SLR’s London Diary: Gammons on Xmas menu – except for JC Juncker

LONDON — Another brilliant rendition from Simon Lincoln Reader who kicks off with the suddenly famous island in the Bay of Bengal (with a murder worthy of Agatha’s attention, bless her) and keeps rolling from there. His elegant writing has notched up a few gears since he started this superb missive from the centre of the financial world. Savour each sentence. I do. – Alec Hogg   

By Simon Lincoln Reader*


The North Sentinelese tribe had experience of westerners before the slaughter of that not-entirely-sane missionary. One harrowing encounter was the shipwrecking of the Primrose, carrying chicken feed, in 1981. All crew were rescued but the the bow of the Primrose is still visible by satellite on the north eastern shore of the island located in the Andaman Sea.

North Sentinel Shipwreck

But before that an English naval officer called Maurice Vidal Portman led a raid on North Sentinel in 1880 and kidnapped a few islanders. It is alleged that Maurice was something of a nonce, and obsessed over his victim’s genitalia, documenting it meticulously, possibly upon instruction from, or for the benefit of, his nonce friends back in London. After Maurice had nonced them to kingdom come, members of the tribe were returned to the island, understandably a bit cross about the whole thing, at which point the chopping-up of prospective trespassers was probably legislated by council elders.


My word of 2018: ‘gammon’. In its pejorative deployment, a gammon is a bald, 50 or 60-something middle Englander, self-employed or retired, who voted to leave the European Union and who you can observe sitting in the audience of most BBC Question Time episodes. Just as some mandatory left-wing panelist starts complaining that not enough free stuff is being given to young men of Middle Eastern extraction who so desire to boil Christians, so do blood pressures rise, turning faces pink –  the gathered to resemble a cascading field of Siamese-twin hams.

Sadly, some gammons have taken offence, describing the ‘slur’ as ‘classist’. This is a mistake, for they are now aping the very hyper-sensitivity of today’s modern left that we continue to delight in satirising. Some have even protested to the hurty-feely monitors at Twitter – the kind of people who conjured up the word in the first place, with the express objective of distributing it as widely as possible.


The Department of Hurty-Feelies at Twitter has declared that ‘deadnaming’ someone is punishable by a permanent ban. Basically if you refer to Mervyn as Mervyn when he she insists on being called Sharon – you’re out. You might even have the law pop round too.

Gammons must remember that it was the squealing of offence that established social media’s neurotic ‘community standards’, that led to reducing once reasonable correspondence into disguises and ad hominem insults and now appears to be fronting up to actual science. So instead they should applaud the modern left: who would have thought people practising wholesale hypocrisy, selective history and suspect hygiene could emerge with such a marvellous literary invention?


Jimmy Manyi was characteristically hostile at the Zondo Commission this week. Whilst jostling with evidence leader Vincent Maleka SC, Jimmy made a whopping claim: the reason why The New Age shut down was because it had started reporting on white collar crime.

Mzwanele Manyi
Manyi’s Story. More of Zapiro’s brilliant work available at

I can’t recall a single story The New Age exposed, for example, about the Stellenbosch gangsters and their ponzi schemes – besides the spluttering conspiracies featuring the Rupert family. Admittedly these remarkable news items could have been concealed amongst the raft of government ad spend, but respectfully I think Jimmy had confused Markus Jooste with a pie-stealing cat, wearing a stocking over its whiskers, that was terrorizing the Engen garage staff on Grayston Drive late at night. This was exactly the type of public interest investigation that the crack squad of Gupta journalists excelled at.


Apparently there is a disease called ‘Sciatica’, and it makes you a) stink of cognac b) walk into walls c) slur and / or drool and d) kiss men more than what would be considered good form, even by Brussels’ standards. It was confirmed earlier in the year that the President of the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker, has been diagnosed with ‘Sciatica’. Recently, whilst sharing a stage with Cyril Ramaphosa and in full view of the cameras, Jean-Claude revealed the extent of his condition: a brown shoe on one foot and a black one on the other. We wish him a speedy recovery.

On that note, someone has been distributing footage of Jean-Claude’s friend Guy Verhoefstadt going absolutely mental in the EU Parliament, effing and blinding that European nation states are not transferring enough sovereignty to the EU. There’s always the question of context, but I think what Guy was basically saying: “F****** gammons! Gammon-ing around like nobody’s f****** business in their appreciation of democratic values! Burn all gammons everywhere now, especially English ones, but not before the next tax round, ‘cos then I can purchase a second villa in the Tuscan countryside.” Gammons might compromise for a grass shack on an isolated island in the Andaman Sea.

  • Simon Lincoln Reader lives in London.