England Return and Buckfast Tonic Wine   1 comment

Man Belong Mrs Queen cover

We Prodigals returned to England and the flight from America was arduous with some of the worst turbulence I have ever experienced. We had wine with the food on the plane but could neither eat nor drink trying to keep the contents on the trays or in the glasses (or, more to the point, off our clothing). I skimmed a book, Man Belong Mrs Queen, about these Pacific islanders that believe that our Prince Philip is a deity, a prophet, the Messiah.

I have to give this a close read because the writer is hilarious and the details of the Cult of Philip and the pidgin English its practitioners speak are compelling. The Cult itself is similar to the Cargo Cults wherein pirates and merchant seamen become as gods for appearing with food and clothing and magic sticks that kill from a distance. One of these is the Cult of John Frum, so-called because the fellow introduced himself as John from America.

They have an ancient story about a spirit made flesh and bone who travels far, marries a powerful woman, and would eventually return to the islands permanently. They believe that Phillip must be this man because the western officials showed obeisance to the Queen and since Phillip wasn’t from any of the other places they had ever heard of then he must be from there. It’s hard to argue with such iron-clad logic.

The pidgin they speak is great fun, too. “Belong” is used to denote an intimate connection between the two things, hence the title and, later, a reference to “rubba belong fuk-fuk.” “Wanem” means “what name” for translation purposes, and “olsem” for “all the same” is how you say “like.”


Buckfast wine


I returned to work the next day and was presented a gift from Devon where one of my bosses had taken his research group on an Away Day (where most of the day is set aside for brainstorming the next year’s research). Near enough to the Buckfast Monastery to hit the gift shop, he picked up a flask of the monks’ brew, a potent blend of strong wine, herbs, and similar levels of caffeine as in a cup of coffee. Buckfast Tonic Wine is known far and wide by a certain class or sub-class of people for its especially intoxicating powers.

The label is a hoot, not least because the funny bits are almost certainly regulatory. The Health and Safety Directorate almost certainly insisted on the disclaimer that it has no medicinal use. The stuff is almost always under threat of banning due to the violence purported to be done under its influence so the back label admonition to “Enjoy Responsibly,” is almost zen-like in its unfathomability.


Buckfast back label


The Cult of Buckie is largely populated by Weegies, who, like the Phillipian Cult, speak an almost indecipherable language vaguely akin to English. I haven’t tried the stuff, yet, but would not be surprised if it made me talk olsem dan dem island mans. We’ll see what happens; first I need to put on my kicking boots, though.


One response to “England Return and Buckfast Tonic Wine

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  1. Pingback: Swindon Half Buckiethon | The Endless British Pub Crawl continues...

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