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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just my cup of tea….

I can’t remember if it was the Goon Show on the walnut caesd wireless but I suspect the sketch came from there. I was intoxicated by the Goons in a way that maybe viewers took to Monty Python later. Catch phrases, surreal plots and resident characters that grew and changed over time, the point about these programmes was that they broke the mould of previous comic structures and actually seduced their audiences into new ways of seeing. They appealed to the young because they were opaque to older audiences who had been brought up on Music Hall and gave the new generation a language and experience much as rock and roll did, which offered personal possession of a whole slice of culture. When I was at school, there was a distinct division between the Goons and the Anti-Goons. The former adopted the voices and endlessly repeated favourite sketches while the latter talked about girls and getting your end away. Maybe the Goon Show represented the beginning of the sexually immature Nerd.

The sketch I alluded to at the beginning of this, possibly infinite set of regressions (!) went something like this:

“We were out in the garden when war was declared (World War 2) and our Mum said, never mind about that, let’s have a nice cup of tea.”

In succeeding programmes, disasters were shelved as the willow pattern cups and saucers appeared with their efficacious brew, dissolving angst, magically. Unlike coffee, the range of recipes of how tea must be drunk is almost infinite. Strength, with or without milk and/or sugar, lemon, blend and (to me very important) colour. I have seen people wave a tea bag over boiled water, allowing it to dip once like a martin, taking in fluids and discolouring the liquid very slightly while others require a pair of scissors to snip off the brew as it reaches the top of the mug. Tea in Britain is a bit like the weather, never predictable and rarely acceptable, even when you make it for yourself.

So, it must be a relief for the reader that I come to my point. Tea, it turns out, does NOT dehydrate. It offers as much as water in rehydration BUT on top of that it is an anti-oxidant, doing wonders for all manner of bodily processes.

In the excruciating aftermath of English goalkeeper Robert Green’s feckless attempt to save a bumbling shot from the United States, I heard myself saying:

“Never mind about that, let’s have a nice cup of tea.”


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