Friday, 26 July 2013

Not Cruelty Free.

All this good weather has made everything a lot more positive. No matter what problems we might have or how terrible this world seems to be, at least the sun is blazing bright in the sky. Flowers are beautiful, birds are singing and instead of wearing duffle coats and thermals we're wearing sandals and smiles. The glorious heat just makes you want to get out there and enjoy life for once. That's why I was especially happy two days ago when I saw a sewer explode and two men got covered in shit.

It's probably the greatest thing I've ever seen. Yes, it could just be the well being that the sun's rays beam down upon me, but seeing a sewer explode and two men get covered in shit made me laugh more than I've laughed in years. I mean, there is just so much shit when a sewer blows up. Loads of it. Like a brown fountain with two people cavorting in it in their swimming trunks to keep cool on this wonderful day. Except it wasn't a fountain, it was the excrement of a million people and these men were fully dressed and they weren't cavorting. They were saying "Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck". But it's just these tiny little moments that make these sunny, sunny days completely perfect. The tiny moment of a sewer exploding and two men getting covered in wet shit. In 32 degree heat.

An hour later, I was coming to the end of a walk in the park with Jerk when a little boy on a scooter came up and said "That's a lovely dog you've got". I thanked him and thought to myself how charming this little lad had been to say such a nice thing but it was then that I noticed his mother's face grimace like she knew what was coming next. The little boy bent down to look between Jerk's legs. Then he stood up straight, looked at me and said "No willy. Girl!". I laughed and said "You're right. She is a girl". Then he said "No, I was talking about you".

I didn't even want to punch his tiny little 5 year old face in. THAT'S how lovely that day was. Plus, I'd just seen a sewer explode and two men get covered in shit so nothing could possibly spoil my good mood.

Until last night.

I was performing at the Top Secret Comedy Club in King Street, Covent Garden. It was boiling hot in there so, while I waited to go on stage, I took my beer outside for some air. Right across the street from the venue was a shop. A shop that sold skin care products. A shop that looked modern and exclusive and expensive. Basically, it was the exact kind of shop that I would never normally even notice. Except that it didn't have a proper sign over the shop. Instead it had a quote. A quote from Oliver Cromwell.

Who the fuck in their right mind is going to go into a shop that quotes Oliver Cromwell? He was a genocidal maniac. You might as well have "No Irish. No Blacks. No dogs" in your shop window. It's insane. Just think about it: they'll have had a meeting. They'll have sat round in a boardroom with advertising executives who have been paid money, actual money, to come up with an idea that will help promote good skin care and ethically produced products. "We could quote Oliver Cromwell", someone would have said. "Great!", the room would respond. "His slaughtering of the Irish and stealing Scottish land certainly does go hand in hand with our policy of bringing rich people the very best moisturisers and toners to help them look beautiful. What's his most famous quote?"

"Paint me as I am, warts and all".

"What's his second most famous quote?"

And that would have actually gone on and on until they congratulated themselves that they chosen the best quote from a murderer they could find: " Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will".

It's not even a very good quote. In fact, it's rubbish. They took a rubbish quote from a slaughtering nutjob and they put it above their shop. "I have sworn to only live free" - that's a good quote. So is "Words build bridges into unexplored regions". I think "Don't drink at all, don't smoke, you must exercise and eat vegetables and fruit" are also great words to inspire a good life but that shop didn't use any of those quotes. I suppose they have something against Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler and Robert Mugabe? 

I pointed out the shop sign to one of the other acts. He's English and said "What you have to understand is, we were taught that Oliver Cromwell was a hero". That's the thing; I don't have to understand that at all. Heroes generally don't try to wipe out the people of entire countries or force them into slavery. That's one of the many things I like about Indiana Jones. He never once slaughtered the Irish.

So, fuck that shop. It's called Aesop, by the way, and it's in King Street in Covent Garden. Clearly they don't want Irish or Scottish people anywhere near them. A fucking sign over a shop that quotes Oliver fucking Cromwell? It's the most offensive thing I've ever seen.

And I've seen two men covered in shit.

UPDATE (28/07/2013): Well, this is good news. After the blog and a couple of tweets, I got this reply from Aesop...

I'm very happy with the result and hope you are too. Thanks for reading and supporting and congratulations on getting something nasty removed. Well done!

Thanks to @mattsymonds for the photo.

My show "Free Wifi" is on at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh from the 31st July until the 25th August at 3.40pm. Please come along. You can buy tickets here:


PeeT said...

I'm English, and I bloody hate Oliver Cromwell. He stayed at an inn once in my home town of Banbury. I'd have slung him out, the miserable bastard!

moshady said...

Your colleague was right - in England our generation wasn't taught Cromwell in a negative light. Generally if someone English has anything against him, it's because they're Royalist now, or they grew up in a Royalist town, where grudges are still harboured to this day. I only found out about his treatment of the Irish in my 20s when I spent quite a bit of time in Ireland and caught up on Irish history.

I wonder if there are pastry shops in Germany with Hitler strap-lines? Probably not.

Anonymous said...

They should have gone with something more aspirational "Arbeit macht frei", everyone wants to be frei.

Michael Legge said...

Good news, everyone!

Aesop sent me a tweet today that said "Sincere apologies if we have caused offence, the quote is to be removed. Thank you".

And very huge thank you's to everyone who read the blog. Much appreciated.

Ines said...