The Fly By Night Jazz Merchants have hit the road! Our stage costumes are packed, our banjos have been restrung and we're on our tour bus speeding towards our first gig in Doncaster. I say 'tour bus' but that is perhaps not the most accurate description of the vehicle in which we are hurtling towards fame and fortune. Tractor, would be a better word. And 'trundling' might be more precise than 'hurtling'.
In his defence, Itchy MacGyver said that getting hold of a tour bus would be ludicrously expensive. And they were all booked up anyway. And he was a meerkat, and most vehicle hire places refuse to deal with small mammals. Something to do with insurance, apparently. Tractors, he told us, were far cheaper - especially when you steal them.
It's getting us noticed, anyhow, especially as it still has the muck spreader on the back. They certainly won't forget us in the last town we drove through anyway, when Sniffy Pickles leaned forward, uttered those five magic words 'What does this switch do?' and it was suddenly raining manure all the way from the marketplace right the way down to WH Smith's. Blimey, these muck spreaders can really sling it out, can't they? I'm thinking of getting one for my cousin Trevor. I've never liked him.
Turns out that there is already a band called Deep Purple and they are massively litigious. This is a shame since we have already had all the posters printed and ordered the merchandise, including all the pens and baseball caps and trolley tokens and things. Instead, we have decided to call ourselves The Fly By Night Jazz Merchants, which means that we have to go all round the country, crossing out 'Deep Purple' on all our posters and writing out the new name in felt tip. When I say 'we', I mean me and Sniffy Pickles. Itchy MacGyver has to stay in the meerkat burrow, drinking fizzy pop and eating custard creams. He says this is because he is our de facto manager and he is required to stay by the phone in case we get an important booking.
Two problems with that. Firstly, I don't think I actually own a 'de facto', don't even know what one would look like, but I am pretty sure that I have never asked Itchy to manage it. Secondly, we don't have a phone. Of course, we can't really say anything, since as soon as we open our mouths to protest, Itchy hits us with a plank.
Still, the poster campaign was going well and it's good to get out and about. I got as far as Norwich before my felt tip ran out, but Itchy FedExed me a new one and I was soon able to carry on. This one is green, but it doesn't taste as nice as the old one. I have noticed that a lot of the time, someone has already scribbled on our posters before us. At first, I thought that this was other bands trying to get in on our act, but some of the words don't really sound like the names of other groups. In fact, they are more like the naughty words that you sometimes hear on the telly. I don't like to repeat them here, but they are things like 'bum', only much much worse. Anyway, I don't think that there is a group called 'Felch'.
I have formed a banjo band with my two meerkat mates and we are currently rehearsing ahead of a major national tour. Itchy MacGyver has said that we should start by touring small clubs and theatres before we tackle the big stadium gigs, because this will help us refine our act and gel as a band. Also, he didn't think many people were ready to pay money to watch two meerkats and a Norwegian cotton salesman playing banjos. Me and Sniffy Pickles agreed with him because Itchy is usually right about these things. Also, if we argue with him, he hits us with a plank.
But before all that, we have to think of a name for the band. We've had several ideas. At first I thought that we could call ourselves The Spanner Heads, because I quite like spanners and they are always useful things to have around. Sniffy then suggested we should call ourselves Baby Carrot, because people think babies are cute and everybody likes carrots, so the name would combine the best of two very different worlds, i.e. infants and vegetables. I disagreed as I personally do not like the taste of carrots and I have never eaten a baby, so I suggested that we should call ourselves The Sock Detectives instead, since having a sock detective around would be jolly groovy, especially if you are missing a sock.
At this point, Itchy hit us a both with a plank and said that we should call ourselves Deep Purple, so we're going with that.
You would have thought that a close-knit family of meerkats would not take kindly to the arrival of an escaped prisoner disguised as a Norwegian cotton wool salesman, but surprisingly I have been accepted into the group without too many awkward questions. I think this might be a good place to hide out until the heat is off.
In fact, I've been made to feel most welcome. They have brought food for me - mostly worms and grubs. Not very appetising, I must admit, and I later found out that they don't eat these themselves, preferring a diet of chips and fish paste sandwiches, but it's the thought that counts. I've also started to pick up some of their special skills and abilities, such as burrowing, standing on my hind legs* and playing the banjo. They really go for the banjo in a big way. I think it's because they are physically better suited to playing string instruments than, for example, brass. You try an imagine a meerkat playing a trombone. See what I mean - ridiculous, isn't it?
Anyway, I'm getting quite good with the old banjo, and me and two of the other guys - Sniffy Pickles and Itchy MacGyver - are talking about getting a band together and touring the folk clubs.
*Actually, I don't like to show off, but I could do this already.
We are at the zoo and I am helping Mr Crackers to measure elephant ears so that he can custom-build cotton buds for them. Cotton buds, of course have many many uses, such as... well, you can use them for... Well, whatever. The one thing you should definitely not use them for is cleaning your ears out, even though this is the only thing that anyone ever buys them for. There are much better ways of cleaning your ears out, though. I have this friend, Crispy Mathews, who regularly goes out in thunderstorms, climbs to the highest point he can find and waits to get struck by lightening so that it will blast all the wax out of his ears. It works, but it has worrying side-effects: these days he glows in the dark and he interferes with electrical equipment, so he's not allowed on aeroplanes and he's been banned from PC World.
Personally, I favour a bicycle pump and pipette-based device of my own construction, which does the job tolerably well, even if it does leave you with a slight ringing in the ears if you pump too fast. I suppose such a contraption would be unsuitable for an elephant, hence the giant cotton buds. My job today is to hold up the elephant's ear while Mr Crackers crawls underneath with a tape measure. We have to be very quiet so as not to startle the animal, but it's not the worse job you could have. Next door there is a man measuring a giraffe for a tie, and he's already fallen off his ladder twice.
When he had finished his measuring, Mr Crackers did some calculations and then asked me if I could supply him with four hundred tons of cotton wool. Well no, of course I couldn't, but I kept calm and told him that I would have to phone head office to get him a price. Then I ran off and hid in the meerkat enclosure.
"...flap... butterfly... earthquake... China..."
"Global fluff levels grow dangerously high..."
"Details emerge of Royal stair lift"
"Never be burnt alive by indecision again"
It were different in them days...
Across the Atlantic by land
Transport of the future
Death by appliance.
Nuns to be installed in post offices.
Knees of national importanceDeath Striker
Marketing a new diseaseThe Problem with Fairies
Dealing with fairy folkUrban Fox Hunting
21st century pest controlMore...
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2021, 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.
Get access to our library for just £1!
14 books for you to download, including all our annuals and the EXCLUSIVE members-only Private Bits.
Click Here to get your download link.
This 70-page PDF is packed full of silly stuff you won't find anywhere else.