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By John Helmer, Moscow

How can the English retain their sense of humour, let alone make war on Russia, when their country – I mean England, not Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, or Ulster – is the laughingstock of the world?

The answer is not to receive the message. That’s Roger for Receive — military radio jargon since the last world war.  Also, Roger, the older English term for men having rough sexual intercourse, which was brought to England by the last foreign invaders to succeed, the Normans wielding what in their language originally meant a sharp spear.

There is a lot of rogering in the second sense in John Mortimer’s autobiography of himself as an old gentleman with failing, if not exhausted powers. Mortimer was an English barrister, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, and inventor of Rumpole of the Bailey, the only lawyer in world history to be loved by millions of people.  Mortimer’s rule for comic writing was Conspicuous Consummation – that’s the display of such sexual prowess that can combine hand relief in fact with comic relief in fiction.

Mortimer died in 2009, so he can’t test his rule himself on the recent history of England at war with Russia  which began with the Novichok fiction of March 2018 and the appointment this week of a new foreign minister called Cleverly in fact. We can.

Mortimer didn’t know much about Russia, though his daughter had studied there, he reports, to become fluent in the language and to have sex with a Moscow poet. He himself, a keen reader of Chekhov, says  he was once invited by a photographer to take off his clothes for an exhibition in St Petersburg of celebrities in the nude. He refused despite being assured that “it will only be seen in Saint Petersburg so you needn’t worry” (cue laugh line). Mortimer offered his wife instead. She agreed after being “reassured she will only be on view in Saint Petersburg.” He proposed, and she and the photographer agreed, that the Russians would be treated to Mrs Mortimer wearing rubber boots and feeding chickens in their coop carrying a bucket of kitchen scraps.

Lubriciousness is the character of Mortimer’s very frequent, not to say obsessive interest in the sexual potential of himself and then of almost every individual Mortimer says he has met, or place he has  visited, or celebrities he’s eaten with, whose names he likes to drop and gossip about.  The success of Mortimer’s Rule of Conspicuous Consummation is that while laughing at the comedy of the set-up and the dialogue, you forget to question whether he gets his relief in the end, off stage if not on it. When you look at photographs of Mortimer moving through his life, this is a question you might ask, except that the laughter he causes is the real consummation; the climax,  true or faked,  doesn’t matter.

John Mortimer in 1960, 1973, 1978, and 2003     

Other people, especially celebrities Mortimer admits not to have known personally, are turned into the butt of his joking for their sexual insufficiencies. Frank Sinatra, for example, caused an English woman of Mortimer’s acquaintance to burst into uncontrollable laughter,  cancelling their intercourse, because he came out of the bathroom wearing “braces on his socks”.

 “I suppose the lesson of this,” Mortimer advises his readers, “is that unless you have entirely abandoned hope, and however fashionable they were when you were young, give up the sock suspenders”. In case Mortimer encountered  you at one of his many book signings, he wanted you to know that for you he hadn’t entirely abandoned hope,  and accordingly that he didn’t wear suspenders on his socks.

His joking about the French is more serious. Napoleon’s penis Mortimer reports from a trusted acquaintance who claims to have seen it in a New York museum, turns out to be “long and leathery”. How long by the French or by the English standard doesn’t arouse Mortimer’s curiosity. In fact, all the available evidence indicates that it was so small – 5 centimetres – to other eyewitnesses  it looked like a “maltreated strip of buckskin shoelace” and a “shrivelled eel”.  

Mortimer says: “I can’t feel that many men would like to have their pickled penises displayed at the opening of a musical; but perhaps that’s what the army he deserted in the snows of Russia would have wanted for Bonaparte”. Mortimer didn’t give a thought, or a punch line, for what the Russians thought. They are much too primitive,  he has reported,  after a local doctor of his acquaintance began importing black boxes from Russia for treating eczema and other skin and joint maladies. “The theory is very like acupuncture but as the Russians are short of clean or reliable needles [laugh cue], a succession of small electric shocks emitted from the black box take their place.”

Mortimer was persuaded by two young English women, he says, to take a course of the Russian black box cure for the chronic ulcers on his legs. He remembers the women —  “heavenly twins…dressed in white clothing, some of it floating, other bits clinging tightly to them”.  In passing, he has also recorded the Russian treatment produced “distinct signs of healing which is extremely disconcerting.”

Mortimer appears not to have known, and therefore not to have been extremely disconcerted that the two most famous pickled Russian penises are very long indeed – those of Peter the Great at 28 cms in length,  8 cm in circumference;  and of Rasputin, 30.5 cms. The average Englishman’s penis is much shorter, according to London newspaper reports this month,  though at least it is longer than the French Emperor’s.

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/

There is no telling about Foreign Secretary James Cleverly — except his full-frontal display for the Kiev regime.

Cleverly is fortunate that his political calculation at home has been forgiven. First appointed Foreign Secretary by ex-Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss on September 6, on Sunday last Cleverly tweeted the following announcement: “I know Boris [Johnson] has learned lessons from his time in No10 and will ensure the focus is on the needs of the country from day 1. I will be supporting him to return to the role of PM.”  

It isn’t likely that Cleverly will take the Russian black box cure. Nor that Cleverly’s staff have packed the red despatch box with this intelligence alert from Mortimer’s last story. “No one should grow old who isn’t ready to appear ridiculous.”

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