August 1: a pickled hand

With the Olympics on the go we are hearing a lot of the national anthem. It is interminably droned out over the airwaves when Team GB or as I like to call it GB Team wins a Gold medal. On the telly they are still in the cast of mind that they must beam out live the medal ceremony along with the silly anthem, as if we are all still living in 1870’s Prussia. There will come a day (I’m hoping quite soon) when all this stops and the Daily Telegraph is replete with scandalised letters. It reminds me of the strange convention of the marriage proposal, something out of middle-age folklore where the man must formally ask the woman for her hand in marriage, rather than the two of them having a number of chats about the idea. If I were a woman and someone one day asked me for my hand in marriage I would have readily prepared a severed hand in formaldehyde preserved in a pickling jar which I would present to my aspirant spouse. In the same way all medal ceremonies should have medals presented by a man in frock coat and a huge handlebar moustache or at least some resplendent whiskers photographed with one of those old-fashioned cameras where you look down onto a plate in your apparatus and after much chemical manipulation produce a blurry melancholy black and white image of alien beings waiting to be blown to smithereens in the Great War.

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