Monday, 26 April 2021


 I love banana skins

I’m not alone. It’s the minor disasters like throwing your car into Reverse rather than Drive and accelerating not as a prince of the road into a gap in the traffic but reversing noisily into the parked car behind. Doh!

A while back on a freezing winter day the banana skin became black ice on to which I confidently strode and my feet flew from under me pitching me on to my head. Fortunately, my hair hadn’t been cut for ages and it felt like falling on to a soft well-stuffed cushion. 

It’s the banana skin phenomenon that made The Play That Goes Wrong such a hit. But when it goes wrong for the high, mighty and humourless it’s best of all. Quentin Letts in the Times described a virtual International Earth Day conference of the Global Heads of State.  It was a techno-catastrophe from start to finish.

Kamala Harris, US Vice President, had voice feedback so every word was broadcast twice making her sound like the tannoy announcements at Paddington Station. Several speakers were on intermittent mute. The Chinese President was interrupted by a loud electronic pipping sound. The Japanese President spoke so fast the translator couldn’t keep up and had to be replaced. Best of all the President of France was introduced and on screen the President of Indonesia appeared, was swiftly removed and replaced by Vladimir Putin. He scowled (as he does) – silence – background technician mutterings (poor technician when Vlad gets hold of him). The rest was chaos – coughing fits from Brazil and scripts being flung about. It was, Letts says, the presentation from hell. Strangely it sounds great to me and a perfect depiction of the diplomatic status of our world right now.

Banana skins continued with a mass of bits of media advice on how to be greener. We’re told a glass of milk is much less green than a glass of wine. Great news but elsewhere I hear wine is “liquid fat” and we must reduce our alcohol intake to under 14 units a week. Who makes this stuff up? At 14 units the story is “Watch out! You are drinking at levels that could put your health at risk and you would benefit from cutting down.”  

There’s a depressing sanctimoniousness about a lot of medical advice unless you go privately, of course, in which case the classically suited medic says “I’d keep it under a bottle a day old boy unless it’s a fine claret if I were you”. No banana skins in Harley Street. 

Banana skins follow our Prime Minister around. We all recall him being stuck on a zip wire during the 2012 London Olympics – “this could only happen to Boris” was the good-natured response. And his zip wire performance continues now. At that mad conference he said “eco-politics should not be seen as bunny hugging” (what does that mean for heaven’s sake you pillock?). The banana skin was suffered by the sign-language interpreter who baffled had to resort to a Bugs Bunny ear-flapping gesture.

The big banana skin moment of the week was the fiasco of that calamitous launch of a Football Super League. J.P. Morgan who had been backstage orchestrators had a Ratner-like omelette on their face. And the owners of the clubs found to their mystification that they didn’t really own the clubs at all…they merely funded them. We should expect them to start selling players soon to fund their own dividends. 

I fear the “beautiful game” is about to turn very ugly. Not so much a banana skin story as a tragedy.


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