Growing up in Norn Iron during the 60/70’s wasn’t all bombs and bullets, we liked to tell jokes and have fun as well. In the city of Londonderry there are two infamous areas, one called The Waterside and the other The Bogside. These areas are indeed near water, there is a large river leading out into Lough Foyle and the west side of the city was originally a bog, so I suppose in the 1500’s when the names came into common usage then it seemed logical to call one area ‘Waterside’ and the other side ‘Bogside’. However, in modern times the meaning of these names have changed, everyone in Norn Iron will know that ‘bog’ is slang for toilet, so ‘he’s in the bog’ means he’s in the shitter with a newspaper and woe be’tide anyone who disturbs him or you’ll get whooped with said rolled up newspaper’ and well, you can probably work out what the waterside is..
I was reminded about these names the other week when I watched the opening ceremony of the winter Olympics, (congrats BTW to Canada on both the woman’s and men’s ice hockey!). I was in a very crowded pub and when the four totem poles slowly revealed themselves out of the ground and then slowly became erect before the whole world, we all fell about on the floor laughing, it did look, to all intensive proposes, like four large circumcised pricks slowly rising up for the world to admire and I’d wondered had someone switched the channel over to some Pagan Ritual on the Playboy Channel.
So one would think that, as much as it was politically correct in celebrating the native Canadian culture, someone, at least someone, would have stepped up and said “Whoops, hang on guys, is it just me, or does that just look like four pricks coming out’a the ground…? And in the same way, one would think that at some stage, even last century, that the good folk of Derry would have said ‘hang on a minute, is it just me or do we live in an area collectively described as a toilet..?’
Being very PC is laudable etc but not at the expense of everyone else having a good laugh at you and you’d think that surely some of the good folk of Londonderry would have suggested a name change amongst all the sniggers.
There was a infamous joke in Norn Iron in the 80’s which we all knew and sniggered about in much the same way as everyone sniggered about Monica Lewinsky jokes. I should preface this for non-Norn Iron readers, the Rev. Ian Paisley is very right wing Protestant firebrand and Bernadette Devlin was his opposite, a very left wing Republican firebrand, polar opposites, during the 80’s there was no love lost between them.. The joke goes “Ian Paisley is in bed with Bernadette Devlin and she turns her back on him. He grumbles and taps her on the shoulder and says ‘Hey Bernadette, turn around, I want the Waterside, NOT the Bogside..”
Anyone from Norn Iron will laugh at that, no matter what side of the secretarial divide they are on because it works on so many different levels, not only would the thought of Ian and Bernadette being in the same bed shagging gross us out but the Bogside was indeed the Republican side and the Waterside was the predominately Unionist side so that fits their politically beliefs and even worse is that Ian was a Protestant minister so the missionary position would have been his ermm position of choice..
There… I’m sure that’s offended just about everyone 🙂