Amidst all the talk of Whales in Westminster these last days, nobody has seen fit to present a potted history of other marine visitors to the capital in years gone by. The job, once again, falls to me; the man with his fishfinger on the pulse.
Who can forget the notorious ’sea cucumber in a tube station’ crisis of 1970?
‘Little squidge’, as the Cockerney Chronicle dubbed him, was unfortuately squished when he failed to mind the gap. This may be because his mind was quite small – being a sea creature of diminutive proportion and limited evolutionary sophistication. A memorial plaque was placed on the wall of the tube station. It was recently upgraded to a chocolate machine [ not working ].
1983 saw a giant squid landing on the roof of Buckingham Palace during the Octopussy promotional campaign. An incompetent James Bond lackey had pressed the release button too early and the squid – destined originally for the Thames – splattered onto the roof of Her Majesty’s secret servants quarters. She was not amused. The squid was scraped off, placed in a selection of tupperware containers and frozen for later use as organic corgy snackettes. Never one to waste money is our Brenda.
Of course, the most recent fishy fandango in London’s fair city was the so called, ‘Holy Haddock of Harrods’ incident in early 1998. Just a few months after the tragic demise of The Princess of Hearts and her companion, a large memorial haddock had been placed in the window of the famous emporium to focus the attention of passers by. The haddock, as many will know, is an ancient symbol of love; very popular in royal circles as an aphrodisiac. Whilst a controversial choice in these particular circumstances, few expected much trouble aside from the usual screaming headlines in the News of the Screws, ‘Diana in Fish Tribute Nightmare’ etc. It was not until a passing nun noticed that the giant fish had begun to weep that hordes of devout pilgrims began to assemble in front of the shop on their knees, gnashing their teeth and flagellating themselves with bunches of cut price cut flowers from the nearby Shell Garage, all overcome with grief. Of course, the authorities hushed it up. It was claimed that Prince Philip personally ordered the haddock to be lasered late at night in an effort to quell the growing hysteria surrounding the lachrymosal lamentations. Nobody knows exactly what became of it. Only one thing is clear, like so many marine misadventures it all ended in tears.
Apparently, acupuncture deactivates the brain. Suddenly it all becomes clear.