Yesterday I took the most altruistic of tasks upon myself and showed a distant cousin round Dublin- anything to keep M'ma out of the laudenum.
The unfortunate devil had just moved to Ireland from Athy. "At-eye?" I mimicked and questioned with respectful interest. "I'm not familiar with that town...Oh, and it's okay, Jean Paul, you don't have to pronounce it in English; my French is quite fluent, I can assure you."
I then pronounced it in French for his benefit, "Ath-ee, n'est pas?"
I asked him in what coin of France it's situated. He seemed confused and though his accent was thick, I was able to glean that - according to him - Athy is not in France, but in a place called Kild'aire. I assumed it's one of those unrecognised separatist regions like the Basque country or the regions of Occitane and Languedoc. These separatists can be unspeakably peevish about nationality, so I pressed him no further and continued in English. I have no idea what dialect they speak in the Kild'aire region.
I quickly changed the subject and declared myself quite the flaneur. I was befuddled to find, considering his 'French' background, that he didn't know what a flaneur was. Perhaps Baudelaire isn't popular in Ath-ee. Savant was a word that sprang to mind when talking to Jean Paul, or JP, as he preferred. He certainly had an extraordinarily unsophisticated manner of dressing: he was clad in a shiny, bright green T-shirt, jeans and trainers, all topped off with a Burberry cap. He didn't seem to possess, or miss a coat in the evil Orwellian weather. Had he not been a kinsman, I should have set the dogs on him, the truth be known. I was half-afraid a bobby would think I was accompanying him to buy opium or something.
In any case, we braved the weather and I showed him the sights. But he wasn't interested in the Wilde family home or Trinity College, so I suggest a swift half of ale.
In the pub he asked about me. "Well, as you can see, I'm a self-professed fop-" Again he quite a loss. It really is perversely difficult to converse with the lower orders! I endeavoured to explain just what a fop is...in the modern context.
After a time he asked me if Wesley Snipes is a fop, not having understood a word. I told he that there are no black fops left in the world because Chris Eubanks ruined it for them. He seemed to perk up at the mention of the pugilistic arts. He went on and on ad nauseum about Prince someone and Cassius Ali. He was such a bore that I was forced to excuse myself and fled out the door for fear that all the jock chat would give me male pattern balding.
If you ask me, distant relatives are better kept at a distant. It's altogether possible there was a damn good reason for their being distant in the first place!
Another Crisis In Foptown