Tuesday 21 April 2009

Whose balls? A Carry On

Balls of Stress

About 15 years ago, a friend gave me a box of Chinese Stress Balls which made jingling sounds as you rolled them around in your hands.

Somehow, when I have brought the balls out at work which for all sorts of reasons can be atmospherically stressful, people have allowed themselves the liberty of double entendre bordering on the lewd and not far off from smut.

The best form of stress relief might be to be able to land a ball square on the forehead of an obnoxious colleague and take the glee of a good hit, well, we are all civilised now and that would be unacceptable – I am not a violent man.

However, talk and exchanges seem to end up in some sort of communal stress relief where political correctness is abandoned for a while as laughter or red faces result from inadvertent commentary.

As I walked into an office that had a colleague I had worked with years before, he said, “Akin, you’ve had those balls a long time.” I was surprised when I replied, everyman has balls for a lifetime to which another retorted, “but not everyman plays with them as gingerly as that.”

I was speechless as laughter ensued.

Carry on the balls

However, the best sound of balls I have heard in fact comes from Carry On, Columbus [1] where the European wayfarers on getting to the Carribean shores tugged at the golden earrings of the chief in exchange for dull European tat.

The chief was not amused as he derided their effrontery with a very condescending – Balls!

Much as I enjoyed watching the Carry On [2] genre which today is fashionably Non-PC, it represented light-hearted English comedy infused with shocking double entendre, parody, puns and slap-stick.

Last week, the eponymous producer of the genre that comprised a collection of 30 films died at 95, he at one time was the mainstay of British film industry.

Mr. Peter Rogers [3], was almost parsimonious to a fault as his low budget films indicated that actors were poorly paid, but if any of the actors did need a springboard for their careers, there was no doubt that they had opportunity if they so desired.

He did say he would “do anything for my actors except pay them”. As he offered low salaries for a share of the profits that the actors' agents unwisely declined, he treated himself to a new Rolls-Royce every year – shrewd, I say and proof that the genre did sell.

Without balls to speak your mind

Now, we are in the age of enlightenment, but through the 70s and 80s Nigerian television was flooded with dastardly but entertaining English humour that would hardly pass the censorious and easily offended today as Mind Your Language [4], Love Thy Neighbour [5], Rising Damp [6], Mixed Blessings [7] and The Many Wives of Patrick [8].

I enjoyed watching all of them as they were quite well written and nothing compared to the outrageous smut that considers high shock factor as humour – I cannot stand The Office or Little Britain, they are for me, just impossible to watch without making me cringe – they will not be referenced here, Oh! No!

Anyway, gone are those days when humour could excite your imagination, but now that the producer is dead, I would not be surprised if there were a Carry On revival with some young producer and director giving it the title – Carry On Stiff, depending on if it were dead or aroused.


[1] Carry On Columbus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[2] Carry On (series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[3] Peter Rogers - Telegraph

[4] Mind Your Language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[5] Love Thy Neighbour - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[6] Rising Damp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[7] BFI Screenonline: Mixed Blessings (1978-80)

[8] The Many Wives Of Patrick (Summary)

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