Latest in Anglophenia Video SeriesView All Episodes
The Latest from Mind The Gap
Don’t be fooled into thinking Thanksgiving is all about the food. Many Americans are just as passionate about the retail […]Read Now
When choosing a role model to help you navigate the rocky path to enlightenment, make sure you get one that has learned from their mistakes, otherwise every nugget of wisdom offered has to be considered just theory, and untested by the peer review panel of life.
Edina and Patsy (and to a certain extent Saffy and her gran) from Absolutely Fabulous are absolutely meticulous in this regard. Say what you will about their experimental method, criticise the validity of their results, openly mock the state of their lab work, but you can’t deny the hours they put in, the years of selfless (and selfish) dedication they have put in, just in order defy the odds and live long enough to develop their unique whirlwind sensibility. Or, to be strictly accurate, insensibility.
Read on, fill your heard and mind with the sweet music of truth, learn from their mistakes, and you may find 2013 to be an unforgettable thrill ride (for a variety of different reasons).
Edina: Anybody can use Public Transport, Sweetie.
Patsy: Darling, if you want to talk bollocks and discover the meaning of life you’re better off just downing a bottle of whisky. At least that way you’re unconscious by the time you start to take yourself seriously!
Saffy: Get through? Mum, you’ve absolved yourself of responsibility. You live from self-induced crisis to self-induced crisis. Someone does your hair, someone chooses what you wear, someone does your brain, someone tells you what to eat and three times a week someone sticks a hose up your bum and flushes it all out of you!
Edina: I’m sorry if that sounds selfish, sweetie, but it’s me! Me! Me! Me!
Patsy: Time is like a stretched elastic band. You can’t let it go or it’ll come back and take your eye out.
Saffy: You cannot find yourself through massage!’
Edina: ..if you’re a bloody psychic psychologist how come I’m always having to phone you?
Patsy: Meg Ryan, movie star?! I’ll be the judge of that.
Saffy: Major motion pictures are made, huge concerts have been put on stadiums. I mean, for God’s sake, 500,000 were mobilized in the Gulf and a war fought and won in less time without everyone included having a nervous breakdown and being sent flowers. It cannot be that difficult.
Edina: Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Darling, every troop didn’t have to contain Yasmin Le Bon. The generals didn’t require big hugs after every maneuver and the whole thing did not have to be coordinated to rap and Japanese avant-garde bag-pipe music because, you know, darling, I think if it HAD, the outcome might have been rather different, don’t you? Hmm?
Patsy: What the hell is the difference between a painting done by a person who wishes to paint like a child, and a child’s painting?
Patsy: Eddy look, can I get away with this mouth?
Edina: Only in L.A., darling.
Edina: I don’t think that “Kylie Minogue chokes on vegetarian sausage after all-night not-drinking binge at safe celebrity nightspot” has quite the same ring about it.
Patsy: Could Julia Roberts’ lips get any bigger? It looks as if she’s giving birth to her own head!
Bubble: ‘Stylist’? Oh I’m too rich and famous to ask for my own free clothes will you do it for me? Will you be my stylist?
Edina: Couple of weeks and I’ll be bending like Madonna, won’t I darling? I’ll be able to kiss my own arse from both directions!
Edina: I’m just not the sort of woman who wants to spend a free afternoon squatted over a small hand mirror, you know. For God’s sake, I’ve seen doctors go pale.
Edina: I mean what you two don’t seem to realise is that inside of me, inside of me, there is a thin person just screaming to get out.
Mother: Just the one, dear?
Patsy: [Feels her stomach in discomfort]
Edina: Have you eaten something?
Patsy: No, not since 1973.
Bo: She’s not handling this 40 thing too well, is she? I mean, golly, I wish I could tell her it’s no big deal. I had a ball on my 40th birthday. I felt really strong, really sorted-out about it. I realised what a lucky, wonderful person I was. And whether in your 30s or your 40s, you’re still the same gorgeous person. Enjoy life!
Mother: When will you be 50?
[Bo starts hyperventilating.]
Marshall: She hasn’t started 50 therapy yet.
Fleur: [Picking up face cream] Have you tried this? It’s a triple acting, alpha-hydroxy acid natural complex to reactivate your skin making you… scientifically more beautiful.
Catriona: Sounds good!
Fleur: “Dermatologists and opthamologists tested non-acnegenic-..” I don’t know what this means but it’s forcing me to believe it!
Edina: I’m a fat person, that’s the end of it! Me! The woman who got stuck on an eating loop in Yo! Sushi! I mean, honestly, sweetheart! If they keep it coming round of course I’m gonna eat it, aren’t I!?
Edina: Quick shower, quick shower… Wash and go. Sandpaper, exfoliant, cellulite breakdown, tone and perm, auto-bronzer and birch twigs! Shall I have soap? No, no soap.
Patsy: Hello, Alex. This is the mood board for the next edition: sex, bitch, aristo, sex, punk, whore, bitch, prossie, lezzie, punk, tart, slut. Oh but Alex, Alex, with lovely shoes.
Bubble: I shall endeavor to transcribe it on my pad, photocopy it and file it for future reference.
Edina: Anyway Patsy’s got that job for life.
Saffy: You don’t mean to say she’s actually good at something?
Edina: No, darling, she slept with the publisher!
Patsy: And I’m bloody good at it!
Patsy: You don’t need an O-level to operate a syringe.
Edina: You only work in a shop, y’know, you can drop the attitude.
Patsy: A business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know you’re doing it but nobody else does.
Love and Romance
Edina [to Saffy] : Not one bloody boyfriend in the whole time that I’ve known you! I mean, you’re not that bloody ugly! What’s the matter with you? Huh? Have you read that “Karma Sutra” I gave you? No! That Dutch cap has only ever seen the light of day. I mean, God! Here I am, your mother, poised for your first sexual experience and night after night, dry bloody sheets! I’m sorry, darling, but I don’t want a little moustached virgin for a daughter, so do something about it!
[Eddy is throwing out her clothes as fire damage for the insurance]
Saffy: I could take these down to the charity shop.
Edina: You cannot give these sort of clothes to the poor! Darling, I’m sure they’ve got enough to contend with without the added humiliation of wearing last season’s, sweetie!
Edina: Why, oh why, do we pay taxes, hmmm? I mean, just to have bloody parking restrictions- and BUGGERY-UGLY traffic wardens, and BOLLOCKY-pedestrian-BLOODY-crossings?… and those BASTARD railings outside shops, so you can’t even get in them! I mean, I know they’re there to stop stupid people running into the street and killing themselves! But we’re not all stupid! We don’t all need nurse-maiding. I mean, why not just have a Stupidity Tax? Just tax the stupid people!
Saffy: Mum, you are just paying into the whole panic culture, I hate it. The world is actually safer than it’s ever been. In fact, you’re more likely to be hit by a bus!
Edina: Oh yeah, darling, that’d be ironic, wouldn’t it? Closest I’ve ever been to public transport and it runs over me.
Patsy: Anyway, I just have to tell these tragic, little wannabes, do you know what I tell them? I say, darling, “just stick your fingers down your throat, hack off your tits, keep taking the tablets and don’t come back until you’re looking like something!” Y’know?
Naomi Campbell: Yeah, I remember you.
Edina: [To Saffy] Why does everything you wear look like it’s bearing a grudge, darling?
Magda: If the models get any younger, Pats, they’ll be chucking fetuses down the catwalk.
Mother: Are those your old trousers, dear? It was rather like putting toothpaste back into the tube even then.
Edina: Just for once I want to take my clothes off and not be marked by them.
Edina: Can I just say one word in my defence?
Saffy: I don’t think that’s a good idea, mum, your mouth is working for the prosecution.
Saffy: [To Edina] You see everything but yourself! You always have the best view in the room because you’re not looking at you!
Edina: Who bloody needs ‘em? Upper classes, who bloody needs ‘em, sweetheart? They’re all inbred anyway, aren’t they?
Patsy: Yeah, just a talking neck! Most of them have done away with features altogether! They have to marry a bit of common every now and again to ensure bone development!
Edina: Had two husbands, one was too short one was gay. Still sweetie if you want to know how to peck a dwarf on the cheek as he’s walking out of the house to the disco in your dress , then I’m your girl.
Edina: Darling, being gay is the best excuse you’ll ever have not to be boring!
Edina: I did tell you the facts of life didn’t I sweetie?
Saffy: If you mean that time you sat on my bed and shook me awake at two in the morning, stoned out of your brain, and slurred into my ear ‘By the way sweetie, people have it off,’ then yes, you told me the facts of life.
Katy: All right, I know I’m late, so don’t look at me like that. I’ve been up all night with the baby. I don’t know why it cries so much. I’ve got friends who use exactly the same sperm bank and theirs is perfect!
[Patsy blows her cigarette smoke in Saffy's direction]
Saffy: [Coughs] Mum!
Edina: Oh, don’t be so stupid, smoke can’t get in there, darling. Smoke can’t touch the baby. If it could you’d have come out looking like prosciutto, believe me.
Patsy [to Saffy]: It’s you who turned your mother into this… potato we see before us.
Edina: What is this Nazi book of child-rearing, you’re using? Sleep, shit, eat, talk, smile! What is it? Do not deviate! Jawohl, Herr Kommandant! Gina bloody Ford!
Saffy: Yes! What was in in your day, Dr. Spock?
Edina: Dr. Spock! Don’t be ridiculous! Dr. Spock? What, “Dr. Spock’s Vulcan Book Of Child-Rearing”, darling? Yeah, sure! What? Raise a child that can render you unconscious by pinching your neck? I don’t think so, darling!
Edina: Actually, can I say darling, you may be looking quite well, but not so thin yourself. Do I detect a slight thickening, sweetheart? You know what that is, don’t you? Cruel genetic fate! You are turning into me! The sausage shape that comes to us all, sweetheart. It’s you now!
Edina: I was taken up, up to Heaven and I spoke with God.
Saffy: What about?
Edina: Well, shopping mainly…
Patsy [to Saffy]: You may dress like a Christian, but the similarity ends there…
Mother: This filtered water boils very quickly.
Bubble: That’s because there’s less of it.
Emma Bunton: Why haven’t you changed the date?
Bubble: It happens anyway… Sun comes up… sun goes down.
Bubble: [cleaning] Hoover, hoover, hoover…
Edina: YOU HAVE TO TURN IT ON, NOT JUST MAKE THE NOISE!
Here are just some of these inspirational quotes, in their original contexts:
I know, it’s heady stuff, right?
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic