Peter Rhodes on a churchyard mystery, politics in the Creek and why you can be over or out, but not both

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Schitt's Creek – a guide to politics
Schitt's Creek – a guide to politics

A Radio 4 reporter described the final flights of BA's last two Boeing 747s as “over and out” for the Jumbo Jet. Not exactly.

“Over and out” may be used regularly in Hollywood films and poorly-researched cop dramas but in real life it is never used by serious radio operators. “Over” means you have said your piece and expect a response. “Out” means you are ending the conversation. So “over and out” is a contradiction.

The problem is, having been used thousands of times in the movies, “over and out” just sounds right. Like English judges banging gavels and British soldiers saluting when not in uniform, it has weedled its way into our popular culture. It really ought to be weeded out. Over.

I mentioned the little mystery of a domestic electric fan dumped in the wire basket for rotting floral tributes at our local cemetery. One reader admits he can offer no explanation but tells us that he discovered two miniature rose shrubs and a tiny conifer dumped in a bin at a cemetery and he “repurposed” them. In other words, he took them out of the bin and placed them on his parents' grave, on the basis of “waste not, want not.” I'm assuming it's a Yorkshire family.

The above tale is at least more plausible than the fan-in-bin solution offered by another reader who tells me that, before a recent funeral, he reminded a friend who was known for carrying an emergency sandwich in his pocket that there was no eating in the church. The friend was hard of hearing and, fearing a cold service, took along a fan heater. The penny dropped when he arrived at the churchyard and, well, you can guess the rest.

With the presidential election approaching, the States is dividing into its two tribes. You could study all sorts of political books, texts and fine speeches to understand how this Red v Blue tribal system works. Or you could simply watch Schitt's Creek (Netflix) which has just won nine prizes at the Emmys, breaking the awards' record for most wins in a single season for a comedy. Richly deserved.

At its simplest level, Schitt's Creek is a story of a rich, spoiled and sophisticated family suddenly made penniless and reduced to living in a motel where they are teased by the local rednecks. It's nominally set in rural Canada but holds up a mirror to American values. In the process it examines modern social taboos and challenges us to decide who are the good guys. Above all, it makes us laugh out loud, which is the most welcome sound in any pandemic.

As Schitt's Creek is tucked away on Netflix, British continuity announcers are spared the weekly ordeal of having to utter its name. But I swear, after the Emmy awards, I heard a BBC news reader pronounce it as Skitt's Creek. Bless.

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