1936 was the year of famous Berlin Olympics in which Jesse Owens was the top medalist with four golds. They reckon that because Jesse was a black man, Hitler cleared off out of the stadium pretty sharpish to avoid having to shake hands with him. He was supposed to have got into one of his famous tempers and had a bout of the screaming ab-dabs because a black man had proved himself superior to the pure Aryan races in the races. But apparently this is a load of nonsense. Jesse didn’t see things quite that way any road. He said that when he did see Adolf, admittedly from a distance, the fuhrer was quite nice and gave him a smile and a wave. Obviously this doesn’t mean that Hitler was a nice man. Far from it. He was a wicked so and so, as everyone with an ounce of sense knows. But he wasn’t particularly bothered about black men being able to run after than white men, as he had the idea in his head that black men were closer to animals, and therefore were more suited to some physical feats in a primitive sort of a way. He imagined that the Aryans made up for it in culture and intelligence. Cheeky so and so. I don’t know how he would have explained Trevor McDonald away. Any road, looking at it from Jesse’s point of view, he felt more welcome in Nazi Germany than he did in America. Fair enough it was the Olympics, and the Germans were putting on a bit of a show about how nice they were. But not only was he able to stay at the same hotels as white athletes, he could even use the same transport and eat in the same room as them. Not like in his own country where racial segregation was still rife. And guess which one out of Hitler and President Roosevelt sent Jesse a personal letter of congratulations on his achievements. Hitler of course, and he sent him a signed photo with it. Roosevelt never said, wrote or telegrammed so much as a single word to Jesse. Plus he made the poor beggar work as a ruddy caretaker so that he could pay his way to the end of university. To be honest with you I never knew any really black men all through my life. Not the proper curly haired African types anyway. We did have an Indian doctor when I was getting on a bit though. Dr Ramaswami. He was always nice and polite and he sorted some tablets out that got Raymond’s malignant flatulence under control. Me and Raymond would sit in the back yard some summer evenings, and I would breathe in the pure air, and think to myself, “it wouldn’t be as fragrant as this out here if Dr Ramaswami hadn’t prescribed him those tablets. Here on the other side I know loads of black people. It’s properly multiracialist here, I can tell you. I don’t know what happens to all the racialists. I think they probably just grow up a bit and see sense. You get a different perspective on a lot of things when you are dead. Like when you are an adult you have a different perspective on things to what you had when you were a little kiddy. Or like when you cancel the papers you get a different perspective on things to what you
had when you were a Daily Mail reader. Auntie Doris’s pop pick of 1936: “Pennies from Heaven” by Bing Crosby. Bless him. He always looked on the bright side.