Wednesday, August 13, 2008


American swimmer Michael Phelps has won eleven gold medals - the greatest number amassed in the Olympic Games, apparently.

Does this make him the greatest swimmer of all time?  Does it sillybollocks.

Michael Phelps doesn't hold a candle to Mark Spitz, who won nine gold medals.

The reason for this is simple: it's down to aerodynamics.

Mark Spitz swam with a moustache.

This was the 1970's, and men were men were men, especially in San Francisco bath houses.

Phwoar!  Despite the undoubted handicap of having to race with what is the equivalent of eight pounds attached to his upper lip, Mark Spitz still managed to win nine gold medals.  None of that all over body shaving for Mark!
He had a good head of thick, bouncy, lively hair of the sort you'd love to run your hands through ... er, sorry, where was I?  He even had hairy armpits (seen), and particularly hairy arse cheeks (unseen). Gentleman readers take note: no holiday wardrobe is complete without a pair of stars and stripes Speedoes that fit like a driving  glove.  

No wonder he retired from swimming after the 1972 Olympics.  Having to wear all those gold medals around his neck - even in the swimming pool - must have led to a lot of upper spinal problems and endless visits to the osteopath.

He was no doubt a source of inspiration for Scotland's own David Wilkie, who went on to win a paltry single gold medal at the 1976 Olympics ...

Well, that looks like a very spontaneous, unposed photograph doesn't it?

Both men were, in their own way, representatives of the ideal 1970's man - at least according to girls of around my age at the time.  If you asked any teenager who she'd like as a boyfriend, more likely than not she'd suggest that he should be "tall and dark, with a mussstosh".

Of course, the reality would be that she was actually seeing someone called Nige or Kev who smelt of week old socks, who had bum fluff and boils on his face the size of ten pence pieces.  Still, nice to be aspirational, isn't it? 

Shit.  How did that picture of dreamy Opportunity Knocks winner Bernie Flint get in here?

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The thing with Bernie was that he don't want to put a hold on you.

I bet he couldn't swim either.
Ah, the whiff of Hai Karate and blokes with 'tashes. Men where men and girlyfolk drank Babycham (which made for a cheap round).

It's enough to make Bruce Forsyth stroke his enormous chin wistfully.
I was a bit disappointed to see that Mark Spitz has now got rid of his tach' :( O tempora, o mores...etc. I still quite fancy Bernie Flint, though you could JUST AS EASILY put in a pic of Bob Carolgees (is that right?)
Those were the days … sigh.
When no matter how plug ugly you were, all you had to do was sprout a splendid set of moustachios and weemen fell at your feet.
Why the hell did I ever shave mine off?
Murph - I'd like to think that he wouldn't put a hold on you when you were trying to swim. You'd end up drowning. Bernie can swim, after a fashion, but he wears water wings and stays in the shallow end. It's a bit embarrassing at his age.

Garfer - I didn't drink Babycham, I drank Hai Karate. It was still a cheap round though, because Hai Karate cost about 25 "new" pence a pint.

Rhino - strange you should mention Bob Carolgees because we were having a conversation in which my other half said "... Mark Spitz went on to have a career as that dog on Tiswas with Bob Carolgees, didn't he?" Ho ho.

Dive - well, you only got rid of it about a fortnight ago, didn't you? Nooo - grow it back. Better than opting for a goatee beard. The moustache is on its way back, I tell you.
I hate Babycham, it is evil despite the picture of the deer on it.

I've never been much of a moustache fan either - for me it's full beard or nothing.
What en excellent analysis Betty - you should publish this in 'Physics Weekly'.
That Duncan Goodhew was just cheating wasn't he?
Bernie Flint - good grief - that reminds me of being made to watch wrestling on Saturday's whilst having to sit on my Gran's vinyl sofa. In the break before the scores were read out by Dickie Davis there would be the most terrible ripping sound of my flesh being un-peeled from the vinyl. After the scores we would then watch Opportunity Knocks - Bernie Flint was found on that wasn't he? Do you think he thought he would win by making himself look like Mark Spitz? Cheat!
And then there was Burt Reynolds, who was actually as bald as Goodhew, but didn't like to talk about it.
Oyebilly - my friend's dad nicked a Babycham deer that was displayed on a pub bar in 1968, and gave it to me as a sort of Christmas gift (??). I've still got it somewhere. "Full beard or nothing" - that's the rule for facial hair in the Navy, isn't it?

Kaz - why, thank you. I did literally minutes of research for this post you know. As for Duncan Goodhew, there's a picture of him with David Wilkie that I thought I might put on here to illustrate how Wilkie was part of the past and Duncan was part of the body hair free future, but decided against it at the last minute.

Tim - did Burt Reynolds have a chest wig as well? I'm sure he gave a good account of himself as a swimmer in The Deliverance but I can't be absolutely sure. It's about twenty five years since I saw that film. Is it possible to swim in a toupe and chest wig?
I can't kiss men with moustaches because I have a rather lovely one of my own, and you don't want to be around to see the mess when two moustaches collide...
Fathorse - I imagine it would be like velcro, but with more potential damage because of static.
Jeez, even I am finding those speedos strangely erotic, and I am a crusty old devon farmer. This fucking contraceptive pill residue in the water supply is playing havoc with my sexual preferences.
Thank you Betty for keeping me up to speed with all the news from the Olympics - he is doing well isn't he!
Tom - I'm glad that you're getting in touch with your feminine side. Very wise of you not to watch the Olympic highlights on the telly as well. Absolutely dismal, especially the Monkey Magic bit where they have highlights of all of the "hilarious" things that have happened during the day.
Your stache turbulence drag theory will soon be legendary.

While away I would watch the Olies on our beloved Canadian Broadcorping Castration as they examined why Canada was behind in the medalling behind the athletic juggernaut of Togo((WooHOO!))...

so after a few drinks to wash away the shame I would switch to the American coverage to watch the Michael Phelps Show starring Michael Phelps and some other swimmers from some of those other countries mentioned in history books.
DonnnnNNNNNnnnnnn - apparently even Americans are getting sick of the over the top coverage given to Michael Phelps, however extraordinary his achievements are. For some reason, at the moment Britain is third in the medal table! Does this mean that we're now a major force in the world power order for the first time since about 1880? Probably not - we'll fall behind because we don't really have much chance of accumulating any more medals in the track and field events.
Oh for the days when tashes like that were hetero.
AHA THERE YOU ARE! i losted you.

mark spitz....they used to make us take down that poster when they caught us with it hanging in our lockers...in HIGH SCHOOL. it wasn't considered nice. did they stop the boys from having Farah Fawcett and her GIANT NIPS stuck up all over hells half acre? gracious no. so one of the teachers, god bless her, found an extra large picture of darling, luscious, mustachioed Mark and hung that sapsucker right next to the flag in her homeroom.
she is still my hero.

why do i remember that swimsuit as being much, much briefer....?
anyway, nice to realize that the 70's weren't total unrelieved suck.
you are WONDERFUL!

and now im off to copypaste your addo someplace SAFE. *looks around suspiciously*
But Michael Phelps has a longer wingspan than a condor. If he wasn't a good swimmer, he'd be a great apple picker.
Or an effective wind turbine.
Llewtrah - I don't think moustaches are particularly gay these days either, are they?

FN - well, I'm just about here, but I'll probably disappear again any minute now. Mark Spitz is still supposed to be very becoming now, apparently, but the moustache has disappeared. Michael Phelps isn't going to get *that* sort of attention, is he, poor lad.

Istvanski - I wonder if he's tried to fly? Being five foot seven, I tend to get asked to find stuff on the top shelf in supermarkets for little old women - imagine how often Michael Phelps is pestered to do the same when he goes to buy his groceries (... about five times a day, judging by his calorie intake)

Arabella - perhaps he could stand in for the Angel Of The North?
I agree about the speedos - Wow!

And MArkie didn't wear one of those, did he?

Belleek - the bloke whose garden is opposite ours wears Speedos every summer. He's very puny and in his sixties. Not a pleasant sight, but I've had to get used to it. Life is an endurance test, isn't it?
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