The latest topical insights from Aberdeen musical sketch comedy team, The Flying Pigs.
J Fergus Lamont, critic and author of How Green Was My Buttery: Latent Environmental Themes in Scottish Vernacular Culture, 1968-1973
Great art prompts further art, and so it was no surprise when this week’s most notable TV event prompted me to leap, galvanised, from my chair and run to my writing desk, where I penned the following:
Now this is a story all about how / the Oscars got turned upside down /
When the guy who won ‘Best Actor’ got up out of his chair /
And slapped a chap that joked about his wife’s extremely short hair
Yes, you may not be aware of it, for it received little or no publicity, but the actor Will Smith has hit the headlines – among other things! – with his most notable on screen role in years at this year’s Oscar ceremony.
Although no event could ever challenge Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox’s ground-breaking piece of performance art, ‘Myxomatosis-affected rabbit in headlights”, delivered with such poignance and power at the 1989 Brit awards, the Oscars does of course have its own tradition of onstage performances of note. Who could forget which film won the Oscar in 2017? Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, apparently, as they essayed their hilarious farce ‘The Wrong Envelope’ in the Oscars of that year.
But even that bravura performance is now overtaken by what is surely the most powerful episode ever aired of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. I applauded at the sheer audacious courage of the Academy to allow the debut of a new live episode of this classic 90s sitcom right in the middle of a hitherto unremarkable Oscar ceremony.
And what an episode it was, as Will Smith swaggered up to Chris Rock and clocked him. It was quite the best example of a stage fight I have seen since that notable production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when Dame Judi Dench’s Titania gave her Bottom a good kicking.
And then, violence sated, the episode concluded with an even more remarkable coda in which Will Smith gave vent to a particularly powerful display of demotic anglo-saxon. This was dialogue with little of the zip and verve of the sitcom’s original writing, and indeed contained fruitier language than it had ever aired on its original run, even the notable episode when Carlton called Will a “big poopie”.
Overall this was a sinister and brooding update, replacing the original series’ lighthearted family-friendly antics with a Fresh Prince fully suited to the modern America in the post-Trump epoch. The onstage performance was stark, minimalist; two actors sharing a single powerful moment of violence. It evoked the spirit of modern America, where of course violence is the only solution when one’s spouse’s physical appearance is being jeeringly compared to a 25-year-old film that no one remembers.
Apparently, Will Smith’s motivation lay in a potentially unknowing reference that Chris Rock had made to his wife’s alpaca. However, as I have not seen the film G.I. Jane and cannot recall if a woolly South American mammal featured heavily, I cannot comment on the relevance of this.
— Variety (@Variety) March 28, 2022
The Academy themselves were clearly impressed, and so powerful was Smith’s performance that mere minutes later he was awarded the best actor Oscar, and gave a fascinatingly incoherent tear-filled speech. I cheered so loudly that I woke up my wife who, in a remarkable moment of life imitating art, came charging down the stairs and decked me, as it was 4 in the morning. I wept.
Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit who only rarely slaps a man on the chops
At the time what I is writing this, Old Kenny is on tinder hooks waiting for the World Cup draw. By the time you read this, we’ll know which teams Scotland could be facing if we beat Ukraine and then Wales in the playoffs, but as this Friday afternoon’s speculum reaches beaver pitch, I’ve been doing a bit of fantalising about our group of dreams and group of death.
The dream group would see the Tartan army against the hosts Catarrh, the USA and Iran. The Americans are so friendly, I’m sure they’ll get on just as famously with the Catarrh and Iran fans as they would with us! I think if we got grouped with those boys, Stevie Clarke’s men would have every chance of getting into the knockout stages.
The group of death would see us paired with all the footballing heavyweights like Brazil, Germany and Poland. There is not no doubting that we would be the whippet boys in that group!
There is one other group I’d love to see us drawn in: Portugal, Mexico and Tunisia. Not for footballing reasons, just because that’s the last 3 places I went on my holidays!
Of course, me sitting dreaming about World Cup draws will all be a waste of time if we can’t get past the Ukrainians and the Welch. If we get punted out by one of them, this is all purely hypocritical.