July 27, 2019

"Passenger in clown suit prompted mass cruise ship brawl..."

Headline at The Guardian.

Was it the clown suit per se or did the person who happened to be wearing a clown suit do something?

Let me read:
“One witness, part of a group involved in the trouble, explained to staff that things kicked off when another passenger appeared dressed as a clown. This upset one of their party because they’d specifically booked a cruise with no fancy dress. It led to a violent confrontation,” [wrote Richard Gaisford of ITV’s Good Morning Britain].

He added: “Britannia left Bergen at 14.30 on Thursday, the violence occurred 12 hours later after a black-tie evening. It followed an afternoon of ‘patriotic’ partying on deck, with large amounts of alcohol being consumed by many guests. The buffet area was immediately sealed off as medical teams went to help the injured. Staff told me they’d never experienced anything like it and those behind the violence were confined to a cabin for the last day of the cruise, waiting for police here in Southampton.”
So it was the clown suit per se! But it doesn't sound like clown suit guy "prompted" the brawl. I'd say the brawl was prompted by the ridiculous person who attributed so much meaning to having specifically booked a cruise with no fancy dress.

Seems like "fancy dress" has a special British meaning. Ah, yes: "Fancy dress is clothing that you wear for a party at which everyone tries to look like a famous person or a person from a story, from history, or from a particular profession." Well, was clown guy dressed as a particular clown? Pennywise or Bozo or something?

This story has a lot about specificity.

ADDED: From the OED:
fancy dress, n.

1. A costume arranged according to the wearer's fancy, usually representing some fictitious or historical character. Also attributive in fancy dress ball. Also figurative.

1770 F. Burney Early Jrnls. & Lett. (1988) I. 101 I was soon found out by Miss Lalause who..had on a fancy Dress..much in the style of mine....
1844 G. W. Kendall Narr. Santa Fé Exped. II. 51 Such variety of costume..would put to the blush..any..fancy-dress procession ever invented....

43 comments:

DavidD said...

See, in America a black-tie evening would be considered “fancy dress”.

BJM said...

So not Bill Kristol, eh?

Ann Althouse said...

"See, in America a black-tie evening would be considered “fancy dress”"

I know. That was my first clue that there was a special British meaning.

There could be real misunderstanding of this word inviting Brits and Americans to a party — either invited to the other's party would screw up if told to wear "fancy dress."

I had never heard of this problem before today!

Ralph L said...

At least there wasn't A Shot in the Dark.

Ann Althouse said...

The OED has defines "costume party" as "chiefly North American a party to which people come in costumes or fancy dress."

1850 Godey's Lady's Bk. May 333/1 He had met Miss Amelia at a costume party, and requested an introduction....
1979 Weekend Mag. (Toronto) 17 Mar. 18/2 The Gwyns..are famous for their costume parties, where anonymous news sources come dressed as deputy ministers.

Deputy ministers! What fun!

Ambrose said...

Not well known in the States - but all of Europe cowers at the mere thought of Brit tourists. There's a reason they used to rule the world.

Achilles said...

What does "patriotic" partying mean in Britain?

What does it mean to the Guardian?

If this was in the US I would be expecting some shoes to drop as far as background information. The usual sort of lies by omission you expect from the US press.

No idea what to expect here.

rhhardin said...

It's hard to imagine how many clowns you could fit in a cruise ship when it unloads.

Narr said...

Narrenschiff! Them's my people.

Narr
Such a proud moment for all of us

Yancey Ward said...

Obviously, it was Joe Devola.

Ralph L said...

where anonymous news sources come dressed as deputy ministers.

Deputy ministers are the anonymous news sources.

tcrosse said...

Is this the first outbreak of Boris Derangement Syndrome?

Narr said...

In this Postmodern Late Capitalist moment, who can say for sure what is a costume and what is normal attire? I see people every day dressed like clowns.

Narr
Or, undressed like clowns

Ralph L said...

I misremembered. The fancy dress party and subsequent wacky car chase were in The Pink Panther.

Yancey Ward said...

Narr is right- maybe he wasn't dressed as a clown, but is a clown by nature.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Well played Ralph L, well played.

FullMoon said...

If not Joe Devola, maybe Eric the Clown


George Costanza Bozo

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

There's a reason they used to rule the world.

I don't think they ruled the world by puking on themselves and the passing out in the brushes. These Brits are not your grandparents' Brits.

tcrosse said...

The British gene pool was severely edited in the 20th century.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Homie don't play dat!

wildswan said...

"Fancy Dress" ideas from a British site.
"A Giant Poo
When life gives you s***, dress up as a giant poo and embrace it! Or; dress a friend up as a big poo to get payback or make them stand out in a crowd for their hen or stag party. Poo costumes are disgusting yet satisfying and will get plenty of laughs and attention. They’re easy to wear too!
...
Group of Traffic Cones
This one is great for large groups looking to cause trouble! Whether it’s a stag do or festival you’re attending, create your very own Toy Story moment and cause havoc on your night out! Everyone knows that the best and most hilarious nights out end up with a traffic cone coming home with you!" https://blog.fancydress.com/20-hilariously-funny-costume-ideas/

I don't know, maybe we should push Britain back into the EU where they know to regulate them. Free Trade with this bunch?

stevew said...

"with large amounts of alcohol being consumed by many guests"

Hmmm, a precipitating factor, perhaps?

Clyde said...

Some balls are held for charity
And some for fancy dress
But when they're held for pleasure
They're the balls that I like best
My balls are always bouncing
To the left and to the right
It's my belief that my big balls
Should be held every night

-- "Big Balls," AC/DC, from the album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976

traditionalguy said...

Norwegian end of the fiords towns in July and August are full of German vacationing for the month campers. They are not friendly to Brits or Americans off the Cruise ships. Hostility breeds hostility. Alcohol fuels crazies.

Marc said...

You all are forgetting your Dickens. The Pickwickians put on rented fancy dresses to attend Mrs Leo Hunter's fête champêtre, the lady who wrote the 'Ode to an Expiring Frog'. Mr Pickwick himself was exempted from the necessity of wearing a costume because of his eminence, Mr Tupman dressed as a brigand, Mr Snodgrass as a troubadour, and Mr Winkle... my memory doesn't reach that far.

stephen cooper said...

Marc - Mr Winkle chose a costume appropriate to his romantic nature, and expressed thereby his great admiration for the fairer sex.

How could you not remember that?

traditionalguy - how selfish of them, having had their whole lives to enjoy life on a continent which their ancestors had lived on for untold generations, to be rude to those whose ancestors had to tragically leave said continent, and who and just want to spend a week or two, here or there, enjoying the beauties their forefathers left behind in earlier,difficult days !!!!

I have never been rude to a foreigner, ever. People are such jerks so often, it is a great mystery why so many people are so cold at heart and just plain jerks ....

Clark said...

I must be watching too many British TV shows and movies, and reading too much British fiction. I knew what "fancy dress" meant before you told me.

Narayanan said...

Blogger DavidD said

See, in America a black-tie evening would be considered “fancy dress”
__________
Trump had to put on white tie for supping with Queen.

Now that was costume.

Ralph L said...

Fancy dress parties appear in several Agatha Christies, sometimes with Comedia Dell'arte characters and once with Sir Roger de Cloverly (a square dance), which are even more obscure these days. They were class-identifiers, which these people didn't have.

William said...

Two activities not on my bucket list: cruise ships and fancy dress balls. I've missed out on a lot. It's a blessing really.

Gahrie said...

What is the one thing that all cruise ships have? Lots and lots of cheap or free booze.

Rory said...

"Rumpole at Sea" is a lawyer mystery that ends (43:00) in fancy dress on a cruise ship:

https://youtu.be/_qrmW3Z6Odo

Marc said...

"Mr Winkle chose a costume appropriate to his romantic nature, and expressed thereby his great admiration for the fairer sex."

Ha. Am going to have to look. I remember (perhaps accurately) that the imperious Mrs Pott dresses as Apollo and Mr Pott as a Russian officer, wielder of a knout, but about Winkle (and indeed the sequence of events after the Eatanswill elections), have got nothing at the moment. For example, I can't place Pott's confrontation with Mrs Pott and the snake Winkle-- before or after the breakfast entertainment at Mrs Hunter's?

Marc said...

I appreciate how the photographs at the Daily Mail illustrate the party people on the cruise at the pool in broad daylight while the text goes on about 'black tie' (nobody's wearing any 'tie' at the pool). I read at the Guardian in the morning for the silly political nonsense and at the DM in the evening for the silly society headlines.

Zach said...

Not the first time that the thought of a fancy dress ball has driven someone to extreme measures:

"What-ho, Gussie," I said.

You couldn't have told it from my manner, but I was feeling more than a bit nonplussed. The spectacle before me was enough to nonplus anyone. I mean to say, this Fink-Nottle, as I remembered him, was the sort of shy, shrinking goop who might have been expected to shake like an aspen if invited to so much as a social Saturday afternoon at the vicarage. And yet here he was, if one could credit one's senses, about to take part in a fancy-dress ball, a form of entertainment notoriously a testing experience for the toughest.

And he was attending that fancy-dress ball, mark you--not, like every other well-bred Englishman, as a Pierrot, but as Mephistopheles--this involving, as I need scarcely stress, not only scarlet tights but a pretty frightful false beard.

Rummy, you'll admit. However, one masks one's feelings. I betrayed no vulgar astonishment, but, as I say, what-hoed with civil nonchalance.


From Right Ho, Jeeves
https://www.classicreader.com/book/3389/2/

Zach said...

(A Pierrot is a clown)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierrot

gspencer said...

Coulrophobia, fear of Democrats,

Hunter said...

Honk Honk.

tim maguire said...

Thank you, professor. The definitions really helped. At first I was confused about how a clown suit could be an issue on a no-fancy dress cruise. Then that the no-fancy dress cruise could have a black-tie dinner.

Still confused about the availability of no-fancy dress cruises.

Bill Peschel said...

I wish we knew more about the dynamics of this situation. A one-on-one conflict should have been resolved quickly, with the two idiots struggling about and then being separated.

A "mass cruise ship brawl" implies everyone getting into the act, which implies there was bad blood brewing between the two groups. Especially after a day of drinking ending at 2.30 a.m.!

Bill Peschel said...

Ah, the Independent is quoting police saying that a clown-suited man did not spark the fight.

One reason why this story spread is that an ITV reporter for Good Morning Britain was on board ship at the time. He even tweeted a clarification of what "fancy dress" means!

Marc said...

Certainly, the holiday-making crowds are no longer exclusively the Horace and Hilda Rumpoles of the world. Watched the episode of Rumpole of the Bailey last night wherein they take a cruise and attend a fancy dress party aboard-- thanks to whoever recommended it upthread.

PluralThumb said...

We are all bozos on this ship, except for you and me. Sometimes I wonder about you.

- The man who mistook his wife for a hat

https://www.pressreader.com/usa/new-york-daily-news/20190728/281689731416077