From Mayor to Majorca

Have you heard about The Perils of the Pushy Parents? This is the debut volume of poetry by everyone’s favourite Tory fop and London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson. Don’t worry, I haven’t purchased a copy, but Stuart Jeffries’ Guardian review does pick out some choice lines, such as this couplet:

He’d zap the programme off and holler
Go and read some Emile Zola.

That’s the voice of the eccentric Mr Albacore, encouraging his square-eyed kids to read more. Which sounds like standard ‘back to basics’ Tory moral politics – in verse. It’s crude, but I don’t disagree. But do I detect a hint of something more suspicious here? ‘Albacore’ – from alba, the Latin for ‘white’? I’m sure Boris’s critics, such as Doreen Lawrence, would like this etymology (and the connotations of racism) to be true. But according to my painstaking Wikipedia research, Albacore is a kind of tuna – and the word is of Semitic origin. I hope The Perils sells poorly, but as it’s coming up to Christmas, it won’t.

Talking of mayors, it’s the Lord Mayor’s Show today. That’s the Lord Mayor of the City of London – a largely ceremonial position which dates back to the twelfth century and covers the square mile only. The Mayor is elected from the Aldermen of the City and gets to wear some pretty cool outfits. I’ve already missed the grand procession from Mansion House to the Royal Courts, but there’s a fireworks display tonight from 5pm. Best viewing spots are found on either bank between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges.

From Mayor to Lord Mayor to Majorca. Oh, how I love etymology. I’m going on a week’s holiday with my girlfriend, staying in Puerto Pollenso – in the north-east of the island. I hope to use the time to concentrate on writing and editing. And drinking sangria (from the Spanish for ‘blood’ of course). As it’s out of season, it’ll be relatively quiet and not too full of the English abroad. I can’t wait!

* * *

Finally, a date for your diary: Saturday 15 December. I’m organising Bah Humbug! – an all-day Christmas poetry party at The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon.

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