At second-hand, Malcolm found himself let into the secrets of Silverstone (the annual scene of petrolheaded debauch).
Apparently it is prescribed by the “Health and Safety” handbook that one must not voice emotive terms such as “Fire!”, “Bomb!” or “Booze-frazzled chinless wonders on drunken rampage!”
Instead, the appropriate term is “Code Red”, “Code Black” or “Code Blue”.
So, what may sound an innocent announcement on the Tannoy, “Can Mister Silverstone go to his appointment with Mr Black in suite two?” is actually an urgent message about a major terrorist attack in a specific location.
(Wikipedia has a code-cracking page for those who need a helpful translation.)
Well, we all guessed that, didn’t we?
We ear, but not hear:
- those curious announcements in Supermarkets.
- radios, which suddenly spout incoherencies, clipped to the shoulders of constables and other assorted heavies, .
- Beepings and bippings on aircraft, which somehow choreograph the trolley dollies, but are beyond the ken of the self-loading freight.
- Strange symbolic pointers attached by plastic straps to notices on main roads.
All have arcane meanings not extended to mere peasants.
And yet …
What about the ones which, even then, make so little sense they obviously are messages from another dimension?
Like the one Malcolm recalls from waiting to eat at a steak-house in St Albans:
“Mr Swan: your table for two is ready in the Duck Bar”.
This, moreover, was delivered in one of those West Midlands accents which finds assonance between “dook” and “two”.