Captain Lawrence Oates’ position as the undisputed ideal of understated British self-sacrifice has come under threat, as historians have unearthed research suggesting that he in fact abandoned his dying companions in a blizzard-whipped tent for a pina colada in the local gay Antarctic spa, ‘The Cheeky Penguin’.
‘Ever since Scott’s tragic expedition in 1912, when the entire British party died returning across Antarctica from the South Pole, Captain Lawrence Oates has been considered the ultimate British hero for attempting to bolster his colleagues’ chances of survival by bravely walking off into the terrible blizzard to face certain death,’ said renown historian, David Crane. ‘But we now have reason to believe that Oates’ supposed last words, ‘I am just going outside and I may be some time’ in fact referred to the to the Penguin’s celebrated ‘Frozen Fist Fridays’, which were infamous for stretching long into the night.’
Lawrence ‘Crazy Horse’ Oates had long been regarded as an unusually flamboyant member of the expedition, but in those days when openly homosexual exploration was frowned upon, his sexuality was never called into question, despite the unexplained addition of tasteful pink flamingo feathers adorning his reindeer skin snowsuit. ‘We believe he lived well on into his eighties, working as a freelance masseur in Hove,’ said Crane ‘His decision to leave his colleagues in the tent is one of boundlessly complex socio-moral struggle, but Scott’s diary records a conversation amongst the group they would all rather die than be considered ‘a woofter’, so it would seem Oates rather took them at their word.’
Evidence withheld at the time may however indicate that Oates made a terrible mistake in assuming that none of the other men would be interested in an extended soiree at the capital of gay Antarctica. Concealed from a prudish British public at the time was the fact that Captain Scott’s personal kit-bag contained not only a frozen cucumber kept curiously secret from his starving friends, but also a series of hand-drawn sketches of the cricketer WG Grace performing a strip tease during the tea break in the test against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1899. A similar veil was drawn over sensitive events when the London Times reported that the bodies of the party were found ‘huddled together for warmth’, when in fact the frozen corpses had to be delicately prised apart from a spectacular five-man ‘botting chain’.
20th August 2009