09 December 2010

No-one puts Baby Jesus in a corner

'A watermelon!" I shouted at the Archbishop of Canterbury. "She said that she carried a watermelon!"

Yes, it was a standard Wednesday night out for me: explaining the plot of Dirty Dancing to the leader of the Church of England.

I think Dr Williams has seen the film anyway. But it's hard to be sure. I didn't really let him get a word in.

Having been invited to a reception at Lambeth Palace (in error, I assumed, as I hurriedly accepted before the mistake could be rectified), I had been taken aback to see the archbishop actually standing in the doorway. The Archbishop of Canterbury. My jaw dropped. I clasped his hand. I gabbled something incomprehensible. I am a fan of his and I did the fan thing.

"Well done," muttered my friend Charlie as we finally moved through the doorway and into the reception. "If Lou Reed is standing in this room, I don't think I'll be able to embarrass myself as much as you just did."

Sympathetic, perhaps, to my star-struck awkwardness, the kindly Dr Williams came to talk to us again. It was an opportunity for me to be a little cooler. Say something witty, perhaps. Or wait for His Grace to speak. Or Charlie.

Instead, I apologised for my random opening remarks by way of a rambling soliloquy about the moment in Dirty Dancing when Jennifer Grey sees Patrick Swayze in a nightclub and fancies him so much that she can say nothing more sensible than: "I carried a watermelon."

Oh yes. In this scenario (I realised too late to stop talking), I was Jennifer Grey. And the Archbishop of Canterbury was Patrick Swayze. The grinding, bare-chested target of Jennifer's summer lust. I have racked my brains, in the nights since then, over whether I could have come up with a less appropriate analogy. After some reflection: no. On the plus side, I have worked out that my pillowcase might make a very effective noose.

- Victoria Coren, Guardian, 5 December 2010

No comments: