One of the great things about coming from England is that when you go abroad in Europe everyone can speak your language. No need to fanny around with any of those phrasebooks or ‘How to speak foreign’ tapes when a simple “Oi, Garçon, beer” breaks down the language barrier quicker than a reacharound in the kitchen with the Swedish au pair (see No4.).
So on a recent trip to Austria (Calvin has given me a couple of weeks off as a reward for attacking the postman), I was not impressed to find my taxi driver try to talk to me in foreign tongues. For some reason he started jabbering away like I was some sort of Nazi sympathizer. I mean, honestly, do I look like a German Pointer to you? And what was he doing talking to me in German anyway, when he’s Austrian? What a bell-end.
Of course, I dealt with the situation by pretending I hadn’t changed up any money and offering to pay the fare in pounds, which was greeted with the sort of look Tiger Woods gets from his wife these days at breakfast. The thing is, Herr Driver wouldn’t have complained at being paid in her majesty’s bees and honey a couple of years ago when the pound was stronger than Special Brew and the Euro was a currency you wouldn’t wipe yer arse with, would he? Fickle, you see, these Austrians. Can’t trust them as far as you can throw them – or as far as you can run away from them at the traffic lights when they’re looking the other way and still chuntering on unintelligibly.
Anyway, after wandering around the quaint cobbled streets of Salzburg, taking in the Chistmassy sights and sounds of the Alter Marktplatz and sampling the local Britneys, which is different gravy compared to the Fosters you get down the Dog and Duck, I must admit, I returned to the warmth of my room and the sanctuary of TV. And what did I find? Every single channel was in German. Even The Longest Day was dubbed over. Longest fucking film, more like.
Fortunately I stumbled upon a channel (no, not that channel) showing celebrity poker. I use the word celebrity in the loosest possible term as I didn’t recognize anyone, being as they were foreign n all. But although I couldn’t understand the commentators or the Teutonic banter between the players, I could actually follow what was going on. That’s one of the beauties of poker. If you’ve got the money you can always get a piece of the action. Just ask Tiger Woods…oh wait, isn’t he off asking that twat Kobe what to do?