LONDON: Spam, the luncheon meat which valiantly sustained the country’s war effort only to suffer so cruelly at the hands of Monty Python, is being relaunched in the UK.
A $4.9 million campaign features TV advertising for the brand, portraying it as British – despite the fact it was invented in America and is produced in Denmark.
Spam estimates the brand is worth $32 million in the UK, where sales are growing by 9.7 per cent a year.
It has also found infamy as the nickname for junk e-mail.
For a brief moment, I honestly thought this little blurb, appearing in the right-hand margin of one of those colour supplement-bearing celebrity gossip compendiums that masquerades as a newspaper each Sundays, would be talking about dodgy, unsolicited e-mails instead of the dodgy foodstuff (with emphasis on the ‘stuff’ rather than the food, of course).
I couldn’t resist posting an MP3 file of ‘Spam’, the Monty Python sketch it inspired. I finally understand Terry Jones-as-pepperpot-running-the-caf’s cry of ‘bloody vikings’ during the ‘spammity spam, lov-er-ly spam’ choruses – a reference to the Danish producers of spam.
The sketch dates from the penultimate episode (although recorded first) of the second season of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and also appears in the form most people know it (and from whence I lifted it) on the recording known – depending on which edition you purchased – as either Another Monty Python Record or Another Monty Python CD or Another Monty Python Album. It’s the one with the classical record cover, Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, scribbled out, and the new title scrawlded in the top right-hand corner. (My father genuinely wanted to know who had scribbled on the record cover when I first owned the record. It was an early Australian pressing, on the Phillips label, that I picked up in an op shop in the late 80s!) The sketch also appears on the compilation The Final Ripoff.
A version of just the ‘Spam Song’ closes the compilation of songs called Monty Python Sings that was issued in 1989 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus – and sadly came to mark the passing of Dr Graham Chapman, who died that year. The song was initially issued on the flipside of ‘The Lumberjack Song’, in the early 70s. At least, it’s called ‘Spam Song’, but it is in fact the entire sketch and the song.