This week we look at Tourettes
Get cash fast!
Fantastic frogular frog facts
Punching singers in the mouth
Preserving the nation's heritage
Get those wonky flappers fixed
Documents have emerged to suggest that in the 1980s the UK Government was considering selling off its stake in the North Sea. The United Kingdom has owned a 12 mile strip of the sea bordering its coast since George III won it in a poker game in 1798. Initially very pleased with his new acquisition, the mad monarch spent many a happy hour paddling in the shallows, before finally becoming bored and gifting it to the nation.
Not that the nation particularly wanted it - most people felt that they already had quite enough water as it was and they had no use for any more of the stuff. It was too salty to drink, too wet to burn and anybody venturing into it for recreational purposes usually found that they were rapidly chased out again by stroppy prawns. It was only with the discovery of oil and gas deposits that the North Sea began to have any value, but by 1982 there were concerns that dwindling reserves would soon put an end to this bounty.
Various schemes were put forward at that time, including turning it into a giant ice rink, filling it with Alka Seltzer to create a National Jacuzzi, and painting it green and calling it 'Arthur'. In the end a wealthy buyer was found in the Middle East who was interested in shipping it out to Saudi Arabia and using it to wash his fleet of Rolls Royces. The deal ultimately fell through following objections from Norway who feared that once the UK chunk of sea was removed, their bit would fall into the gap left behind.
Nevertheless, it has emerged that a sale is once more being considered - rumour has it that a private consortium in Central America has expressed an interest in using it to build an extension to the Gulf of Mexico.
Gud evening. My name is Sir Ronald Wiley and I'm speeking to you today on be half of SWAPS, the Society for People Who are Persecuted for having a Poor Command of English. As you can see, we're not too clever with acronyms either. Hear at SWAPS we reckernise the difficulties that many people have communicating in a world dominated by text massaging, the internet and soshul media. Many of our members find that they are pillowried on message boreds and internet flora because of mispelings, the inappropriate erection of words, or bad grandma.
I'm sorry. Of course, I mean bad grammar. But, let's be honest, that's not to say that bad grandmas don't sometimes play a part.
You see, the trubble is that sum individuals can very quickly loose the respect of their piers if they cannot explode themselves properly using the collect English. Sometimes this is because they get confused about the pacific meenings of simulant sounding words. Sometimes they are unshore about the spelllings of particulate long words and resort to improvizashun. And sometimes they just can't be asped.
This isn't necessarily popple's fault. English is a difficult sandwich to master and many popple struggle to make themselves understood when communicating with other popple. Even I do, and I'm very much a popple person. Take for example the apostrofee. The apostraphee is particulate difficult to get the hung of becuss it has a number of diffident uses. For example, many popple apostate plurals when they should really be prostrating contractions and possessive nouns, prononouns and prononononouns. This can lean to contusion. Sorry, to confusion. And also - in some cases - to contusion.
Take for example the following sentense: "Marys husbands left his plum's out in the rain." How many husbands does Mary have? And what was left out in the rain? All we know is that it belonged to some plums. Of course, what it should have said was: "Mary's husband's left his plums out in the rain" and we can only speculate what consequence this might have had on they're marriage.
Sorry, that should of read 'on there marriage'.
At SWAPS, are mission is to campaign for a greater misunderstanding of this terrable afflickshun. Wer'e asking popple to be moor intolerant of those popple, less unfortunate than themselves, who are uncapable of not understanding... or inderstanding... or even overstanding... what it was that I started talking about in the fost place. In short, we would like popple too bee more forgiving of errers in spooling, punctuashun and grandma. Only then can we enshur that we create a level playing fuel and become a fairy society for all.
Once again we find ourselves the unintended recipients of a missive from the formidable Mrs Edna Womble. This time there seems to have been a mix up over a talent show.
Dear Mr Cowell
I hope this letter finds you well, although I have to tell you that as I write I am far from happy myself. My problem concerns a series of unfortunate events which took place at an audition for your top TV programme, Britain's Got Talented Singers. I have to say we were all quite excited to learn that your show was coming to our neck of the woods, particularly since our family is blessed with someone whose abilities as an entertainer are renowned in our neighbourhood. Indeed, his fame extends as far as the local laundromat, where he can frequently be found exhibiting himself to the passing public on a Friday night, after the youth club has finished.
I speak, of course, of my nephew and it was with no little pride that last Tuesday I escorted him along to your chosen venue, the Assembly Rooms in Market Street. Obviously, I had phoned ahead to let you know that he was on his way. I was unable to speak to you personally - I appreciate that you must have been busy doing your hair or choosing trousers or something. Instead I got through to someone called 'reception', which I assume is a code word for your personal assistant. This gentlemen responded to my instructions with a series of grunts which at the time I assumed signalled his understanding. But oh no, clearly not.
On arrival it became horribly apparent that we were not expected and rather than being whisked through the VIP entrance we were instead invited to queue up with all the other 'hopefuls'. What followed was a four hour wait in the company of various persons of somewhat questionable abilities: pale, pimply youths clutching guitars, middle-aged crooners in sweat-stained satin shirts, teenage girls with too little clothing and too much makeup, fat jugglers, shabby conjurors, annoying children and a gentlemen not too many years short of eighty who did something frightful with three balloons and a tin of furniture polish. Had my nephew not been the consummate professional that he is, this experience may very well have unsettled him. As it is, we are prepared to accept that this was down to a breakdown in communications and trust that it will not be repeated when he is a star.
Having endured these diverse indignities, it eventually came down to our turn and we were led through to the performance 'space', as I believe you showbiz people like to call it. Naturally, I accompanied my nephew, despite the advice of a bony young girl with a clipboard who tried to persuade me otherwise.
I have to say, it's not at all like it is on the telly, is it? For a start, there was no stage, as such - just a small room with a grotty brown carpet and wonky looking furniture. No lights, no curtains, no set and no Ant and Dec. I suppose you put all that on afterwards using CGI, yes? Anyway, there the three of you were, sat in front of us. I don't know which one was you - you all look very different in real life, don't you? Obviously you weren't the young woman who was constantly on the phone - although I noted that my nephew was quite taken by her, if his dreamy-eyed expression was anything to go by. And I don't think you were the balding man in the Iron Maiden t-shirt, eating crisps. So I guess you were the bored-looking elderly fellow, picking his nose.
Anyway, following a preliminary chat you invited my nephew to begin. I, of course, am no stranger to his work, but I have to be honest and say that I believe this was the finest performance that he had ever given. If I might jog your memory, his act consists of whistling a medley of songs by the composer and broadcaster Mr Howard Goodall, famous for many TV sitcom theme tunes. Beginning with the theme from Red Dwarf, the routine then explores a choral riff from The Vicar of Dibley, before proceeding to audience favourite Blackadder then finally bowing out with the jingle from the Moonpig.com advert. I don't believe that this last piece is actually one of Mr Goodall's compositions, but it provides a suitable finale to the set and always brings the house down when my nephew does it at the miners' welfare on Saturday nights. I stood up and applauded loudly, as I'm sure you remember. Or perhaps you don't, since you were evidently unmoved by the performance and far more absorbed in what you had recently excavated from your left nostril as you waved us away with a mumbled 'no thank you' and called for the next act.
Oh Mr Cowell! Would you have treated Unglebert Humperkink in such a fashion? Would you have waved Keith Harris and Orville away without so much as a by-your-leave? Can you not see star quality when it is paraded in front of your very eyes? I was shocked to the point of speechlessness by your rejection and such was my rage that I could do nothing but storm out of the room, returning only to collect my nephew who was trying to attract your young colleague's attention by licking her face - an action which did little to divert her from the phone conversation which continued to hold her attention throughout.
Time has passed, my anger is diminished and I am prepared to overlook this snub as a misunderstanding. I hope that you too have had time to reconsider and have seen that there is indeed a place within the current showbiz pantheon for a young man who can whistle television theme tunes non-stop for up to twelve minutes. I await the opportunity to discuss the details of his contract at your earliest opportunity.
Mrs Edna Womble
It was with great excitement that Apple announced the impending launch of its new iSpong. We caught up with Ken Probably who spared us a few moments of his valuable time to answer some of the burning questions that technophiles the world over are dying to ask.
So, tell us, what exactly can the iSpong do?
Well, everything that a regular spong can do, of course, but with internet connectivity and full data backup. We're really excited about the whole project.
What advantages will it have over traditional spongs?
Oh this is really exciting. It can be linked to your phone or to your computer at home and give real-time feedback. This is something that has never been done before and we think that it has real potential for totally changing the way that people spong in the future.
This isn't the first time someone has tried to improve on traditional manual spongs. How will this device be different?
Previous electronic spongs were cumbersome, unwieldy and prone to go off unexpectedly. The iSpong has solved many of these problems. It's smaller, it's sleeker and it has a little blue flashing light at the end.
Who is your target audience? Is it aimed at hardcore spongophiles?
We're thinking, initially, of traditional early adopters - those same people who were quick to get on board with the iTwunt and the iFlob. But we hope to create a groundswell of interest and reach people who may never previously have considered owning a spong of any sort.
Do you expect to meet with any resistance from the sponging community?
We hope they will see that the iSpong compliments their regular sponging activities rather than competing. But while we can see the iSpong being used as a training or demonstration aid in professional sponging, I can't imagine it replacing the traditional competition spongs made from walnut, granite or lard.
It was recently rumoured that Microsoft are in the process of developing a Windows Spong. Do you see this as being a serious competitor for your product?
Well, I can't really comment on what they may or may not be doing. Ultimately, of course, any kind of competition is good for the market. But I can't really comment. Anyway, I gather they've had some trouble with the operating system. But, as I say, I can't really comment.
So you see the iSpong being an important brand for you going forward?
We think it has that potential, yes. In fact, we're in the early stages of planning iSpong2, which will have advanced GPS capabilities and an extra cup holder.
That's great. So finally - probably the most important question - will it be available in any other colours?
Yes. Yes it will.
Grateful thanks to Ken Probably for answering our questions, and for the loan of the trousers.
Movie fans set the internet ablaze yesterday when it was announced that Christian Bale is to play the eponymous hero in the new Mr Bean reboot. Bean Legacy will start shooting next month and promises to take the franchise in a new and exciting direction. "This is something that I've wanted to do for some time," said director Quentin Parks. "I grew up watching Mr Bean as a kid, but I always thought that there was a darkness lurking behind that gawky, clumsy exterior. You realise that what you're watching is a wounded and damaged soul that can only really find peace by venting his frustration in fighting crime and wreaking vengeance on those who sought to destroy him."
The new Bean promises to be very different to Rowan Atkinson's comic original. Gone are the tweedy suits, the battered teddy bear and the clapped out Mini. Instead, Bean will have moulded Kevlar body armour, a secret lair packed with surveillance equipment and a specially designed 'Beanmobile'.
Meanwhile, Bale is eagerly anticipating bringing his interpretation to the screen. "Yeah, this character Bean," he told us. "I think I understand the guy. We've talked about it a lot. We've workshopped it. And yeah - I totally get him. He's a loner. He feels that society has passed him by. But there's something that drives him - I don't know what you'd call it. A sense of justice, maybe. An anger that needs to be quenched. Whatever. I just totally know that he is he kind of guy who spends his nights stalking the lawless street of Gotham - or wherever - protecting the weak and helpless, taking down the bad guys. No question."
The movie is expected to hit cinemas next summer and pundits are already debating how it will perform against next year's other big hitter Teletubbies: Rise of the Machines.
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Roly Coconut pays a visit
Courtesy of the ladies of Melton Mowbray
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"Hey kids! Get off the road...."
"Anyone can learn to act, or paint, or dance..."
Where's My Pen? is the latest in a long line of game shows to gain cult appeal. The daytime show sees ten contestants battle it out to find the location of a missing biro. Has it slipped down the back of the sofa? Is it in the drawer? Maybe it's in the fridge? The combination of skill, deduction and sheer guesswork has made the show an instant hit, particularly amongst students. Now the BBC is set to capitalise on its success by making a primetime version of the show, featuring minor celebrities and a more expensive pen.
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Stuffed with new material and old favourites, Recalled to Life is 280 pages of plumptiousness and very probably exactly what you need to prop up that wonky old table in the kitchen.
Find out more here.
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2015, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.