11 December 2019
The History of Rock

Ricky Stratocaster's Forgotten Heroes

Not everyone makes it into the hallowed halls of rock and roll fame, but a few have their brief fifteen minutes. Here we take a moment to remember some of those who have been forgotten along the way.

Roy Pannick
Lead singer with The Flying Trifles

The Flying Trifles poster

If you were around in Sheffield in March 1965, you'll know all about The Flying Trifles. They were everywhere: every newspaper, every club, every radio station. They were even guests of honour at the opening of a new branch of Wimpy. According to industry insiders, The Trifles were considered the next Beatles, but then this was the '60s and every group was considered the next Beatles at some point. It was inevitable, therefore, that by the following month they had been completely forgotten.

The band struggled on for another couple of years in the face of mounting apathy before they decided to call it a day. Lead singer Roy Pannick continued as a solo performer for a little while, becoming the warm up act for the likes of the Kinks and Herman's Hermits and driving the crowds wild as he stood in front of the microphone and went 'One, two. One, two. One, one, one. Two, two. One two'. One Two was even released as a single and became a minor hit, but the follow-up, Three Four, failed to chart.

These days you will find Roy working the afternoon shift and the EasySaver Megamart, near Sheffield bus terminus, where he is quite happy to take a break from stacking shelves to chat, reminisce about the old days and sign the occasional packet of Cornflakes.

Sim Rekrap
One-fingered keyboard player with synth-pop outfit Toasted Arcade

In describing Sim Rekrap as a one-fingered keyboard player, I am of course referring to the fact that he played the instrument with one finger, not that he only had one finger to play it with. According to a 1983 interview published in Smash Hits, his signature playing style meant that it left his remaining fingers free to do other things during a performance. Sim did not elaborate on what those other things were.

In the same interview, Sim revealed that his real name was Simon Parker, and that he had cleverly devised his stage name by reversing the letters of his surname. How he came up with the name for the band is less easily explained and the origins of 'Toasted Arcade' remain a mystery to this day. In fact, these days Sim is reluctant to talk about his former life as a pop star at all. He currently scrapes a living as a taxi driver in Nottingham, where you will most likely find him working Friday and Saturday nights. He may not be particularly chatty, but you will be pleased to know that he still has the mullet.

Davy Bottles
Seventies Teen Idol

Glitterball Gangshow poster

Davy Bottles might be a name that is familiar to you, since he has had two bites of the fame cherry. As a seventies teen idol he had a run of hits including Girl, Let Me Carry Your Satchel, Schoolyard Romance and Peppermint Kiss. His wholesome, boy-next-door good looks and his cheeky smile ensured he was always in the pages of teen magazines and his posters were on every young girl's bedroom wall. He even made movies, including Glitterball Gangshow in which he played a teen pop star, Spangled Dreamland in which he played a teen pop star, and Ballroom Berserkers in which he played a fish porter, who wanted to be a teen pop star.

But by 1976 the bubble had burst, the records had stopped selling and Davy filed for bankruptcy. He disappeared from view but re-emerged into the public eye in 1996 when, now pursuing a career as a full time actor, he appeared as a regular in EastEnders, playing a fat, balding pornographer. He had a successful eight-month run in the show, but his career stalled once again after he left.

These days you can still find him performing in small theatres and holiday resorts as part of seventies nostalgia shows, but the image of the fat, balding pornographer from EastEnders performing sugary pop ballads like Schoolyard Romance is one that audiences find difficulty in acclimatising to.

Seymour Tonker
Britpop banjo

You've probably heard of Blur. What you probably don't know is that one of their founding members was Seymour Tonker and that their music was originally considerably more 'banjo-y'. It was the combination of Seymour's hectic plucking style and Damian Albarn's soulful accordion work that first brought them to the attention of audiences.

Nevertheless, the band's first record deal only came about on the understanding that Seymour left the instrument at home. Seymour resisted and record company boss Milton P Wodehouse pressured the band into firing him. (Wodehouse, you may recall, is the same man who got rid of the glockenspiel player from Keane.)

So Seymour Tonker was out of the band and Britpop took a very different course as a result - being a mainly guitar-based movement with minimal banjo input. Seymour himself is quite philosophical about it. These days he runs a pub in Chester but if you ask him nicely he's more than happy to whip his banjo out for a quick pluck.

Carole Parsons
Disco sensation

Boogie Oogie Woogie lp

Or rather, Dr Carole Parsons. Little did Carole know, back in 1978 when she released her first single Bip Bip Bip Bippity Bop, that she would one day become a highly respected psychoanalyst whose extremely expensive services would be sought by film stars, celebrities and many of the performers she once shared the charts with.

That first single was a huge hit and was quickly followed by other notable, if lyrically stunted, successes, including Rubba-Dubba Doo Doo, Wim Bam You're the Man and Oopsy Doop (Slight Return). Dr Parsons has dismissed any suggestion that she is embarrassed by the seemingly juvenile output of her former career. Those songs are classic expressions of our inner child, untainted by societal norms, and as such they provide a vital link to the deepest parts of our subconscious and allow for a cathartic re-evaluation of our neuroses.

That's what she says, anyway, and she's got the certificates so who am I to argue?

Jeremy Bellowes-Harpic
Reality TV Star

Two years ago, Jeremy Bellowes-Harpic was everywhere, following his appearances in the popular constructed reality show Posh Wankers in Chester. Basking in the glow of all this media attention, it was only a matter of time before the gormless simpleton decided that there was no way that an acute lack of talent was going to prevent him from realising his dream of becoming a pop star.

His one and only release was both immediately forgettable and an instant hit, and was enough to give him another two years of appearing on cooking programmes, game shows and mid-morning magazine shows. He can still occasionally be found doing nightclub appearances and opening car showrooms, and most people's reaction when he is announced is, quite rightly, "Who?"

Mr Piggles
Fluffy pink one hit wonder

Freddies Family Fun Time

I'm sure we can all remember the naughty pink sock puppet from the popular Saturday evening show Uncle Freddie's Family Fun Time. Laughs aplenty. And you must remember the novelty hit The Piggle Song. Of course you do, it was number one for five weeks in 1987 and no one could get the bloody thing out of their heads.

But did you ever stop to wonder what happened to Mr Piggles when Uncle Freddie was thrown in prison as a result of Operation Yewtree? Well the people who bought Uncle Freddie's house, after the police had finished with it, found the puppet stuffed down the back of a radiator. They cleaned it up, thoroughly, then put it up for auction on eBay.

Now, I know what you're thinking: who would want to buy a creepy, threadbare puppet from an embarrassingly awful 1980s light entertainment show? Well, nobody - nobody would, which is why the people who found just stuffed it back down behind the radiator again.

Fred Forelock
The oldest rocker on the block

In 1981 Fred Forelock was a 72-year-old ex-miner who had a novelty hit with The Oldest Rocker on the Block. Today he is a 23-year-old insurance broker from Brighton. Go figure.

Caveat Emptor
Rock and roll royalty

If I were to ask you where legendary rock band Caveat Emptor are now, then your answer would probably be that they're still going strong and about to embark on yet another farewell tour. You're right, of course: the group, which started in the late sixties, is still rocking out today. But people often wonder what happened to the original line up.

Caveat Emptor's founding members were Rob Rhomboid, Daryl Spike, Lionel Carpets and Colin Findus. This version of the band lasted until 1976 when Rob Rhomboid left due to molecular differences. He was replaced by Jimmy Piccalilli. Colin Findus left the following year and was replaced by Timothy Spall (not the actor). This iteration of the group remained stable until 1988 when both Jimmy Piccalilli and Lionel Carpets decided to ship out, following separate but entirely unrelated pogo stick accidents. They were replaced by Hugo Truffaut and Sir Maurice Crumple respectively.

It soon became apparent that Truffaut and Daryl Spike really didn't get on and both announced their departure, each unaware that the other had also quit the band. Truffaut was replaced by Rob Rhomboid. Remember him? Yep, he'd been there at the start, as had Colin Findus, who also returned to the fold.

In 1998, Timothy Spall (not the actor) departed after, ironically, landing his first acting job. He was replaced by Davy Bottles, former teen heartthrob. Then, in 2001, Sir Maurice Crumple, now Lord Crumple of Windermere, left to take up a seat in the House of Lords. He was initially replaced by Colin Findus, but this was problematic since Findus was already in the band. However, following a chance encounter in Burger King, the band's manager learnt that Daryl Spike was once more available. After leaving Caveat Emptor he and Hugo Truffaut had unwittingly joined the same band once more, and both had promptly left again. Daryl accepted Caveat Emptor's invitation to return.

Finally, in 2004, Davy Bottles quit the band in order to spend more time with his tortoise, and was replaced by original member Lionel Carpets.

So, in summary, if you want to know where the original line up of Caveat Emptor are today, the answer is pretty much back where they started.

Freddies Family Fun Time


Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

10 December 2019

Toaster Awareness

Mr Topps:

Ah Ms Perkins, thank you for coming to see me. I hope I haven't dragged you away from anything important.

Ms Perkins:

Oh no, Mr Topps. It was no trouble.


Please call me Tony.


Yes Mr Topps. Thank you Mr Topps. And please continue to call me Perkins.


Thank you Perkins. Now, Perkins, you've been with us at Topps Toasters for six months, is that correct?


Yes, six glorious months. That's right. Six wonderful, glorious months. Oh yes.


Good. Settled in okay?


Oh yes, absolutely. I should say so. Marvellous.


Very good. Well look, I'll come straight to the point. When we took you on we were looking for a dynamic, innovative individual who could significantly increase sales of our toasters. We had many, many applicants and we chose you.


And I'm very grateful, Mr Tony. I think you made the right choice.

When was the last time you used a toaster?


Our toaster sales have gone down, Ms Perkins.


Yes, I had heard that sales had dipped slightly.


'Plummeted' was the word that our sales director employed. What exactly have you done to my business, Perkins?


Okay, well, I admit that so far my influence may have been negligible, but -


Not negligible - negative, Perkins. Do you realise how much this is damaging me? Do you realise how many ex-wives I have to keep? What have you been doing?


I've been raising awareness, Mr Tony.


Raising awareness?


Yes, raising awareness of your toasters. Raising awareness is kind of my thing. When I worked at the council I raised awareness of obesity. When I worked at a charity I raised awareness of homelessness. I'm now raising awareness of toasters.

Toasters - you can't make toast without them.


Right... Perkins, this is your first proper job, isn't it?


Oh no, first I worked at the council, then I worked -


Yes, but this is your first proper job. A job where you actually have to, you know, produce results.


I don't follow you, Mr Sir.


Well, it's like this, Perkins. We make toasters.


I'm aware of that sir. And now, thanks to my efforts, many more people are aware of it too.


Don't interrupt, Perkins. We make toasters. But making toasters isn't enough to keep us all in bread and jam. We also have to sell the toasters. Do you understand?


I... no, I don't think I do.


Well, all right, think back to when you last bought a toaster.


I don't own a toaster, sir.


Well all right, something else. A kettle.


Ah yes, I own a kettle.


Good. Andy why did you buy that kettle?


Because I was aware of kettles, Mr Tony sir. I was aware of kettles, so I bought a kettle.

Over 4000 toasters go unused every day.


Ah yes - but you're also aware of toasters, and yet you haven't bought one of those.


Well, I don't like toast. And yet, in spite of my toast aversion, I have tried really, really hard. I have taken your toasters very seriously, honestly I have.


And I'm very glad that you've taken my toasters seriously. Any member of staff whom I suspected of treating my toasters frivolously would be sacked on the spot. But it's not enough.


Not enough?


Not nearly enough.


But I've been ever so busy distributing toaster keyrings, toaster balloons, toaster coasters -


Toaster coasters?


Toaster coasters. And we've given out thousands of trolley tokens. Trolley tokens are a guaranteed way of raising awareness. They worked when it came to raising awareness of obesity. They worked to raise awareness of homelessness.


And yet the world is still full of obese people and homeless people. Granted, you may have made those people more aware of that they are obese or homeless, but one might argue that they were fully aware of that already and didn't need you to come along and point it out.


I see... Yes... On the whole, then, what you seem to be saying is that I have wasted a big chunk of my life pursuing methods which are ultimately worthless and ineffectual.


It rather looks like that.

Toasters - you can't make toast without them.


Oh dear. I've just put in an order for eight thousand toaster wristbands. What do I with them?


I wouldn't like to say.


Right, well, if that's all I suppose I'd better go away and rethink my entire life.


Good idea.


And sir?


Yes Perkins.


Thank you for bringing this to my attention.


Get out.

Hey look, a toaster!


Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

08 December 2019

The Patagonian Sneezing Fish



Are you looking for a garden feature that will be the talk of all your friends?

The Patagonian Sneezing Fish is rapidly becoming a favourite addition to ponds as a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative to ornamental fountains. Born in early spring amongst some of the more inaccessible and windswept peaks of the Andes, the Patagonian Sneezing Fish catches a cold almost as soon as it is born. Coughing, snuffling, its eyes bulging and accompanied by near constant sneezing, it makes its way down to the streams and rivers that wind through the lower valleys.

"Their mass migration is an astonishing sight," says local fishologist Lola Mendez. "Thousands of the tiny silver creatures come tumbling down the mountainsides, spluttering, retching and making enough racket to blow your socks off. It's magical."

Their journey back up the mountainside at the end of the season is no less impressive, the plucky creatures harnessing the startling power of their stupendous sternutations to propel themselves back up the slopes to spawn.

You might think that it's no sort of life for a fish and, happily, so do they, which is why many of them would much rather take up residence in the back garden water features of pretentious people from Chichester, Kettering and Kingston Upon Hull. Here their natural sneezing abilities can be put to good use, creating intricate and fascinating water fountain displays.

Order yours now. Just £12.99 each or £59.99 for a pack of six.

Sneezing Fish

And not only that...

Think that a Patagonian Sneezing Fish fountain is just for decoration? Think again. The Patagonian Sneezing Fish is also a great security feature, as professional burglar and all round villain Toby Wallop can attest.

"I was going to knock off this place near Thetford," Toby tells us. "Smart little gaff, out of the way, like - quite promising. Well, I waited until it was quiet and then I was over the back fence and sneaking up to the back of the house to try my luck with the patio doors. Suddenly, as I passed the fishpond, I heard a sudden wet sneeze and was showered with pond water and fish snot. Well I didn't hang about - I dropped my jemmy and my sack and I was out of there, pronto! It certainly taught me a lesson. No more housebreaking for me - from now on I'm going to stick to nicking cars, just like my daddy taught me."


Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

06 December 2019

Navy Admits to Floaty Boat Gaffe

Sunken boat

Royal Navy chiefs are facing embarrassment after taking delivery of a new frigate with a major flaw. According to official reports, the ship, which has cost the taxpayer something in excess of two hundred billion squillion pounds, cannot float.

"Yes, that was a bit of a goof," said Rear Admiral Sir Percy Funny-Surname. "Being a naval man, I am of course fully aware that one of the basic requirements of any seagoing vessel is that it should be able to float. I am not stupid. That was one of the first things they taught us at Rear Admiral School. The thing is, when we first went and spoke to the shipbuilding chaps they showed us this wonderful model floating in a display tank. We thought it was marvellous - all painted up nice with little people on the deck and everything. Of course, we placed our order straightaway. Thing is, that model was made of balsa wood; the real thing is made of steel, which as any naval man will tell you is far less floaty. Bit of an oversight on our part."

Critics, of whom there are many, blame the Royal Navy for not fully evaluating the contractor before placing the order. The company chosen to build the vessel, McKenzie's Crips, had no previous experience of shipbuilding, as their managing director freely admits.

"Well, we make crisps," explained Kerry Starch when we asked her to comment. "But we were keen to diversify. Our company has a 'can-do' attitude, and this is why we have come to dominate the crisp market. We were, after all, the company that introduced jam-flavoured crisps, so we figured that building a silly old boat was going to be a breeze."

Having a 'can-do' attitude is admirable but what this project demonstrated beyond all doubt is that what the company can't do is build boats. Kerry freely admits that they overreached themselves.

"I think the problem is that we're used to working with potato," she says. "Potato is very much our medium. If we'd been asked to build a boat out of potato I think to story would have been very different. But, alas, the navy specifically requested a frigate made out of steel. All things considered, I don't think we did badly. Yes, we had our setbacks - initially, whenever we put the boat in the water it sank. Then, when we stopped putting it in the water, it hardly ever sank at all. So really, you could say that the boat was fine and that it was the navy's fault for putting it in the water. I suppose. Couldn't you?"

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

02 December 2019

Tired of having to leave your favourite donkey leaning up against the shed, stuffed under the bed or wedged behind the sofa?

Dilbert's Donkey Storage Solutions

Heck, I know that I am - or rather I was until I heard about Dilbert's Donkey Storage Solutions. Now all my donkey storage dilemmas are taken care of, without resorting to all that messy business with ropes, polythene bags and blunt gardening tools. With a fancy new Donkey Storage Rack from Dilbert's you need never worry about where to stick your donkey ever again.

So, what's so special about Dilbert's Donkey Solutions?

Well, for one thing, Dilbert's really know their donkeys, and that's no real surprise. Company founder Dilbert Peewit was raised by a family of feral donkeys in the Atacama Desert. There he learned how to how to trot like a donkey, how to speak the donkey language and how to nibble a carrot from the wrong end. He also mastered the dark art of donkey-jitsu, took a correspondence course in donkey shorthand and invented the donkey jacket. Growing tired of desert life and becoming increasingly irritated by the company of so many bloody donkeys, Dilbert decided to come to the Europe and seek his fortune in Aylesbury, just off the A41.

"It was a shithole," says Dilbert. "I haven't been back recently but I have no doubt that it still is. Sorry, but after the towering dunes and the majestic windswept vistas of the Atacama Desert, half a dozen crappy takeaways, a Poundland and a dodgy-looking betting shop really don't have any great appeal."

Nevertheless, it was here that Dilbert became aware of the appalling way that donkeys were being casually propped up against walls, chained to lampposts or wedged into bicycle racks. And he didn't like what he saw.

"No I didn't," Dilbert says. "Thank you very much. I was horrified by the way that my donkey brethren were being treated. As far as I could see, I had two options open to me. I could either help my donkey kinfolk to rise up against their oppressors, seize the reigns (yes, I said reigns) of power and grind humanity to dust beneath our almighty conquering hooves. Or I could come up with something with which I could cash in on the situation. I chose the latter option and now my house has two swimming pools, which is two more than I would have had had I chosen to foment rebellion."

What Dilbert invented was the Donkey Storage Rack, a fantastic space-saving innovation that has proven to be to greatest step forward in donkey management since the clockwork donkey inhibitor. The Donkey Storage Rack comes in many different colours, including green. You can also get them in a wide range of sizes, including extra-large, which means that even my friend Brendon now has somewhere that he can stick his massive ass.

And I'm not the only one who's bowled over with Dilbert Peewit's invention. Just listen to this self-satisfied old fart:

"I luuuurve my new Donkey Rack! It's so convenient and super smart. Now I don't have to worry about my donkey getting all creased and crumpled. And my donkey just adores it! At first I thought it might be overcome with existential donkey angst - you know, like they do. But, in fact, it's really taken to the Donkey Rack and these days it hardly ever tries to mash my brains to a pulp like it used to.

"And not only that! My Donkey Rack came with a free pig bucket. Yes, really - a pig bucket. It's great, although it does mean that I'm going to have to go and get a pig now."

Donkey rack

But hang on a minute, I hear you say. This Donkey Rack is all very well, but exactly how am I going to store my donkey when it's in transit? All right, calm down! What you need is the Donkey Car Rack. The Donkey Car Rack fits securely to the back of any medium-sized car and is the ideal solution if you want to take your donkey with you on holiday, to visit relatives or simply when the poor creature is too shagged out to walk. As a bonus, when it's not in use, the Donkey Car Rack can be transformed into a Car Donkey Rack, which, when fitted to your donkey, will allow it to carry any medium-sized car.

Impressed? That's nothing - wait till you see the Donkey Depot. The Donkey Depot is the perfect donkey accessory for anyone who has more than one donkey. This multi-donkey storage facility allows you to file away up to six donkeys for future use. The patented carousel mechanism means that it's quick and easy to select the right donkey whenever you need it.

So give Dilbert's Donkey Solutions a call now. Whatever your donkey dilemma, you can be sure that Dilbert's will have the solution.

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

Blog Index

Archive 1

February 2001
- July 2003

Sofas Are From Mars

"A sofa on the surface of Mars..."

Global Moistening

"We might see the major land masses becoming so squishy..."

Tax, What Tax?

"I'm nothing to do with this Winkle Holdings of which you speak..."

Vicars on the Job

"Doing the Lord's work..."




Emergency Kebabs

"New enterprise wins award..."

The Chipwriter

"Taking potato printing to a new level..."

One-Sided Dice

"New dice for fatalists..."


"Your complete security solution..."



The art of folding furniture.


Because an inflated slug is a happy slug

Criminal Offence Self-Assessment

Turn yourself in, sonny

Pernicious Phlegm

Legendary band to reform.

Atlantic McDonalds

New branch opens in ocean.


New Discovery Casts Light on Prophet's Death.

  Aromatron Pulse

21st century smell tech

Con Artistes

An industry under threat

World of the Wacky

With Mr Ooluv

Galactic Phrasebook

Spume pedals!

Arty Tomatoes
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

Golfing bird
The Hedgehog King 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
Extreme DinosaursTeaching Carrots to FlyStandard British NunsExtreme Dinosaurs
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All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2019, 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.


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