Thimply Thuperb (abstract acrylic on board)


Whenever I hear a television newsreader or presenter talking with a lisp my attention zooms in on their tongues. I’m not sure how they get such high profile jobs. There's a man on the local news with one and I concentrate on his tongue so hard that I don't hear his words. Over the years I've noticed some tongues are unusually large and are just behind the teeth on every “s” but some are normal size. Surely they’re not putting these lisps on like those fake ones some homosexual men affect?


I suppose you wouldn't speak like that intentionally. Winston Churchill had one, Mike Tyson used to beat up people who made fun of his lisp and mimics have gained many a laugh imitating Chris Ewbank’s. I can remember staying in a hotel in London and going down for breakfast. Some poor waiter who’d probably got up at 5am asked a man on the next table what he could fetch for him. “Eggth, beanth, thausages and thum thlicies of toath pleath,” Mr Lisp said. The waiter's brow creased for a moment as his brain tried to translate this. I can’t believe Cliff Richard hasn’t spent a little of his millions having his teeth re-adjusted. He doesn't have a lisp, more of a trapped “s” but you can hear it even he's singing.


Recently I was strolling through Scarborough’s main shopping precinct and there was a man doing balancing tricks with a football - a change from the usual singers and jugglers. His skills warranted the pile of coins in his begging bowl. I sat on a bench to watch and got chatting with an old lass who was doing her best to damage a pie. I asked if she’d heard the singer with the terrific voice who sings outside Marks & Spencer occasionally. “Oh, I’ve known her make people cry. I know who you mean. Then-tha-thional isn’t thee?” [Sensational isn’t she?] she managed.

   “This man’s pretty good,” I said watching the man with the ball, “He’s no Spring chicken is he - but he’s a bit different. I've put 50p in his bowl.”

   Thimply Thuperb,” [Simply superb] she said. How had she endured life talking like that? Poor lass. I just hope her name wasn't Cecilia Cissy Sissington-Sykes and she wasn't from Sussex.


Walking back to the motorhome I thought to myself, She’s fired me up to do one of my terrible abstract paintings. I’m going to paint a tongue. I’ve got a few paints in a box in the motorhome but I called in The Works for more. Later on I boiled coffee, got out a tiny trowel and started smearing random shapes on a piece of wood. It doesn’t take long to fill these A4 boards and here’s an abstract version of a tongue.


I put the painting on the dashboard to catch the sun the following morning. It soon dried and I forced it into a frame from the pound shop. You could hang this on the wall in your dining room and when an awkward silence descends over guests you could talk about this terrible tongue. It'll fit nicely into a padded envelope and could be behind your door tomorrow for £2440.


This gal has a light-hearted view of her lisp. She doesn't mind saying "sizzling sausages"...