British Business Boneheadedness
Paris has Venus De Milo; Florence has Michelangelo’s David; New York has the Statue of Liberty; Copenhagen has the Little Mermaid; Brussels has Manneken Pis—a fat naked little boy proudly relieving himself in a fountain.
Now London is going Brussels one better by placing giant billboards throughout Belgium—in Antwerp, Brussels, Liege and Ghent. The image is a grown male skinhead in jeans—with a big red cross painted on his bare back—creating a great arching stream as he proudly relieves himself into a teacup atop a small, round Hepplewhite table a few feet away.
The purpose of the billboards is to promote Eurostar’s new high-speed train service between Belgium and London.
This bizarre campaign was unleashed the very week of the inaugural Eurostar service from London’s St Pancras Station, which has just undergone a $1.5 billion restoration. Among the features: upmarket shops, bars, restaurants, a world-class brasserie, plush waiting lounges, WiFi connections and the longest Champagne bar in Europe.
Only the Brits could equate what is now the most glamorous railroad destination in the world—officially opened last week in a lavish ceremony presided over by the Queen—to a skinhead urinating in a teacup.
Question #1: How does a Belgian parent explain this gross billboard to her seven-year-old daughter?
Question #2: Does not the image of a skinhead urinating into a teacup reflect badly on how Britain’s national drink tastes—as well as on those who made it famous: Tetley, Fortnum & Mason, Harrod’s, Sir Thomas Lipton, Taylors of Harrogate, Whittard of Chelsea, Williamson & Magor, Bentley’s, St. James and Twinings?
From where I sit, the Brits can be a brood of weird dudes.
Brit Book Publishers: Dumber Than Their American Counterparts
My two first jobs after getting out of the Army in 1960 were working in the publicity departments of two book publishers: Prentice-Hall and Franklin Watts, Inc. I was responsible for getting books reviewed—jollying up reviewers and radio talk show hosts in hopes they would give the authors and new titles some coverage.