22 January 2014

[teh_funny] The Gay Shipping Forecast, Transcribed

It's gone round the world and come right back into your face, though not in an embarrassing way.

Blighty has its own chorus howling about how tolerating Teh Gay has 'removed God's protection' from England's Mountains Green. It would seem that, similar to the hectoring warnings about increased meteorological and geolphysical travail that we get in America from fundamentalist teleministers, they get warnings that sound like mail-merge script in the UK.

Theirs is a man named David Silvester, a councilor in the UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), a sort of British sort of Libertarian sect which advocates leaving the EU, and he wrote a letter to a local editor all but coming right out and saying that a spate of recent flooding may just as well have happened because of tolerance of gay people. This went viral and is currently getting the right sort of ridicule, which is hard and hilarious.

Nicholas Pegg (really, you don't know who he is?) decided to have a bit of fun and coöpted a UK broadcast institution, the shipping forecast. Brittania, of course, once ruled the waves, and the feeling of the UK as a great naval power has never waned. People who have no conception of even how to dog-paddle listen avidly to the shipping forecast; Fog in Channel, Continent cut off goes a famous line.

Here, then, the UKIP Shipping Forecast:

In listening to it, though, I was entranced by the cadence and the easy way with which the areas were ticked off and listed. I wanted to read along, actually, but the words were not to be found.

I have taken the liberty of transcribing them, because I love reading lyrics with a song, and this is no different really. With apologies to the author:

(music fades in, and out)

And now, the shipping forecast, issued by UKIP, On Sunday, the nineteenth of January twenty-fourteen, at twelve hundred UTC.

There are warnings of gays in Viking, Forties, Cromarty, Southeast Iceland, and Bongo Bongo Land. The general synopsis at midday: low intelligence expected, becoming Little England by midnight, tonight. 

And now, the area forecasts for the next twenty-four hours: 

Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire: southeasterly gay 7 to severe gay 9, occaisionally bisexual. Showers, gay.
Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher: Women, veering southerly 4 or 5, losing their identity and becoming sluts. Rain, moderate or gay.
German Blight: Immigration veering north. Figures variable, becoming psychotic. Showers, gay.
Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth: Benefit tourism, 98%, becoming variable, later slight, or imaginary. Showers, gay.
Biscay, Trafalgar: Warm, lingering nationalism. Kiss me Hardy, later becoming heterosexual, Good.
FitzRoy, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey: Right or extreme Right veering racist 4 or 5 increasing 5 to 7. Homophobic outburst, backpedalling westerly becoming untenable. Showers, gay.
Fair Isle, Faeroes, Southeast Iceland: Power base decreasing, variable, becoming unelectable. Good.

And that concludes the forecast. And now, it's over to Ambridge, where Bridge Farm in still knee-deep in water, and the village is counting the cost of Adam and Ian's civil partnership.


What really impresses me about all this is the insight into UK isolationism, jingoism and hyper-nationalism and xenophobia this gives us. I'm so used to the sort which grows here in America that it always seems indescribably odd that another nation should go at it with such gusto and joie de vivre, but the insight that Nicholas Pegg's piece gives us is a strangely familiar one. By the tenor and substance of his jokes, we find that UK xenophobia is not all that different from America, as the UKIP-infected shipping forecast shows, the right-wing litany is rather the same, with prehistoric attitudes on women and utter fear of the immigrant moving in to take advantage of the advantageous features of the economy (that's apparently what benefit tourism is).

Plus ça change …

There are a few references worth noting. All the boldfaced names are sea areas in the seas adjacent to the British Isles. Names like North Utsire (ut-SEARY) and Fastnet roll of the British tongue quite fluidly but sound like strange music to the American ear. Two obvious jokes there, of course: "Bongo Bongo Land", being one, and the German Blight, which is a pun on German Bight, which is the name of the elbow of North Sea which abuts Germany's northwest, between the Netherlands and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark, kind of Germany's left shoulder.

The reference at the end is for a wholly remarkable Radio 4 program, The Archers which, at over 17,200 episodes, is most likely the longest-running serial drama on Earth.

Anyone needing to know just where these sea regions are geographically located can view the map here.

I'm going to listen to that thing a few hundred more times.


Anonymous said...

Awesome, thanks for the script. I think it is. "Kiss me Hardy" rather than "hearty". A reference to the mythical last words of Lord Nelson.

Samuel Klein said...

Thanks for that feedback. Edited perfoce.