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NTU Sustainability in Enterprise

The Story Of 'N'

27 December 09 words: Al Needham
An exclusive interview with the one and only Slanty 'N'

In a decade full of villains, no-one – no-one - was hated more than The Slanty N, who was chosen to represent Nottinghamshire in 2005 and met with an alarming torrent of abuse. Everyone has had their say on the matter - now it's time for the letter itself to break its silence and talk exclusively to the Lion…

Slanty, you’ve had a very strange decade, haven’t you?

Well, let me stop you right there; I’m not, quote, ‘slanty’. If you’d bothered to do any research, you’d know that I actually rotate anti-clockwise at about five degrees. It’s bad enough having the general public going (affects brain-dead expression) 'Orrgh! It’s Slan-teh! Run away! He wants to eat us babehs! Let’s bon ‘im on the fire', but journalists like you should know better.

We’re really sorry. Shall we call you the Rotated Anti-Clockwise N?

No, I’m used to it - I’ve been in Nottingham long enough. Next question.

OK, so tell us a bit about your background…

Well, I had a great career before all this. My big break was a guest appearance on Sesame Street back in the day, with the letter T and the number 7. I was called back time and again. Great bunch of lads – I’d go out on the mash with Oscar the Grouch and Grover and raise hell.  I came back to the UK to do a bit of work for Countdown and Wheel of Fortune, but ultimately I wanted something more...artistic.

So what brought you to Nottingham?

My agent told me that they were auditioning for a new logo and that I’d be perfect, and I’d heard that there were five vowels for every consonant, if you get me. I knew I’d piss it when I got to the Council House – I was up against a big chip cob on legs, Su Pollard’s massive head radiating sun-rays, and a panda with fangs and ‘KILL DERBY’ written across its forehead in marker pen. Total amateurs. Walked up to the panel, said 'Now see here - I’m a massive letter N and I’m not here to fart-arse about'. Then I did an impression of Brian Clough singing Nottingham Is Full Of Fun whilst dancing the Flashdance routine. It slayed them. Slayed them. Offered the job on the spot.

Your salary – £120,000 – caused quite a bit of consternation…

Look, I don’t want to bite the hand that fed me, but there’s some right jealous mingebags in this town. Don’t hate the player, bruv – hate the game. The game of Nottingham, er, Logoing. I remember some bell-end in Geisha having a pop, reckoning that I was ‘gooin’ raahnd thinking I wor summat’, or whatever these people say. I said; 'Mate, I just heard that the Society of Mongs in Primark Shirts who still live with their Mam are looking for a new logo – you should apply'. Then he started banging on that he was paying for that champagne I’d just bought out of his Council Tax. So I said; 'Well, have some of it back, you twat,' and I gobbed in his face. Luckily, they kept that one out of the papers.

But still...£120,000?

(sighs) Look...what people don’t understand is that I had to lean. All the time. And change colour about 32 times. Say you're behind the till at Greggs, or whatever you do for a proper job, and your boss kept going; 'Now sell them pasties at five degrees to the perpendicular! Go on! Lean! Now change colour! Blue! Now orange! No! That's tangerine!' and so on. Wouldn't you demand a proper whack? And remember, I had to represent Nottingham at all times. They made me sign a contract that said I wouldn't get drunk, seriously assault people, take class As, or get any women pregnant.

And did you?

Sign it? Yes, I did. With a pen. A blue one. (pause) Next question.

Could you believe the reaction you got?

It still hurts. The way that people went on, it was like I was selling crack outside Scotholme Infant School and making the kids put the money down me kecks. There was one dickhead in the Post that said because I was leaning, I was promoting binge drinking! I remember reading that and thinking; ‘there’s kids shooting each other with bazookas in shopping precincts, there’s other bastards breaking in to folk’s houses and laughing at their Artex ceilings and ornaments, and there’s paedophile trams going 'round drawing willies on shop windows and they’re having a go at me?

The main thrust of the argument was that you were replacing Robin Hood.

Oh, don't start me off on that get. 'Ooh, everyone’s going on about Nottingham being full of violent crime, what shall we do? I know – let’s have an armed robber as our mascot' Do you ever see posters of the Yorkshire Ripper with ‘Come to Bradford - its ace!’ underneath? No, you don’t. I don't want to sound arrogant, but where would Nottingham be without me? I’ll tell you, mate – Ottigham. 

But everyone knows about him and his links to Nottingham.

Yeah, but you could say the same about Harold Shipman. Why not put him on the bleeding Council House, then? 

We’re not feeling too much love for the Hooded Man.

Robin Hood? Robin My Bleeding Livelihood, more like. And I’m not the only one, either - the best thing that came out all of this was that I got to know Sherwood Bear. He was Forest's mascot for years, until some div reckoned he was scaring the children and they nobbed him off. And who do they get to replace him? Exactly. An oversized bogey pointing a bow and arrow at the kids. Again.

We wondered what happened to him…

He took it badly. Yes, there was that incident when he got caught in Snape Woods with his Forest shorts 'round his ankles, but he’s a bear - it's to be expected. He's been my rock; I remember one night when we were getting battered in the Old Dog and Partridge, he put his hand on me shoulder and said; 'Slanty…you’ll never win in this town. Half of ‘em can’t spell anyway. The only letter they take any notice of is their court summons. You’ll get no respect 'round here until you put on some green tights and hit someone in the arse with an arrow. Bollocks to it. Bollocks to it all.' 

So any future plans?
Well, I don’t want to jinx anything, but my agent’s heard that Zimbabwe's looking for an image rebrand... All I’ve got to do is fall on me side and it’s Milky Bars all round. People go on about Robert Mugabe's human rights record - he's just had some bad PR, really. I know how he feels.

Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to the people of Nottingham?

Yes, mate. A big, massive letter ‘V’. To all of you.

Slanty's autobiography, A Capital Letter In A Provincial Town
, is out in the new year.

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