Friday, March 25, 2005

Into the Heart of Darkness

An intrepid reporter at The Scotsman loiters with intent in The Land of Breaking Waters before pursuing hell's toothbrushes and slasher slides:

It is a rumour no well dressed expectant mother could afford to ignore: Harvey Nichols gives £500 gift vouchers to pregnant women who go into labour while shopping in the store.
As the news spread like wildfire through the nation’s ante natal classes and GP surgeries, heavily pregnant women began visiting the company’s Edinburgh store.
They were seen by shop assistants loitering around the floors with no apparent intention of buying the designer goods on offer, waiting for their waters to break...

Last night a spokesman for the company tried to pour cold water on the rumours. "We have first-aiders on site but they are not trained in childbirth and therefore this rumour is a concern to us..."
Fiona Kinnaird, Harvey Nichols’ sales manager, said she and her colleagues had been asked if the rumour was true.
"There was an occasion just before Christmas when I watched an expectant mother loiter around the store to the point I thought she was going to shoplift.
"Just before I approached her she came up to me and asked if it was true that pregnant mothers received £500 gift vouchers if they went into labour in the shop. I wasn’t sure so I told her to call head office. Since then I have noticed other heavily pregnant mothers-to-be hanging around the store."
The fictional urban tale - no sign of disappearing into the cultural abyss.
URBAN myths, in all their forms, show no sign of going away - they pop up and are reinvented even as quickly as people discount them.
The locations may alter but there are recurring themes such as love, revenge, weddings and swimming pools.
One of the most popular worldwide myths at the moment, which comes loosely under the heading of "travel" concerns a British/American/Dutch family forced to camp next to a group of Hell’s Angels in Spain/France/California after they arrive late at night and find their usual campsite is fully booked.
A couple of Hell’s Angels are seen running from the family’s tent, but nothing is missing. But when they get home and develop their holiday photographs the family are horrified to see photographs of the Hell’s Angels posing with the family’s tooth brushes positioned up their bottoms.
One doing the rounds of the internet is a "revocation" of American independence by the British Crown, containing such gems as "There is no such thing as ‘US English’. We’ll let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’..."
Swimming pools myths include the "warnings" passed from one worried swimmer to the next that to use the now defunct flumes at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh may be the last thing they do. The local myth goes that youths had crept in and hidden razor blades in the chutes meaning that potential users would be consequently cut to ribbons.
Tamer variations included the "fact" that friction from the flumes were capable of ripping off swimwear leaving those daring enough to use them naked.