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Laurence Inman’s Blog

GIRL TROUBLE

19-02-2009

Obama inauguration

Skating effortlessly from Obama’s inauguration to the trouble with daughters – yes, it’s our weekly fix of Laurence Inman.

The Obama Inaugural. Everyone seemed to think at first it was a bit of a disappointment. It didn’t contain much in the way of what could become memorable, historic quotations. (Or sound-bites, as pundits twisted themselves in knots to avoid saying.)

So these same commentators were quick to declare that there were, really, plenty of great quotes, but they were sort of hidden and will emerge later when we’ve all had a good long think about it.

He fluffed his lines at the start. He can’t blame lack of rehearsal time. Most Americans have probably been going over those words all their lives. People blamed the other bloke, but that’s not fair.

Any actor will tell you that a problem with the script can start pages earlier, after somebody else has dropped a little time-bomb of discordance: a slightly jumbled phrase, a missing adjective, a sentence delivered a second too early.

In fact, Obama started the rot himself by jumping in right at the beginning. Nerves, you see.

These timeless lines he was expected to trump – they’re not that great are they ? Really. There’s that Roosevelt one about fear; very trite and obviously kitted out for the occasion. And Kennedy. Well, if you replace ‘your country’ with ‘the school’ it’s Mr Mainwaring addressing morning assembly.

He’ll be much longer remembered for I am a doughnut, Tomorrow I intend to destroy the world and A bit slower, Marilyn.

And that’s it. There have been 56 inaugural speeches, containing enough words to fill a very long novel or two probably, and all history has managed to salvage from them are those two duff lines. It’s not good enough.

What struck me most about the whole spectacle was the sight of the President’s two daughters.

They are ten and seven. If he goes two terms they will, at the end of his tenure, be eighteen and fifteen and if the White House has any of its doors exactly fitting their hinges by then I will be very surprised.

Anyone who has a grudge against a man who has daughters only has to wait.

I’ve got one.

When she was nine she made a solemn vow that she would never pick up a damp towel and put it somewhere to dry, never switch a light off and never close a door.

I’ve got to hand it to her; she’s stuck to her promise, never wavered for a second.

I know people with two daughters. They don’t have twice the trouble, but four times. It increases geometrically, you see, not numerically. In fact, I think you have to also increase the power each time geometrically as well, so that three daughters means sixty-four times the aggro, and so on.

I’m always surprised that Jane Austen makes no mention in Pride and Prejudice of pock-marks in the plaster from where the Bennet sisters have thrown their mobiles and the telly remote across the room over the years.

One of my colleagues in the comedy trade is being a bit tardy in letting me know if he wants me on at his venue. I could get a bit insecure about this, but what’s the point ? He has a young daughter, you see, a baby at the moment, but I know that in a few short years he’ll be pulling what’s left of his hair out. I’ve got plenty of time.

The Stirrer himself, a man of industry and undoubted probity, made the mistake of ‘mislaying’ my article last week.

Am I, a completist, of delicate mental balance at the best of times, annoyed?

Not a bit of it. He’s got a daughter. Two, I think.

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