theft is nasty however it happens but when the thief is someone in a position of trust it is a kick in the guts that is difficult to explain and I am sure that the employer’s trauma was at least equal to that of the thief.

I saw that Glenn Hoddle has been criticised for joking that a player was like the Chinese footballer Knee Shin Toe. Now, in fear of sounding like that ten minutes with the Daily Express has rubbed off on me, I can’t see a problem in this joke. Knee Shin Toe does sound a little like an Oriental name such as Ho Chi Min for example so what has Hoddle done wrong to get the PC brigade seeking an apology? When I was a kid we had a couple of cloakroom attendant jokes. There was the Indian, Mahatma Coat and the Scot Angus McCoatup. Yes I know both are cringe worthy but they aren’t racist and Hoddle’s comments fall into exactly the same category. This is an example where the critics have overstepped the mark and when they criticise something as mild as this they provide ammunition for their opponents for the future at times when they have a completely valid case.