P-Cunt! A curious name for a shop, I thought to myself whilst fumbling for the camera with a smirk, I wonder what it sells? Unfortunately (or thankfully) the owners of P-Cunt are probably unaware of how amusing the sign above their door is and can be forgiven for their faux pas.
English, I’ve been told, is a very difficult language to learn; we borrow from other languages, the rules don't show a lot of consistency and to top it all off English has a huge amount of slang and idioms that are not found in other languages.
All this I can believe, I barely have command of my native tongue let alone any foreign languages and so I’m fully aware of the irony in mocking the weak efforts, flagrant abuse and pure comedy gold made by foreigners in an attempt to master the Queen’s English. As a graphic designer I understand the importance of words and that you have to place them in the right order to communicate the intended message. My appreciation of this mastery makes it even more amusing when I come across great examples of ‘Lost in Translation’.
After much thought we concluded that classic acts of ‘Lost in Translation’ fall into three categories; signs, menus and products.
Strangely P-Cunt was not the first time we’d encountered an amusing shop sign. Who could forget Restaurant Le Tit, Café Colon, A Dong Restaurant, The Red Cock Poultry Centre or Souvenir Wang? My urge to resist the shop advertising ‘over 300 slags’ in the window was unbearable!
Whilst on the road how could we not go on a road trip to Bimbo, Pastorsexp or Hornos.
Ordering food can be a real problem in foreign countries. Imagine our relief (and excitement) when we came across menus with an English translation! I love ‘Stomach Salad’ and ‘Language & Chips’, but who could choose between ‘Old Czech Mushroom Soup’ and ‘Ear from salmon with pie with fish’.
Visiting supermarkets is equally as exciting. I’m surprised Bee-bee isn’t loaded up with Funny Cocks, Piles Tea, Gayelord Hauser Minceur, Chocolate Negro Filipinos, Breast Enlarging Soap (I tried to convince Emma to get some) and Colin, a rather fancy looking glass cleaner!
…and lastly, possibly the most inappropriate item I’ve ever seen for sale anywhere let alone in an Arabic country; a New York city skyline lamp and lampshade featuring the twin towers, a jetliner and a hot air balloon that looks strangely like an explosion. The lamp rotates when the bulb heats up creating a moving panorama of the whole scene! All completely innocent as the product was dated pre-9/11, was made in China and was in a shop selling some of the most amazing tat you’ve ever seen, but for about 30 minutes the part of my brain that deals with conspiracy theories was going mental!
Oh…and P-Cunt sold shoes!