THE VIEW FROM HERE
What constitutes a gentleman? The magazine Country Life has been asking for nominations for its Gentleman of the Year Awards and as a keen observer of the IW social scene, I have naturally swooped upon this opportunity to raise our profile by getting in among the prizes.
Surely we can find somebody on the Island worthy to achieve a Gentleman of the Year Award?
Country Life believes "the gentleman is alive and well and thriving in modern-day Britain". So where shall we find him alive and well and thriving on the Island?
The possibilities are endless. One’s thoughts turn to the obvious — he may be in Bembridge, Yarmouth, or downing oysters in Cowes.
But we must not prejudge the matter. Our chap may be in Lake, Sandown, Wroxall or even Sea View Yacht Club. We must start scouring the length and breadth of the Island at once.
In order to facilitate our search, Country Life has produced a list of those things which are the mark of the true gentleman and those which aren’t. We shall start with the gentlemanly traits, so pay attention and see if you recognise anybody like this.
A gentleman will eat anything that’s put in front of him, will occasionally be drunk but never disorderly, writes with a fountain pen and makes love on his elbows.
Remind you of anybody you know? Well, yes, I admit I’m pretty stumped myself at this stage.
Still, let’s carry on. Here’s what a gentleman never does. He never buys fuchsia trousers, owns a speedboat, writes with a biro, tweets, drinks Malibu, nor, presumably, is he able to distinguish any other part of his anatomy from his elbows when making love.
Do you know, I think we might be in a spot of bother here. The fuchsia trousers have knocked practically the entire IW yachtie fraternity out of the running.
Have you ever been into the bar of any of our sailing clubs? They’re more colourful than the gladioli stand at an Island horticultural show.
Speaking of which, I’m afraid if you’ve contributed to that particular class in the show, you’ve also been disqualified. "A gentleman never plants gladioli".
The tweeting thing is going to do for a lot of our chaps, too. I had high hopes of entering our MP for the Country Life awards — public school, Oxford, all that. I thought they might overlook the fact that a gentleman "owns an incredibly obedient dog" but I’m afraid his habit of tweeting has completely ungentlemanned him.
Not just that but he has, by his own hand, flagged up the dog problem.
"Pickle is chasing her tail because I accidentally moved her lead. Better give in to her, I think," tweets our parliamentary representative.
Chasing tails because of a slight lead malfunction is, sadly, not the sign of an "incredibly obedient dog".
So that’s that one down the drain. I hardly know where to go from here. If they’re not wearing fuchsia trousers, they’re tweeting and I really can’t face doing a survey on the elbows thing.
Moreover, we’re not just stymied by trousers and tweets. There are still plenty of other hurdles to overcome before Country Life will consider us for their awards. A gentleman does not "own a cat".
Oh, let’s just give up. In any case, some woman called Emma Elliott-Jennings thinks she’s well ahead of the field. She’s contributed to the Country Life forum with a very smug resume on her own husband. He helps pony club mothers, is unfailingly polite and, although not liking cats, is happy to worm them and take them to the vet. Emma further boasts he also uses his elbows.
Unfortunately, I can’t find anybody called Elliott-Jennings in the IW directory.
Over to you. In the unlikely event of there being a man on the Island who doesn’t tweet or drink Malibu, eschews fuchsia trousers and gladioli but can worm cats and help pony club mothers (possibly using his elbows for the latter task), please alert County Life immediately.
I’ve done my best but the Island’s male population has let me down badly. Louts, all of you.
And if you want to write a letter in your defence, for God’s sake don’t use a biro.
An interesting marketing idea
Consternation in Geord-ieland, where supermarket chain Morris-ons has projected a massive advertisement for its baguettes on to the outstretched wings of The Angel of the North, Anthony Gormley’s iconic sculpture.
While Morrisons should possibly not have used the Angel to sell bread, the idea has possibilities. Can you think of an art installation on the Island that might benefit from such an initiative?
Precisely. The Koan at St Mary’s Hospital has been in a sulk for years now, refusing to light up or twirl as it was supposed to.
If Morrisons, or indeed, any other commercial outlet, would care to project an advertisement on the Koan, it would jolly it up no end.
In view of its location, medical supply companies might be particularly interested.
Try projecting an enema pack on to the Koan.
That would surely make it twirl around a bit.