“We’re not allowed to talk about it”, the old woman howled. “Why don’t they put gollywogs on jam jars anymore?”
I stared in disbelief at the ignoramus sat opposite.
“You used to be able to get dolls, I had a whole collection when I was a kid.”. I began to imagine the cotton-stuffed gollywogs arranged around a tiny table, eating imaginary scones and drinking imaginary tea beneath the swastika tapestry adorning her wall.
“It wasn’t racist back then” she fired back, in anticipation of my pinko response. A clear cut case of Racists’ Denial.
I considered asking her at what point racism spontaneously popped into existence, but decided against it. I was outnumbered in this office, and I didn’t fancy another meeting with my manager. I retreated into the algorithms.
I scrolled my thoughts away, zoning out the xenophobic mouth-foamers. Then I saw him, the Roy “Chubby” Brown tribute act. staring back at with me, mouth agape, in his brightly coloured coat and aviator goggles.
I gazed for a moment, unconsciously trying to make sense of what I was looking at, the feeling when you see something but don’t notice it until it suddenly appears in your mind days, later. Finally, the cogs ticked over in my skull with a rusted clunk. Roy “Chubby” Brown has been notably absent, although I had been unaware of the notability until now. In the twilight years of the old world, “Chubby” had been ubiquitous among my kind. Thick-necked men with Woodpecker cider in their blood idolised him, their foul-mouthed Messiah.
“Chubby” is to blame for this, for all of it, I see it now. His presence loomed large over the country. People think it was the Kippers, which it was to an extent, but they did not appear into a vacuum. The seeds were sown for their gradual rise a generation earlier, in the living rooms and music halls of provincial England.
In the old days, he was ever present, despite his reputation for being “too hot for TV”.”Chubby” always told it like it was, eloquating what they imagined. “It” was indefinable, but had something to do the fucking queers. And the wogs. “Chubby” spoke his forbidden words and the men would gleefully imbibe his bile. The children laughed along with their parents, treating “Chubby” as an encyclopedia of hate, repeating his gags at school, out of earshot of the teachers. Twenty years later, these children would take their formative experiences into the polling station.
With the support of “Chubby’s” acolytes, the Kippers drove the foreigners from the land, creating their land of milk and honey and tea and jam and crumpets for ever and ever and ever. First they came for the yeast extracts, then it was the retired footballers. The gollywogs were back on jam jars by the end of the week.