Context-sensitivity in ritual costume and music


From Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, here’s his version of the famous, if apocryphal, George Brown story:

Attending an official reception in Peru, very inebriated, he approaches a willowy figure in scarlet for a dance. Brown is repulsed and protests grandly that he is Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; why could he not have a nice dance? The reply comes:

“For three reasons, Mr Brown. First because you are disgustingly drunk; second because that music is not a dance but our national anthem; and third because I am the cardinal archbishop of Lima.”

Jeremy Vine tells how Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Johnson managed to forget the punchline on more than one occasion.

For another celebrated reception story, click here.

2 thoughts on “Context-sensitivity in ritual costume and music

  1. Pingback: Tone of voice, and audiences | Stephen Jones: a blog

  2. Pingback: An orchestral classic | Stephen Jones: a blog

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