Monday, September 12, 2005

# Posted 8:29 AM by Patrick Belton  

THE LAST NIGHT OF POMS: Today, with any luck, the England side will capture the Ashes for its first time in over a decade, following a series of exceptionally beautifully played cricket from both nations. BBC are providing live coverage; and in the 'blog before wicket' category, for blog coverage of the play today at Lord's you can do far worse than the Corridor of Uncertainty, The Ashes (with some of the best photographs the game has produced*), Jim Maxwell, and Cricket 24x7 (for a perspective from the South Asians who invented the game - a fact we often forget in light of its rising popularity in Britain these days). As the BBC's Alan Connor helpfully points out, 'after all, the last time England won the Ashes, there were not only no blogs: there was no World Wide Web at all; just 5,000 machines on the net and the odd Usenet post.' And, for those of you who didn't already know the original meaning of the term 'leg before wicket', in a rubber that has already seen its few pounds of flesh on the pitch you can go here for a scholarly discussion of the 'pure bare-faced cheek' of sport streakers across history.

In honour of the Australia side and in recognition of the great Aussie sense of humour, for our part we could do worse in tribute than recycle one of the internet's great forwards, as funny as it is undoubtedly apocryphal:
The questions below are from potential visitors to Australia. They were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humour, &c., &c., okay, you get the idea.....

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: What precisely did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not. oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked. (Exegetical apparatus: Kings Cross is the red light/non mainstream/anything goes district in Sydney....)

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? ( UK)
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.


Getting back to the title of this post, for historical trivia points, the term 'poms' comes from 'pomegranate', which was at some point thought to rhyme with 'immigrant' by someone who hadn't quite mastered the rules of Cockney rhyming slang, but gets splendid points for trying. Points also to the government of New Zealand for managing to include the phrase "Pommy bastards" on a government website.

Finally, if you were misled by the title, were annoyed by all this cricket, and still want to listen to the Last Night of Proms instead, you can hear Saturday's Last Night broadcast on the Radio 3 website here.
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