Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A nation of twats

Amanda is worried that she might be a twat.

“Oh no darling, you couldn’t possibly be,” says Sara, as she places a reassuring hand on Amanda’s knee.

Jocasta and I exchange a knowing glance across the table. In private we have discussed how Sara is by far the biggest twat we have ever encountered in our lives. In the index of twats she is right up there with Magneto from the X-Men, or Darth Vader. She also figures prominently in The Eye-Spy Book of Wanker Drivers, that I compulsively fill-in during my cycle commute to work, as I ride no-handed through red traffic lights.

The reason for Amanda’s most-recent episode of self-doubt lies in her unbridled enthusiasm for a performance she witnessed at an Islington folk club the previous evening. A young man (whose antique clothing, flat cap and neatly-trimmed moustache were redolent of someone who had travelled forward in time from the year 1914, possibly to avoid being conscripted into the armed forces) had attempted to pass off the inane z-list nursery rhyme – Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son  as an authentic a capella folk song, which he had re-titled: “Oh Tom [sung: “Torm”] he were [sung: “wore”] the Pipeman’s Son, and which he performed in a fake, over-enunciated Lancastrian accent.

“I was down the front clapping along and applauding like a mental patient...” says Amanda, who is clearly distressed and appalled by her behaviour.

“...That song is nursery school prattle and I know it. If Jeremy ever had the bare-faced nerve to come home from his playgroup singing that, I would instruct him to go to his room at once and to be quite, as mummy has a headache and needs to lie down for a while.

“The worse thing of all is the strained affectation. A year from now that boy will be over his folk music phase. The flat cap and the moustache will be gone. He’ll be on Dragons Den being scowled at by Duncan Bannatyne, while trying to raise money to fund a new app, designed by him and his twattish female business partner, who he’ll end up shagging and disastrously undermining what passes for their working relationship.” 

As ever, it is level-headed Giles who intervenes and re-establishes equilibrium: He brings us all back down to earth with his observation that the tendrils of twattery have insidiously wormed their way into every aspect of modern living, to such an extent that it is now impossible not to be a twat.

“We are a nation, if not a species, of twats,” he says, summarising his argument in the distinct baritone that he has unsuccessfully employed in auditions for roles as diverse as ‘The voice-over part in a Toilet Duck commercial’ and ‘The voice-over part in a Flash Power Bathroom Spray commercial.’  

The following week I find myself at the Twat Nation club night in Shoreditch, chopping out a line of the latest legal high (called ‘Chair,’ because it makes you feel like a chair) on one of the mirrors that have been thoughtfully embedded into the counter by the sink. Peering down into the reflective surface  I see the face of a twat staring back at me.

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