Sunday, March 11, 2007

I'm Free!

I can't let the death of a childhood icon go unmentioned. Whilst John Inman has sadly passed away, I'm sure that his catch phrase of 'I'm free' will live on for many years to come. There's no doubt that Are You Being Served was one of the great smutty sitcoms of the 1970s, full of sexual innuendo and homophobia. Ah, such simple times! Thankfully, you'd never get away with it now! Not to say that it wasn't amusing in those far off days. Who couldn't titter at Mrs Slocombe's declaration that "My pussy hasn't had any for weeks!" A reference, of course, to that fact that her pet cat hadn't had any fresh fish for a while due to the ongoing Cod War.

For those of you too young to remember, the 1972 Cod War was sparked by the refusal of North Sea cod to be caught by British trawler men in protest at the low prices they were being sold for. Believing that they were being seriously under valued, the fish held out for several weeks, causing fish and chip shortages in the UK. The resulting riots in the North of England - as poverty stricken miners and steel workers, deprived of their staple diet faced starvation - forced the government's hand, and the Royal Navy were deployed to bring the fish back into line. In a fiercely fought conflict, a VC was awarded to Able Seaman Archie Dong, who selflessly threw himself in front of his commanding officer on HMS Incredible to block an attack by a flying cod, which had leaped from the sea on a suicide mission. The unfortunate fish was subsequently beaten to death with an oar. A cease fire was eventually called after an unfortunate incident in which the captain of HMS Redundant depth charged a shoal of neutral halibut by mistake.



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