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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

psycomment.jpg What I did on my holiday

This column brought to you by Silly Season Stories (“Got spare column inches? We’ll fill ‘em.”)

The amount of stuff that people carry on to aircraft as “hand luggage” never ceases to amaze me. Every time I climb aboard I’m assaulted by teetering dolts in the aisle trying to heave stupidly massive cases into the above-head hold like some demented version of The World’s Strongest, But Most Annoying, Man. It’s a wonder that any plane – laden down with Piz Buin and duty free gin - can trundle down the runway, never mind get off the ground.

This year my holiday hand luggage was the same as usual: a newspaper. On my return journey, however, I became one of those wretched beasts of burden myself, banging several annoyed passengers across the head with an oversized bag that contained just one item: a large effigy of Psy – the Korean pop-star responsible for 2012’s most ubiquitous hit, Gangnam Style. By any standards this lump of plastic is a particularly prime example of “muck and tat” – unauthorised rubbish designed to appeal to children or idiots. When you flick a switch on its back (or give it a knock) it plays a tinny chorus of Gangnam Style on repeat, while jerking around in a rough approximation of Psy’s jockey-without-a-horse dance. You can buy them for about a fiver. I paid 40-odd quid for it.

I purchased him from one of those blokes you see on holiday wandering around pubs flogging gaudy sunglasses, fake Ralph Lauren t-shirts and novelty junk. Guidebooks tell you to barter on holiday (“people expect it – and it’s fun”) but I hate it with a passion: all that to-ing and fro-ing and for what? A couple of quid off something you don’t really want. I usually give these hawkers a wide berth but on this occasion I fancied giving bartering a go - but on my own drunken terms; terms that involved driving the price up rather than down. I beckoned a likely lad over who placed a Psy on my table, exclaiming, “15 Euros – very good price.” I haggled him down to five, before venturing, “Actually, I’ll give you 10.” “10! Ok!” he replied. Not finished I upped the ante to 20 before adding with a final flourish as I pulled out my wallet, “40! And that, my friend, is my final offer.” He took it.

Psy spent the rest of the holiday beaming inanely at me from a bedside table, but after such an unwarranted financial outlay I resigned myself to getting him home.

I’m not a good flier at the best of times and on the return journey we hit a really rough patch. “Oh God, here we go,” I thought, but my sweat glands really went into overdrive when the unmistakeable sounds of “Heeeey! Sexy Lady!” filled the cabin from the overhead locker. The turbulence had set my Korean chum off but, with every passenger glaring around trying to ascertain from whence this unspeakable racket came, I had to remain seated for the longest, most excruciating, five minutes of my life until the “Seatbelt Off” sign flashed up and I could silence his berserk ravings.

He now resides in my pantry where I pass him off to visitors as a minor Koons…