Monday, 19 April 2010

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Sir or Madam

I am taking a moment from my busy schedule of needlepoint, deportment classes, quadrille practice and conversational 17th Century French to firmly suggest that I have had enough disgruntlement in my life this year and therefore feel I am deserving of a Disgruntlement Pass for the rest of 2010.

I hardly think this is too much to ask.

Whilst I am making demands, I'd also like the word 'scum' to be added to the list of words due to be rehabilitated this decade. I know you are planning a public awareness campaign about the name Adolf. You say it has been the recipient of general opprobrium for over seventy years and if we are not going to drown in Jacks, Connors, Joes and Harrys, then we need to spread our nominal net a little wider.

Fine. There is nothing wrong with the name Agnes either, so rehabilitate her whilst you're at it.

But back to scum. Apparently, I cleverly - and regularly - achieve the status of both middle class and scum. I never put roquette on my open sandwiches (closed sandwiches are infra dig), nor do I have a 'Weekly', nor do I sponsor a one-legged seamstress in Papua New Guinea - and crow about it - so I fail to see how I am in any way middle class.

I am not well-bred enough for Upper Class. (Father was in Trade.) I haven't found a satisfactory term for the - hmm - little girls' room (twee!), lav (common!), washroom (I want a pee not a wash!), and I'm never sure whether I should say napkin or serviette. Though I do use proper cotton handkerchiefs. All things considered, perhaps we could focus less on class and more on scum ...?

I wish to reclaim the word scum. I want it redefining. In fact, I shall personally redefine it. For am I not fragrant? Do I not float like the lightest of thistledown, dancing in the gentlest of Zephyrs?

Well, I'll grant you a less thistledown-like woman you are unlikely to meet, but I am fragrant. I currently smell of Ginger & Nutmeg, an expensive cologne from a chic emporium with haughty saleswomen where I dithered and shilly-shallied about the purchase for months; spraying it on my wrists, wandering off through the cobbled streets of Deva Victrix, sniffing, getting other people - often strangers - to sniff me. How foolish I was to be so cautious! It is a daily delight to smell like a steamed pudding.

Scum is the scent of sticky, stodgy desserts. Scum is the throwing-caution-to-the-winds purchase of reckless (some might call it cavalier) sofas. Scum is the art of making men in uniform giggle unexpectedly. Scum is an unseemly devotion to ones virtual fish. Scum is not buying the spray paint (with which you plan to deface several unsightly political billboard posters) on your debit card in case the unique chemical identifier in the paint is traced to the store, CCTV cameras and, eventually (due to the pigeon chest and dragging left leg) to oneself.

Scum is - quite clearly - delicious. I am proud to be scum!

So, if you could put your considerable all into reclaiming it - phone grumpy old Rupert, Paul, Jeremy and Nick and get them onside - I foresee a happy and satisfactory resolution for us all.

Yours in anticipation,


P.S. I enclose an S.A.E. (1st Class) for the prompt dispatch of the Disgruntlement Pass. Merci.


  1. I want to be a scum, too! Is there somewhere to sign up?

  2. I'd have responded sooner but I'm trying to rise above it all. (Scum always rises). Also, I was watching Scum Dine With Me.
    But I shall scum over to the water on Wednesday to blow imaginary Arts Council Millions on a Wild Night with those Select Few who are still admitted to the Bistro. And I promise to be Completely Gruntled. xx

  3. You are an Original. Hope you get your badge and wear it proudly.

  4. @ Fran - Yes! Let's be scum together! We need a scum anthem which we chant at the end of each meeting.

    Bébé - Would you be so kind as to write us a Scum Anthem? (Not too many high notes).

    Deborah - Badge? I'm embroidering a tee-shirt. (Cross stitch seems appropriate.)