You’re A True Vulgarian Aren’t You?
Swearing? SIAN DOLDING couldn’t give a f***ing s**t!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has, on returning to Durham, been chastised for their colourful use of the English language on calls home. It just slips out, I can’t help it ok? You see I was brought up in a strictly “no swears” household, operating under the mantra that swearing is just “empty words” betraying a feeble vocabulary, inarticulacy and above all a laughable lack of class. But this never sat quite right with me; after all, there is great power within a well-executed expletive.
I remember one day vividly on the walk home from school announcing to mum that “Becky called Lizzie a little c**t at school today” followed by the inevitable “what exactly is a c**t Mummy?” (by all accounts it really was a lovely primary school though). The shock and revulsion on my poor mother’s face confirmed it to my young self: swearing was very very wrong. But as time has gone on and I have immersed myself in the works of Tarantino and the more dry, refined wit of Hitchens, Dylan Moran et al., I am unashamed to say that if it is wrong then I don’t wanna be right. I have been persuaded to the dark side.
As students I think we also have a lot of cause for swearing; life in Durham, and I’m sure many other universities, can often descend into the realm of the ridiculous. I think “f**k my life” has been my catchphrase for most of my time here in Durham. In second year, or “the end of days” as I like to fondly recall it, I vehemently despised my course at times and my vocabulary showed it. I still have a piece of paper on which I doodled the words “I hate this f**king module” over three hundred times from a particularly useful seminar I once attended. Swearing can sometimes get you through these things, and if nothing else, when I’m at my lowest ebb, I can have a look at that A4 slice of delightand remind myself that things could be worse.
Like it or not, swearing is one of the pillars of communication; it signifies outrage, pain, shock and good old antipathy like nothing else and has actually been scientifically linked to pain management. But does it have a place on prime-time telly? Probably not. This week X-Factor has come under fire from Ofcom with complaints about swearing and general bad behaviour from contestant Frankie Cocozza who has since been asked to leave the show. Well shame on you Ofcom! I say think bigger! If complaints got Wossy and Brand’s radio show axed then surely we can give X-Factor a dose of the same medicine? You had your window OfCom and you blew it.
So, with pre-watershed an evident no go we must look to the movies for our expletive know- how. And thank god for that, if my children were learning how to swear from someone like Frankie Cocozza I’d have to sit them down and force-feed them episodes of In the Thick of it whilst laughing demonically and crying “That’ll learn em’!”. If you’re going to swear, and we all do, then you’ve got to learn how to do it properly. I can’t be the only person incapable of trusting those who cry out “sugar!” instead of a good old “f**k!”. You’re probably not human.
With that in mind here are some of my all-time favourite swears from the movies:
1. “I’m a mushroom cloud laying motherf***er, motherf***er!” Pulp Fiction
2. “Well If it isn't Humpty Numpty sitting on top of a collapsing wall like some clueless egg… c**t.”- In The Loop
3. “It's s***e being Scottish! We're the lowest of the low. The scum of the f*****g Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever s**t into civilization. Some hate the English. I don't. They're just w*****s. We, on the other hand, are COLONIZED by w*****s. Can't even find a decent culture to be colonized by. We're ruled by effete assholes. It's a s***e state of affairs to be in.”- Trainspotting
4. “I feel like a pig s**t in my head”/”You can stuff it up your arse for nothing and f**k off while you’re doing it”- Withnail & I
5. “Oh! F**k-w**k-bugger-s****ing-arse-head and hole”- Love Actually
6. “Come the f**k on Bridget!”- Bridget Jones’ Diary
7. “Yeah! F**k mini Babybel!”- 4 Lions
8. “He couldn't give a f**k about nothing except rockin' and rollin', living fast, dying young and leaving a good-looking corpse”- True Romance
9. “In this grave hour, f**k f**k f**k, perhaps the most fateful in our history, bugger s**t s**t”- The King’s Speech
10. "How very interesting. You're a true vulgarian, aren't you?"/"You're the vulgarian, you f**k."- A Fish Called Wanda
As the great, and undeniably eloquent Stephen Fry stated: "The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or of a lack of verbal interest is just f**king lunatic," he says. "Or they say, ‘it's not necessary’. As if that should stop one doing it. Things not being necessary is what makes life interesting." That’s a philosophy I’ll happily swear by.