Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Lost Marbles

For years, I thought the Elgin Marbles were tiny glass balls from ancient Greece. I’d even unknowingly gone past them in the British Museum on one of those occasions when my dear Wife had dragged me away from Sabrina The Teenage Witch to try and educate me. They are, as I’m sure you all know, they are some of the best preserved and detailed carvings from Ancient Greece. Which we happen to own.

The Greeks claim that we pinched them. We British claim that they were chopped down in 1801 by Lord Elgin (who happened to be British), and then sold to the British Museum, so we rightfully own them. And in no way can we be prosecuted for accepting stolen goods.

So, the Greeks have lost their Marbles and they’re not happy about it, and there’s a new round of talks beginning to get them returned to where they belong. They have gone as far as setting up a campaign group called ‘Marbles Reunited’, which presumably is a website detailing such things as ‘Left Column Bit With Zeus On - left Greece is 1801. Doing well for himself in London. Would like to contact anyone from the old hang-out’.

We, of course, have got the typical reaction: “Well, you can’t have them back,” we say, crossing our arms. “You’ll only put them outside or something. No, it’s best that we keep hold of them. We’re British. We know best.” Hiding the fact that they were doing fine for around 1800 years before we came along and nicked them.

In all truth, there’s not much in the British Museum that’s actually British. It’s just all the stuff that we’ve gone around the world and pinched! The place may as well have ‘Swag’ written on the side of it.

Still. It does a lovely quiche.

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