04 September 2017

Fraudulent Bananas

Fraudulent banana

Fans of the banana, who are legion, are being warned to be wary of short measures. Reports have recently surfaced of bananas which, when opened, don't go all the way from end to end. In some cases they have been found to be empty entirely.

"Banana fraud isn't something new," said Polly Camber, Trading Standards' head of fruit. "Initially it was quite easy to determine whether a banana skin was filled to capacity. One simply had to squeeze the skin to detect if it was only partially filled. But this was before the banana bandits started getting clever."

Camber is referring to the relatively new practice of stuffing banana skins with rags, old newspapers and other items to make them appear as if they are fully loaded. "They can be quite ingenious," she told us. "I've seen bananas with just half an inch of fruit at either end and a spring in the middle, keeping them apart and providing tension. They are getting more and more inventive and, to be honest, it's got to the point where we all get really excited when we open up a new one, because we're never certain what we're going to find. My colleague found a little plastic aeroplane in one the other day. He was well chuffed."

It might sound quite harmless, if somewhat irritating, but recent events have changed all that. Rogue banana merchants have started using compressed air in their 'nanas, and this is causing considerable concern.

"No one likes a floppy banana," Mrs Camber said. "So in order to make them sufficiently rigid they are inflated to pressures way beyond their natural tolerance. It only takes one faulty seam to give way and whump! Bananageddon! We've been lucky so far; no one's been hurt. But only the other day we heard about a banana going off in a fruit bowl in Devizes that took out two pomegranates and a plumb, so it's really only a matter of time."

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02 September 2017

Orchestra Exchange

The Hallé Orchestra is the latest big name to sign up for the international musician exchange programme, which sees bands, quartets, ensembles and orchestras swapping members in the spirit of musical fellowship. The scheme was designed to boost best practice, spread ideas and promote universal harmony, and has already produced some interesting results.

For instance, nobody was quite prepared for the sight of an elderly glockenspiel player on stage with a Swedish thrash metal group. And onlookers at a recent display of traditional English Morris dancing were delighted that the event was enlivened by the addition of a Theremin wrangler.

Of course, some people have done better out of the scheme than others, as evidenced by the Lancashire brass band who paired up with the BBC Concert Orchestra and managed to trade their third cornet for a tuba , two trombones and a kettle drum. Audiences have reportedly remarked that they go nicely with the string section that they got from the National Philharmonic last year.

Exchange Rates

(Figures correct as of September 2017)

10 Triangles = 1 Accordion
10 Accordions = 1 Trumpet
10 Trumpets = 1 Baby grand piano
10 Baby grand pianos = 1 Wurlitzer
10 Wurlitzers = Whitesnake

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01 September 2017

Mr Forage and His Newts

In a landmark legal ruling today, Adam Forage, a waiter from Newcastle, was found to have been unfairly dismissed for refusing to shave off his beard.

"I think that this is an absurd miscarriage of justice," said restaurant owner Ally Faggot. "Mr Forage's beard was long, unkempt and dirty, and customers constantly complained that it was dangling in their soup or uncomfortably brushing their necks as he leaned over to collect their crockery. Frankly, it was a health and safety shitstorm - not only was it unbelievably filthy, but other staff were forever tripping over the damn thing as it trailed across the floor. We shall certainly be appealing this ridiculous decision."

What makes this case so unusual was that the tribunal found in favour of Mr Forage not because the demand to remove his beard was discriminatory or a breach of his human rights, but rather because there was, and still is, a small colony of rare newts living in it.

"My client decided some little time ago, most magnanimously I feel, to provide a haven for these poor, defenceless creatures," announced Mr Forage's lawyer, Vincent Squeeze. "I hope you will excuse my rather emotional state, but the fact is that I have rarely, if ever, witnessed such a selfless and noble act. In giving a home to these distressed and bewildered newts - orphans, I might add - my client has not merely brought joy and security to these simple creatures, but he has at the same time shown us all what it is to be compassionate, to be honourable and decent. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Forage has shown us what it is to be human. And yet, rather than lauding this extraordinarily altruistic deed, my client's employers have instead set out to persecute and vilify him. Shame! Shame! Shame, I say! It has been a distressing and uncertain time for all of us who have taken an interest in Mr Forage and his newts, and for everyone who cares about protecting the fauna of our nation. But I am pleased to report... nay, relieved to report that the tribunal has seen sense and agreed that the habitat of these endangered animals must be protected. Amen."

In fact the tribunal agreed on no such thing. They found no reason to suppose that Mr Forage's beard was a site of special scientific interest, but granted it a stay of execution on the technical ground that it couldn't be destroyed without first serving the newts two months' notice to quit.

This newt will not be moved
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10 August 2017

Usherette Misses Out on Award Again


"It's blatant discrimination. Nothing more, nothing less. That award should have been mine." So said Candice Floss in a hastily convened press conference in the community centre yesterday. Miss Floss, part time drama student and full time usherette at the Gaumont Theatre and Bingo Hall, was referring to her disappointment at once more missing out on the Best Supporting Artist Oscar at this year's Academy Awards for her sterling work selling ice creams in the lobby.

"Tell me where it says that I actually have to be in the film in order to win and award?" the tearful Miss Floss was reported to have demanded. "Go on, where? I'm an important figure in the film world. I contribute significantly to movie-goers' enjoyment. It's only right that I should expect my talent to be recognised, and yet the judging panel continues to shun me on the wafer-thin pretext that 'they've never heard of me'."

"I think Candice has a valid point," said Stinky Keith who works on the popcorn stand. "She is brilliant at selling ice creams. She hardly ever drops them and she has a really lovely smile. I too know what it is to be shunned for no adequate reason - in my case it's a mild body odour problem which everyone blows way out of proportion. I feel that we are kindred spirits, Candice and me, and I hope that one day she will overlook my hardly noticeable aroma issues and consent to go out with me."

Readers wishing to know more about Miss Floss's remarkable career to date can read the full interview in tomorrow's Evening Telegraph, right next to the story about the man from the butcher's who has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his tax return and beneath an item about a woman who is teaching her horse to knit.

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07 August 2017

Selling Crap for Fun and Profit

"There are days when I strongly suspect that my grandfather was some kind of simpleton." There is a profound note of dismay in Linda Grantleigh's voice as she makes this confession; almost shame, in fact, that she should be of the same bloodline. As the chief executive of Grantflox she's earned the right to her opinion, turning the struggling firm that her grandfather founded in the sixties into a thriving international concern.

"I remember him from my childhood," she recalls. "This portly, sweaty man looming over us wearing fake plastic fangs and googly-eyed glasses, thinking all the while that he was being terribly amusing. I may have been only six but even then I could see that he lacked vision."

Cheap novelties and wacky gimmicks were not just Peter Grantleigh's passions, they were the foundations on which he built his business. Grantleigh's Goofs, as the company was originally called, first fired up its production lines in 1963. It soon cornered the sizeable - if not entirely lucrative - market in disappointing tat. Remember all those ads in the back of comics and Sunday supplements for x-ray specs, fake scars and garlic chewing gum? Chances are you were looking at a Grantleigh product. And no doubt you've had more than one Christmas dinner that was brought low by crackers containing impossible puzzles, a pathetic clip-on moustache or a weird plastic 'mood fish' - all thanks to Grantleigh's Goofs.

"My grandfather managed to scrape a living, just about," Linda said. "His business model was based on pocket money, quite literally. He was selling junk to schoolkids in return for pennies - fake noses, nails through fingers, that kind of thing. He used to say that it wasn't about the money, it was about bringing joy to people's lives. He was a moron.

"When my father took over the business he carried on along the same lines, but at least he had no illusions about it. He knew it was a crock of shit but he had other interests - mainly gambling, drinking, other men's wives and anything else that would get him out of the house."

Initially Linda had no interest in the family business but a chance encounter at a workplace reactualisation seminar changed her mind. "The company I worked for were always sending me on bullshit stuff like that. I had no idea what 'workplace actualisation' was, still don't, but I always put myself forward because they usually laid on a good lunch. And it was a chance to arse about for the day, of course; but when it comes to arsing about we've got nothing on the charity sector. These sessions are usually crawling with them and at this particular one I met someone from the Association for Distressed Cattle who had been working on a bovine relocation project, or something equally ridiculous She showed me this key ring in the shape of cow that had the charity's logo on it. Well, I mean, it was shit, obviously - but apparently they'd ordered thousands of them and it had cost them a bloody fortune. And that was my lightbulb moment."

Linda took over the company and transformed it, almost overnight, from an antiquated factory producing useless tat for schoolkids to a modern, international business producing much-needed tat for the charity sector.


"Balloons, key rings, shopping trolley tokens, mouse mats - you name it, if it's pointless, tacky and it's got their name on it, they'll lap it up. I think some of those people really do believe that a customized coaster can help accomplish their charitable objectives; that a balloon on a stick can change people's lives. 'Raising awareness' they call it. Apparently, people who don't have a roof over their heads need to be made aware that they're homeless."

Grantflox certainly do nothing to disabuse their customers of this notion. In fact, they have a dedicated promotional team which advises charities on exactly what item of frivolous bric-a-brac will best get their message across. Who knew that a calendar is the best way of providing support for sufferers of muscular dystrophy, or that a branded pen is the first step to housing rough sleepers? And Grantflox's fortunes continue to soar.

"We did get worried a few years back, " Linda admitted. "There was a big clampdown on public spending, charities were expected to do more with less and we thought that this would seriously impact our business. Thankfully most of them decided to cut the money they put into frontline services in order to maintain their spending on promotional items. It's that kind of foresight that means we still have jobs today."

mouse mats lottery scratchers
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Blog Index

Archive 1

February 2001
- July 2003

Anti-Assertiveness Classes

"Put a lid on it..."

Flying Squirrels

"Flying into the side of a house at forty knots..."

The Price of Politeness

"A law firm has obtained the rights to politeness..."

Pop-Up Royals

"Running a Royal Family will set you back £20M a year in hay alone..."





"The caverns were closed to the public for their annual hosing down..."

The Detangulator

"Unlock the hidden power of tangled wires..."


"Dramatic increase in the number of people being attacked by monsters..."

Maisy Donnington's Guide to Perking Yourself Up

"You're a miserable old sourpuss..."


Post Nuns

Nuns to be installed in post offices.

Occuloid Laserprobe

The latest in laser eye surgery

A Very Local Paper

The word on the street

Darrens on the Decline in Essex

Garys are taking over.

Skippy's Opera

The sound of fury


Piscine intelligence

  Hollywood Sandwiches

Lunches of the rich & famous

Cosmos Rocks

A Universe of Geological Treasures

Urban Fox Hunting

21st century pest control

Munchy Burger

Application Form Part B

Professional Scarer
Kicking and Screaming

Prologue: Peanuts

You Don't Have to be Mad to Work Here...

Machiavelli Management Solutions

The Bleeding Obvious

Exploding Dogs

Baby's First Swear

Scrufty's Magic Juju Shop


Empire of the Flowers


Mrs Wilberforce and the River

Epilogue: Persons Unknown

Board Meeting Goldilocks and the Free Bears Death Doom and Disaster Tall Story in a Short Glass Venus by Catapult Barry Buys a Broom
The History of Rock
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