Patriot games, pop and purple prose
No 151: TANGO
Sunday 27 October 1996
Roy Gardner, spokesperson for Tango, a tall, plump suburban sales-manager type in a tower-block office, seems rational as he explains that Sebastian, a French-exchange student, has written criticising new Blackcurrant Tango. But then mounting chauvinist hysteria takes over as Roy marches through his office. "What do you know Sebastian, you're a French-exchange student, all hair gel and fancy loafers, when did you last get up at 4am for something you believe in?"
He's joined by the bearded nerd who's spent three years developing Blackcurrant Tango. As they leave the building, Roy starts throwing off his light-grey polyester-wool-mix suit and the maroon-striped cotton-rich shirt, to emerge in long blackcurrant-coloured shorts. Roy displays a patriotic body of a kind never normally seen in TV commercials: white, with a proudly cantilevered beer-belly and two pendulous crescent breastettes. British as they come, the Roy Gardner body speaks for pork pies, British lager, and full-cream dairy products. It defies gymnasia and sunbathing.
The landscape this little group marches into is a green battlefield, a bit Rob Roy, a bit Braveheart. And as Roy marches, he's joined by hordes with blackcurrant banners pouring over the hillsides. And still they come.
Roy gets a blackcurrant boxer's gown as he strides towards a boxing-ring which, as the camera pulls up and away, appears to be at the edge of the white cliffs of Dover: "Come on Sebastian, come on France." Three Harrier Jump-Jets take off vertically behind him.
Should it be allowed - playing so shamelessly to little Darren's hatred of Frenchmen and students? But it's a simply brilliant launch.
A cautionary tale for ambitious would-be authors
X Factor judge will appear in court later this month
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