Another Curse on Scurveyshire! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CDVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Nothing happened in the preceding three chapters, so I have left them out. If you want them, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope and a check for $340.99.”

And so, in Chapter CDVIII, with Lady Margo Cargo still under the impression that the plate of ancient runes she found with her metal detector is a prehistoric recipe for Store Brand Corn Flakes, and trying to make them in her lavishly-appointed kitchen, we have an entirely different translation by Johnno the Merry Minstrel–one which reveals that a terrible curse will fall on all of Scurveyshire if anyone digs up the plate and removes it from the ground.

The very day that Lady Margo brought the plate home, a man named Scupper twisted his ankle trying to roller-skate down the sloping roof of his cottage.

“It begins!” says Johnno.

Meanwhile the corn flakes are not going at all well, which is only to be expected, given that Lady Margo’s translation is 100 percent wrong.

“Some of these ingredients seem altogether ridiculous,” she complains to her crusty old butler, Crusty. “Earth from the grave of of a shogun, for instance–they don’t have it in the store! I don’t think we’ve ever had a shogun in Scurveyshire.”

“When I was a boy,” says Crusty, “we had a neighbor who said he was a shogun. He could never find a job.”

Johnno warns Lord Jeremy Coldsore that everyone in Scurveyshire is now at risk. Lord Jeremy feels somewhat put-upon. “What am I supposed to do about it?” he cries. Johnno’s eloquent shrug is worth a thousand words (“None of them printable!” Violet adds).

Here we break the chapter because of exciting news.

“Roller derby is coming to Scurveyshire!” Ms Crepuscular exults. What with television not having been invented yet, it’s truly a red-letter day.

 

Memory Lane: Roller Derby

I am aware that roller derby still exists; that indeed it has staged a sort of comeback worldwide, albeit mostly at an amateur level.

Roller Derby and TV grew up together. The first roller derby broadcast was in 1948. It blossomed into a huge hit and a cultural phenomenon. This is hard to explain. The clip will give you some idea of the sublime awfulness of 1950s roller derby. I think the hook was the display of “un-ladylike behavior” at a time when women were expected to be “ladies.” Please don’t ask me to define those terms. I’m just sayin’ I think the contrast was a big selling point for roller derby.

At a friend’s house, his mother and aunt watched roller derby every chance they got, well into the Sixties (even though it had already faded severely and was going quickly out of style). No matter how many times I was exposed to it, the rules of roller derby remained a mystery to me; nor was I ever able to perceive the object of the game. It just looked like a lot of bodies flying around, plus some fisticuffs.

TV survived, but roller derby shrank almost into oblivion–I think because oafish, churlish behavior has become practically an expectation for both men and women. Roller derby can’t compete with an Antifa riot.

For ugliness to have any value, there has to be beauty present, too.