Category Archives: Sports

Democrats don’t Fish

I had the opportunity to take a break from moving Mother and Big Daddy recently, when an old friend from England came to Nashville for a visit with her fourteen year old son in March. He had never been to the South before, and the last time she was here it was for my wedding in 1987, where she tried to make a big impression with my other English girlfriends by singing the Internationale and wearing vintage clothes from Portobello Road.

That sort of behaviour scores so low on the Southern spectrum of eccentricity, however,  that I am afraid that their presence was hardly even recognised. For a start, there really was not a single person in this part of the United States during the Cold War who had ever heard the Internationale. My aunt told everybody that it was the theme tune from our sorority back at the London School of Economics. Which, come to think of it, wasn’t actually very far from the truth…

Anywho, the point I am trying to make is that I spent alot of time thinking about how to fit in a big Southern cultural experience into a long weekend. And it occured to me that of course I needed to take them fishing with the Hillbilly Deluxe Striper Fishing Tours on Lake Cumberland, in Kentucky. On the first day, that is. And I thought that it wouldn’t be a problem to recruit friends to join us on such an awesome adventure. After all, we all know how scenic and cultural that drive from Nashville to Kentucky can be!

But I want you to know, it really wasn’t that straightforward at all. All my snotty liberal Democrat friends just made up dumb excuses: ‘Sorry Harriet, but I am committed to seeing that new Iranian film at the local independent film theatre and then we are going to eat sushi’; ‘Oh I would love to, but there is a fundraiser this weekend for Somalian child soldiers at that new art gallery with a silent auction and Emmylou Harris is supposed to be there.’ You know the kind of thing I mean.

It was a completely different story when I called up my Republican girlfriends though. Even though none of them could make it, largely because they can afford health care and are therefore always having unnecessary surgical procedures, the conversation was, like: ‘Striper fishin’? Well hell yeah! I am gettin’ a lump taken out the day before but if I am well enough I’ll have the doctor put it in a jar and we can use it as bait!’

It was revelatory, let me tell you. And for the first time in my whole life, I found myself on the Republican side. Because, as you can see from the picture, fishing is fun!

Even Blanche got into it (please take notice of the Bass Pro life jacket). She wasn’t sure at first, but by the end of the morning, she was reeling ’em in like a pro:

© Copyright 2012, Southern Dysfunction



Filed under Dogs, Friends, Sports

Boat Show

I was a bit bummed when I realised that I was missing  The London Boat Show this month. I have such fond memories of it, you see, like the time I turned up in a faux fur coat with my friend, Kate, and we pretended to be a southern oil heiress and her PA, thus gaining entry to the super yachts, where we drank free champagne all afternoon with attentive, suntanned and much younger sales reps with names like ‘Guy’ and ‘Bertrand’. Good times…

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Aunt B told me that the Nashville Boat Show was scheduled for this very same weekend. Needless to say, I rushed on over there yesterday morning to check it out.

Now, to some extent, a boat show is a boat show is a boat show. Crowds of people wandering around looking at boats, and exhibitors trying to sell you things that relate even vaguely to nauticalia. Back in London, for example, my friends Tanya and Salty told me on Skype yesterday that they had gotten a really good deal there on a yacht rental in the Northern Aegean for their holiday this summer.

Meanwhile, back here in Nashville, I had a good chat with Gary Bachman and his lady wife, of the Hillbilly Delux guide service to striper fishing on Lake Cumberland, near Jamestown, Kentucky. [Settle down, Junior: it’s striper fishing, not stripper fishing.] I am definitely planning a girls’ day out on Lake Cumberland with these nice folks. Who needs the Mediterranean? It’s all fished out anyway.

But the biggest contrast between Nashville and London this weekend was in their respective star attractions. In London, the Show was opened by the notoriously spoilt heiress, Tamara Ecclestone. If you don’t know much about Tamara, just ask her beloved chihuaha, Duke.

In Nashville, on the other hand, our Boat Show featured Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel:

Actually, it turns out that there were two Twiggys at the Show, ‘Twiggy7’ and ‘Twiggy8’:

Followers of this blog in the UK are unlikely to know about Twiggy, who has been a celebrity since ‘Twiggy1’ got blown out of his nest during a hurricane in 1978, when he was just a baby. He had the good fortune to be rescued by Chuck and Lou Ann Best. I guess Chuck was kind of bored, because he decided to teach little Twiggy how to waterski. And the rest is history.

Back in England, of course, it is almost definitely illegal to teach a squirrel how to waterski and entertain thousands of delighted children:

Au contraire, mes amis Anglaise, you would apparently prefer to EAT poor little Twiggy and his little furry friends.

So with respect, I have come to the conclusion that at next year’s London Boat Show, they should fly Twiggy over to do the entertaining, and put Tamara Ecclestone in a pie.

© Copyright 2012, Southern Dysfunction


Filed under Sports

Turkey Shoot

I hope that y’all can accept my apologies for going quiet for a few days, but it has been a busy weekend here in Nashville. Each year, the National Wild Turkey Federation holds its convention at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. It goes on for four days and there is a lot to absorb.

I knew I had to take Junior there. Being raised in Europe, he never learned to handle a gun and this is a big black hole in his education that I feel guilty about. Like most people, I learned to shoot a rifle at summer camp when I was eight years old. But we just did not have those opportunities in inner London when he was growing up.

Besides, as my friend Steve told me, ‘Hon, pay attention. You are single. Every straight man in the southeast is going to be there. Pull yourself together. We are all so worried about you.’

And he was so right! I am definitely going to take up hunting:

Can I have your phone number?

Junior thought they were gay dads, but I explained to him that there was no such thing in Tennessee

Not sure about the hat, but according to the box I will never have chigger bites again!

True, there were some guys I wasn’t so sure about:

I am SO OVER the Dukes of Hazzard

Can't quite put my finger on it, but the chemistry is just not there

Junior thought the whole thing was surprisingly cool. For example, did you know that you can attach an iphone directly to a gun, so that you can make a film of your hunt? Seriously!

Not everything was as easy to understand, however. Neither of us could figure out the basis for judging in the taxidermy competition. First prize this year for ‘most artistic entry’ was awarded to a religiously themed display. I mean, the bird is good-looking, but the scripture doesn’t even make sense in this particular context.

What? Is the turkey going to talk? Do magic tricks?

Both of us agreed that first prize should have been awarded to this instead:

Ok, for my overseas readers, I had better explain. It is an American college ‘football’ themed display, pitting two turkeys against one another, the orange one representing the University of Tennessee, the Crimson one, the University of Alabama. Is that clear? No? Well, basically you have a monument to the brilliant combination of hunting and competitive sports, in the medium of taxidermy.  Still not getting it? Think Turner Prize crossed with Deliverance. Better? No? No? OK, let’s just forget it.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction




Filed under Sports

Forget the Superbowl

‘Be sure to get in the shower when you get home, hon, because I’m worried about the bedbugs.’


‘I’m telling you, this place has a lot of potential. Elvis used to stay in the penthouse. If they reopened the bar, I would hang out there all the time. You’re going to love it.’

When Steve isn’t trying to turn country ham into prosciutto, he is a criminal defense attorney, and he needs to drum up some business.  January is a slow month because his regulars have blown all their money on drugs and liquor for the holiday period, have gotten arrested and have had to post bail. He says that things generally don’t pick up until the tax refunds get sent out later on in February. So he is considering whether to sponsor the weekend wrestling promotion at the Stadium Inn. ATL is already sponsored by Advance Financial and a tattoo parlor, so it’s a natural fit.

‘Wouldn’t it be easier just to get a website?’

He rolled his eyes. ‘These are not really internet people, hon. Most of them aren’t very good at reading.’ And indeed, that would explain the sign outside.

I’m not saying that Steve is a liar, but if Elvis ever stayed here, he must have been off his face. I’m not ruling it out, but it wasn’t one of his finer moments.

You may not know this, but Nashville is an international hub of professional wrestling. While many people prefer the glitz and glamour of the big promotions, real connoisseurs of the sport prefer the smaller and more intimate atmosphere of the minor leagues.

This is the only way in which hardcore wrestling fans are comparable to wine snobs.


I suspect that I didn’t really fit in. When  Nick Iggy came out and made his triumphal march around the circumference of the ring to greet his fans, he stopped when he got to me in momentary astonishment, and then actually kissed my hand. I felt like the Queen.

There was plenty of action, and I can see why Steve has become a regular:

But for me, it was all about the fans.

ATL Wrestling: it’s family entertainment, for some families.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction


Filed under Sports