Polar Bear Beating

Tags: Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay

It’s an iceberg. I’m telling you it is” said a normally sedate Marcus Brigstocke. “it is not!” frowned Sunand Prasad, head of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Sunand marched away back to the ship. “It is though” muttered Marcus.

A few miles away Vicky and Hannah of the Cape Farewell team have marked out a chessboard into the beach. They’re playing “indigenous chess” using seals in various poses as the chess pieces. “It is eco tourism “ whispers Hannah with an intense frown. “knight takes prawn”.

Simon Boxall, head scientist has been drawn to an Inuit ritual called “licking the whale”. It’s a tradition that goes back thousands of years. The whale is said to have hallucinogenic properties. Simon is not convinced and sits in a corner of the ships bar in animated conversation with a porthole.

“Right I’m off” said Marcus. He’s stripped down to a loin cloth made of authentic Arctic grinning fox and has put himself into the polar bear wrestling competition at the village hall. We at Cape Farewell, have truly entered into the spirit of things. The polar bears a shady lot at the best of time sit by the bar swigging methylated spirits and sneering at the wrestling ring. Marcus does his stretching against the ropes. “Let the game’s commence” growled the wolf-master.

But it all kicked off when Marcus announced – “quieten down. Now quieten down lads” – that he wasn’t going to allow the boxing match to start “unless… I say unless there is a registered international boxing adjudicator panel.” There was a silence you could here a claw scratch the floor. But it was his next comment that sent the hall into a seething mass of polar anger “what do you think we are” he said hands on hips “ barbarians?”.