This week I pon­der (Sc)eggsit, watch a prince go dad danc­ing and even en­joy a bit of arty TV

Sunday Herald - - 19.03.17 COMMENT - By Barry Did­cock

Eg­gsit­sten­tial angst

SO the First Min­is­ter and the Prime Min­is­ter have kicked off panto sea­son eight months early with their “Oh no you won’t!”/“Oh yes we will!” ref­er­en­dum rou­tine. Won­der­ful. That means the rest of us can sit back, en­joy the show, and lay bets on who’ll be in the red, white and blue pan­tomime horse that heads up the No cam­paign when, as seems likely, the Wicked Step­mother fi­nally says: “Oh … go on then!” But the wags and wagettes of the fifth and sixth es­tates (the on­line me­dia and its troll-be­dev­illed cousin, so­cial me­dia) have been busy won­der­ing what to ac­tu­ally call a po­ten­tial Scot­tish exit from the UK.

Scoxit? It sounds as hor­ri­ble spo­ken as it looks writ­ten down.

Scotch Eggsit? I’m quite par­tial to this tasty treat my­self, but as it was in­vented by posh Lon­don gro­cer Fort­num & Ma­son it’s hardly apt un­der the cir­cum­stances.

Scoot, a con­fla­tion of Scot­land and oot? Not bad.

Joxit? Care­ful. Don’t want to have to in­voke any EU laws on hate speech.

Per­son­ally, I’m in­creas­ingly view­ing in­de­pen­dence as more of an es­cape than an exit, in which case we ei­ther hold down our kilts to pre­serve our mod­esty and leg it in a Scle­git – or, for the bib­li­cally minded, pre­pare our­selves for a Scex­o­dus.

Ac­tu­ally that last one works best: I think Theresa May kind of fan­cies her­self as Pharaoh.

Hunger games deluxe

HARD to know whether to laugh or cry at the news that in the same week the world wakes up to the famine in So­ma­lia and South Su­dan, the girls of un­fea­si­bly posh Be­nen­den School go on a fast – a Phone Fast. Ei­ther way, tears are re­quired.

For three whole days, start­ing on Sun­day night and end­ing on Wed­nes­day, six­th­form­ers at the £34,000-a-year Kent school did with­out their rose gold iPhone 7s. That meant a whole 72 hours in which they couldn’t post pic­tures of them­selves on In­sta­gram or Face­book. Couldn’t check emails. Couldn’t What­sApp or Snapchat their chums at other ex­pen­sive public schools. Couldn’t watch cat videos. And couldn’t tweet about their in­abil­ity to do any of the above.

“I am ex­pect­ing our Phone Fast to cause dis­quiet among some stu­dents,” says head­mistress Sa­man­tha Price ahead of the trau­matic so­cial me­dia black­out. “But if just one girl de­cides to switch off her phone an hour be­fore they go to bed, then it will have been worth it.”

Be­nen­den alumni in­clude Princess Anne, ex-spy chief Eliza Man­ning­ham-Buller, and It Girl Lady Vic­to­ria Her­vey, who once said: “It’s so bad be­ing home­less in win­ter. They should go some­where warm like the Caribbean where they can eat fresh fish all day.” Not ex­actly rel­e­vant, but I thought you’d like to know.

Danc­ing with one’s self

PRINCESS Anne’s naughty nephew Prince Wil­liam has been get­ting a spank­ing of late. Not the sort that might be ad­min­is­tered to vis­it­ing busi­ness­men by those Rus­sian sex work­ers Vladimir Putin is so proud of, and not the sort that fel­low Old Eto­ni­ans of an ear­lier vin­tage might re­mem­ber fondly from their school­days. No, this is the ver­bal kind the Bri­tish tabloids like to de­liver from time to time, us­ing a head­line and a grainy smart­phone clip in place of a vel­vet-cov­ered ping-pong bat. First up, HRH PW was ac­cused of be­ing work­shy for hav­ing un­der­taken a mod­est 13 royal en­gage­ments so far this year. That’s com­pared to the 24 done by his 91-year-old granny, HRH QE, who’d much rather be at home watch­ing Crufts on the BBC’s red button ser­vice than open­ing su­per­mar­kets and com­mu­nity cen­tres. Even his brother HRH PH – try say­ing that af­ter a day on the piste – has clocked 17. And talk­ing of go­ing on the piste, an­other six of the best was de­liv­ered to the royal rear af­ter Wil­liam was filmed “dad danc­ing” at a night­club in Ver­bier, a ski re­sort he had flown off to for a lads’ trip away. This was early on Mon­day and within hours the footage had gone vi­ral. So now the world knows that on the same day the se­nior roy­als were at­tend­ing a Com­mon­wealth cer­e­mony at West­min­ster Abbey, Wil­liam was bust­ing moves to Lu­niz’s 1990s hip-hop hit I Got 5 On It. On his own. With a space round him. Like when there’s a drunk guy on the dance­floor and you steer clear in case he starts do­ing The He­li­copter.

Mind you, there may be a sil­ver lin­ing. Madonna is look­ing for new chore­og­ra­phers to work with and is ap­par­ently scour­ing the in­ter­net look­ing for them. Should she cast her net as wide as MailOn­line – and what right-think­ing celebrity wouldn’t? – she’ll see Prince Wil­liam shak­ing his stuff. Prospec­tive dance in­struc­tors will be flown out to New York to au­di­tion for her and he could be one of them. As he can ac­tu­ally fly a he­li­copter, he could get there un­der his own steam too. It might mean even fewer royal en­gage­ments, but it would at least give him gain­ful em­ploy­ment.

TV or not TV?

IN 1954, Amer­i­can ab­stract artist Ad Rein­hardt be­gan paint­ing black can­vases for peo­ple to hang on their walls. To­day, his works sell for up to £1.6 mil­lion. That’s a bit pricey for most peo­ple. But for a frac­tion of the sum – around £400 – you can buy some­thing al­most iden­ti­cal. It’s called a flat-screen, wall-mounted TV set and as long as you keep it turned off, it will look just like one of Rein­hardt’s works and every­body will be fooled into think­ing you’re an aes­thete with rar­efied tastes in art rather than a gadget nerd with a ridicu­lously over­sized telly Rawlplugged into your plas­ter­work.

If ab­stract paint­ing isn’t to your taste, your TV can now be used to make visi­tors think you have all kinds of other works of art hang­ing in the liv­ing room. That’s thanks to a new box from Sam­sung called The Frame, which has an art mode with 100 pre-sets of paint­ings to choose from. Not sure if Ed­vard Munch’s The Scream is one of them, but if it isn’t it should be. Truly, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy is a bless­ing in these trou­bled and try­ing times.

Left: Get one of those tel­lies with the spe­cial art mode that makes you look like you own a Van Gogh. Above: the Scotch egg, that quin­tes­sen­tial English pic­nic sta­ple

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