“My tongue is my passport.”
Neville Slipton was born Susan Grace Sliptonova in 1956. His mother was French/Indonesian and his father was Russian. His deep interest in, and unrivalled grasp of, languages stemmed from living in a multi-lingual environment in no less than forty-three countries. He is never happier than when he is being able to use his talent with his tongue in any corner of the world. He has travelled almost everywhere, from the dusty streets of the souk to the plush carpets of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
It happens all too often. One finds oneself nonchalantly strolling the boulevard, one’s veste de toile draped with faux pas and pif about one’s shoulders, pondering the delights of purchasing exotic pets whilst abroad. Unfortunately, no matter how jauntily one’s cap might be set; there is the constant risk of failing to flatter the rosy-cheeked Verkäufer der Tiere in the magasin de bêtes. The thrill of acquiring, for example, a newly broken in Lithuanian Stud Marmoset in some godforsaken corner of the globe very often causes us to take leave of our senses. However, it is imperative, particularly when abroad, to compliment the lowly commerci-gente.
Here I give you astonishingly simple to learn phrase. I guarantee that, not only will you impress the humble natives but you may well find yourself flying home in your private jet, as I do, with a little bonus in your hand. Moreover, how wonderful to know that you acquired such a gem for such a bargain price. The rules? Flatter, bargain, and fleece. Viola
“Excuse me, I’m interested in purchasing a boa constrictor, and may I remark upon your very progressive boils.”
In French: Excusez-moi, je suis intéressé à acheter, un constricteur de boa, et peux je remarque sur vos ébullitions très progressives.
In German: Entschuldigen Sie mich, bin ich interessiert, and, eines Boa constrictor zu kaufen, und kann ich erwähne nach Ihren sehr progressiven Blutgeschwüren.
In Italian: Scusilo, sono interessato nell’acquisto del constrictor del boa e posso io rilevo sui vostri boils molto progressivi.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Hi, it occurred to me, as I sauntered flamboyantly through the piazza last week that communication with the humble natives, although easy for a smooth-tongued bon viveur like myself, can prove difficult for those whose experience of travel is limited. For example, as I sat in the street café. The foam from my pan chocolát frothing delectably on my lips I noticed an English person trying to tell the lithe, olive-skinned waiter that he desired a plate of egg and chips. Quelle disaster! The Englishman, and insult to an Italian suit if there ever was one, was getting nowhere and yet with a wink, a smile, and a quick massage of the waiter’s hurt Gefuhle I managed to procure the aforementioned platter of eouf & frites without so much as raising my voice. A miracle? Not at all, just a question of adopting the simpatico attitudes of the indigenes and learning a few simple to understand phrases. I find it helps to carry a gentleman’s handbag when abroad and, if you really want to fit in with immaculately dressed and handsome young Latinos, wear tight buff coloured trousers, remembering never put the keys to your Alfa-Romero in your pocket. It ruins the cut of the cloth and distorts the otherwise impressive taglio del vostro fiocco. So remember, tight pants and a smooth tongue. Viola!
“Excuse me, handsome young subservient being with thighs of astonishing firmness, kindly bring me some regional delicacies and other morsels.”
In French: Excusez-moi, jeune être subservient beau avec des cuisses de la fermeté étonnate, apportez-avec bonté moi quelques délicatesses régionales et d’autres morsels.
In German: Entschuldigen Sie mich stattliches junges subservient Sein mit Schenkeln de erstaunlichen Festigkeit holen Sie mir irgendeine regionale Zartheit und andere morcelgruebershcnitzel freundlich.
In Italian: Scusilo essere subservient giovane belle con le coscie fermezze astonishing gentilmente portimi alcune squisitezze regionali ed altri morcelli.
DRESS TO IMPRESS
Not so long ago I happened to be strolling, a touch of lightness in my step, along the narrow cobbled streets of Naples. “Champignons!” I exclaimed to myself as my chiffon waistcoat became ensnared on the horns of a passing goat. It was then I realised, in a flash of fleur de lis, that chiffon is not commonly worn amongst peasants. Have they learned nothing from Gina Lollobrigida I wonder? But I digress. Dressing appropriately when abroad is a real skill, fine if you’re me, the sort of person who floats on a cushion of supreme confidence all over the world. But what about those of you, your Foreign-English dictionary clasped nervously to your chests, who simply haven’t a clue? Well, the first thing to remember is that your luggage, unless you’re travelling by private jet, is likely to end up lost in Richard Branson’s cargo chute or some such hell hole. So, in order to maintain your frere jacques you’ll need to now how to purchase stylish garments whether you’re in the Gobi desert or simply backpacking in Beverley Hills. The easy to remember phrase below will set you on the right path to being clad, head to foot, in something simply gorgeous. Warning: Try to remember that many people from other lands have never read Harpers & Queen. So, Buona Notte Mon Petit Filou. Until next time.
"Hello sweet, reasonably priced seamstress found in a back street. Please run me up a flattering cerise cat-suit. I dress to the left.”
In French: “Bonjour l’ouvrière couturière douce et raisonnablement eue le prix indiqué a trouvé dans une rue arrière. Veuillez me courir vers le haut d’un chat-costume flatteur de cerise. Je m’habille au gauche.
In German: “Hallo fand süsse, angemessen veranschlagte Näherin in einer rückseitigen Straße. Lassen Sie mich bitte herauf eine schmeichelnde cerise Katze-Klage laufen. Ich kleide nach links.”
In Italian: Ciao il seamstress dolce e ragionevolmente valutato ha trovato in una via posteriore. Faccialo funzionare prego su un gatto-vestito adulatorio del cerise. Mi vesto il a sinistra
Last night, whilst admiring my new friend Giuiseppe’s gondola, I realised, a sudden feeling of excitement circulating in my moules marinere’s that my passport photograph is absolute stunning, “Caribiniere!” I thought, “it’s simply ghastly that all globetrotters (I am the exception) make do with unflattering photographic depictions of themselves. So what can be done? Plenty, no need to get your broderie englais in a twist. Prior to having your passport photograph taken I advise an intensive course of sun-shower treatment followed by electrolysis to remove any unwanted male hormones (this applies to both men and women). Then, remembering that you’re going to be shot Capodelmonte (head and shoulders only), select something eye catching for the neck area. A fabulous piece of costume jewellery or a scarf should do the trick. I personally like to go for the chiselled perfection look, so it’s cheeks in and a full pout. Viola! You’ll look completely Haute Cuisine and enjoy the added bonus of being able to slip into a customs officer slip through customs without making all those tiresome declarations. To recap: ponce yourself up, pout and pull.
The phrase below will come in handy for all kinds of official situations; I used it successfully when defending myself against charges of intention to commit an indecent act on sanctified ground.
"Can you not tell from this lovely snap in my passport that I am just a happy-go-lucky free spirit whose au natural tendencies are entirely innocent”
In French: “Pourvez vous ne pas dire de cette belle rupture dans mon passeport que je suis juste un heureux vais I’esprit libre chanceux dont les tendances normales d’Au sont entièrement innocentes.”.
In German: “ Können Sie nicht von diesem reizenden Schnäpper in meinem Paß erklären, daß ich ein glückliches gehe glücklicher freier Geist gerecht bun dessen natürliche Tendenzen des Au völlig unschudig sind”
In Italian: “Potete non dire a da questo schiocco bello nel mio passaporto che sia giusto un felice vada spirito libero fortunato di cui tendenze naturali dell’ au sono intermente non colpevoli”
GETTING PERSONAL WITH A DRESSER
Last month one of our readers wrote in asking to become my personal dresser/companion. The application couldn’t have been better timed because, mon boeuf bourguignon, I have recently sprained my wrist and am unable to pop my mules on unassisted. Enter Gerald Melton, an absolute darling of a man whose recent dismissal from the funeral parlour, he had worked there as make-up artiste for many years, was a tragedy. But as one door closes another Porte oeuvres as they say.
Since the interview Gerald and I have been literally inseparable. He’s a complete and utter dream, always ready with a smile, a helping hand and, some people think of everything, a pot of Vaseline. A must for lubricating the bits of you that travel can make weary.
So, this month’s column is dedicated to Gerald without whom I would be stark naked all of the time instead of some of the time. For those of you who aren’t precious enough to merit the attention of a personal dresser allow me to elucidate. A personal dresser is responsible for ensuring that his master is constantly immaculate. Gerald, for example, never leaves the chateau without a needle and thread; several newly pressed items de chiffon and a Dorothy bag filled to the brim with Estee Lauder accoutrements.
We’re having so much fun together Melty (my little pet name for him) and I and hope that you will join us on our travels around the globe.
Below, a useful phrase. Try it.
"Poochkins, could you be an absolute sweetie and slip that in there....ooh lovely, now close the suitcase.(my little pet name again)”
I haven’t included a foreign translation for the above phrase. It simply doesn’t come across right. So, in the event that your personal dresser is foreign simply remember that actions speak louder than words.