–This week’s most widely reported event has to be the Coronation. A Spanish paper (Crónica Global) has made a story out of a widely-circulated cheer sent up at a recent football match by Glasgow Celtic fans. (My recollection is that it was “sung” to the tune of “She’ll be coming round the mountain”):
“ You can shove your coronation up your ass ” sang the Celtic fans, in the stadium, at the beginning of a football match, undoubtedly very important for them. This is how they expressed their contempt –or something worse- for King Charles III, who was crowned this Saturday.
The story, by Ignacio Vidal-Folch, continues with a a discussion of his admiration for Waugh’s work, most of which he seems to have read in Spanish translations. There is also reference to Waugh’s short career as an international correspondent. This involves the use of the telegraphese language adopted by correspondents for cable traffic. After a background description of the story of the telegraphic exchanges in Scoop, the article meanders back to the Celtics fans and their Coronation cheer in its concluding paragraphs:
Days and weeks passed, battles and carnage followed, and bloody slacker Waugh never sent a story to the Daily Mail, while the other special correspondents telegraphed daily long and detailed articles on atrocities and massacres with which their respective newspapers filled their front pages. Finally his director, Smith, sent Waugh the following telegrams (laconic, because they were paid by the word):
— WHY NOT NEWS SMITH
Waugh incredibly responded:
— NO NEWS, GOOD NEWS WAUGH
The director, who was also not lacking in British humour, replied:
— NO NEWS, NO JOB SMITH
Waugh could not get away with threats and closed the discussion with one last, cheap telegram:
—JOB STICK UP ARSEWISE WAUGH
The most admirable thing about this mythical (perhaps legendary) exchange is the tremendous conciseness of the messages without leaving room for confusion due to being so brief … Celtic fans are clearly unfamiliar with their classics, as they chanted “You can shove your coronation up your arse”, instead of taking advantage of Waugh’s ingenious innovation and resorting to “arsewise”.
There is no source given for Waugh’s telegraphic exchange but it does sound somehow familiar and is certainly similar (up to a point) to the exchanges contained in the text of Scoop. The quoted phrases from the cables appeared in English in the original Spanish version of the story, followed by Spanish translations. Where they are quoted from is not revealed. The most likely source would be Waugh in Abyssinia (pp. 158-61) but I couldn’t find them there. I think they are most properly attributed to the public domain. See previous post. The text was translated by Google.
–The obituary in The Times for Conservative MP and journalist John Cockcraft (1934-2023), who died last month at the age of 88, includes this anecdote about an encounter with Evelyn Waugh early in Cockcraft’s career:
…Having eschewed the civil service and embarked on a career in journalism, Cockcroft found himself on a winter cruise in 1961 during which he was befriended by Evelyn Waugh, and they had champagne dinners each night. He enjoyed Waugh’s gossip but found him “a terrible snob”. On the final night Waugh asked what his parents did. When Cockcroft replied that on both sides they were involved in the cotton trade the author said “how frightful”. Cockcroft rejoined: “But I went to Oundle and you only went to Lancing.”
That would probably have been the cruise Waugh took with his daughter Margaret to the Caribbean and Guyana in November 1961. He later wrote about it in the the Daily Mail: “Here They Are, the English Lotus-Eaters”, 20 March 1962, and Sunday Times: “Eldorado Revisited”, 12 August 1962 (EAR, pp. 583, 592).
–A British band touring the United States (mentioned in several previous posts) was recently queried about its connections to Evelyn Waugh. Here’s the introduction from an interview in BOMB Magazine:
The London-based band Flyte started in their school days when eleven-year-old Will Taylor (vocals, guitar) and Jon Supran (drums, vocals) made music together; they were joined later by Nick Hill (guitar, bass, vocals). The trio has become renowned for their infectious melodies, all-male harmonies reminiscent of The Byrds and The Beatles, and their literary edge––the band’s name is taken from Sebastien Flyte of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Their debut album, The Loved Ones, released in 2017, was named Best British Debut of the Year by The Sunday Times, noted for its classicist storytelling.
The Waugh theme was elaborated in a later interview in the website JustFocus.fr:
Q. Is your band’s name the same as Sebastian Flyte, a fictional character created by Evelyn Waugh in his 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited? Why this choice?
A. There was something about this book that really stuck with me deeply when I first read it in my late teens. I felt such an affinity with the narrator Charles Ryder, a character from a lower class. Looking into a world that did not belong to him, the upper class. In England, class permeates everything, even now. You can’t see it, but it’s there. My father taught in a school for very privileged people and I and my brothers grew up around this environment while going to state school on the road and living half the time with our mother on the rougher side of town. It has instilled a kind of cultural duality in the way we see the world. When he came to name the band, the book had been such an influence on me that it seemed right to use the name Flyte, the embodiment of a world I would never enter. A doomed world that I could never understand.