Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Comedy

Monday December 23 2013

The weather today has been particularly vile.  Rain and wind in a horrid combination, far worse even than the day I took the first of these two pictures, of three of London’s Big Things.  So here, to cheer me up, is a picture of the same Big Things, from a bit nearer, and in nicer weather, taken in July:

image

These Big Things, in this random clump, fascinate me.  Architects have obsessed about the aesthetics of each individual Thing, but seem to have paid no attention at all to how they will look in a group.  They are just plonked down next to each other, like a child playing with bricks.

Well, it may be a bizarre aesthetic jumble, but partly because of this, no other city on earth has anything quite like it.

What is particularly unique about London’s Big Things is that they are funny.  They are tongue-in-cheek.  They’re havin’ a larf.

The names – affectionate rather than grandiose – reflect this air of comedy.  Gherkin.  Cheesegrater.  Walky-Talky.  These names are chosen by the people of London, not imposed upon us by our rulers.

Friday December 20 2013

I enjoyed this, which is the Daily Mash take on how cats “love any quirky and winsome humour associated with people”.

The piece concludes:

Cat Denys Finch Hatton said: “Our amusement at the eccentricities of human behaviour may be a way of switching off from our primal and sadistic natures which are obsessed by sex, killing and torture.

“Or maybe we’re just bored with our empty consumerist lives.”

To be a bit more serious, my understanding of cats is that they mostly look on us as giant domestic appliances, supplying food and warmth and strokes.  Seriously, machines that do these things seem equally attractive to them.

It’s dogs that are truly interested in people.  But dogs are goofy.

See also the Daily Mash view of the Ashes.

And, this is actually quite profound.

Friday December 13 2013

When tube drivers get above themselves and start doing stand-up comedy routines over the intercom during tube journeys, I find this nearly unbearable.  I think this is because, when on the tube, I go into a sort of trance, basically to cut out the din of the train, but comedy over the intercom makes that trance impossible to stay in.  I find myself listening carefully, despite myself, in case the exhibitionist failed comedian says something of importance, and with that, I am obliged to listen also to the train noise.  Horrible.

This (photoed yesterday by me at Embankment Tube Station), on the other hand, is not something I mind at all:

image

That’s right, platitudinous philosophical ruminations where there should be significant information about service interruptions.  But, it didn’t bother me.  In fact, I quite liked it.

Writing, as I recall writing in this piece (about how to argue), is a branch of good manners.  (In that I actually said “publishing”, but the point is identical.) This is because writing is easily ignored.  It puts the reader in control.

The same applies to blogging, in fact to the internet generally.  It isn’t an interruption.  You are in complete control of it.  Except when the damn thing starts making noises (like those damned tube comedians), that you have to spend ages tracking down the noise and switching it off.

Thursday December 05 2013

And not just any old telly.  BBC1, The One Show, no less, watched by millions. I was and I am impressed.  Watch Elena Procopiu in action 25m30s into it, here, while it’s still there.  (For future reference, this was on Tuesday December 3rd.)

Elena was born in Romania and did a piece to camera about Romania and about Romanians in England, entirely in a Romanian accent until right at the end, when she said in her regular English voice that lots of Romanians have been here for years.  Many Romanians have already seen this performance, on the www.  Some, who missed the bit at the end, were surprised that someone who has been in England for so long still has such a strong Romanian accent.  None said that the Romanian accent was not a proper Romanian accent, which is not that easy to get exactly right, if you no longer have such an accent.

Monday November 25 2013

Yes.  I spent my blogging time today fretting about the finishing of this.  So, no time to do much here.

But there’s an internet out there.

Here’s a very quick vid, of Kenneth Williams opining (which would be a good word for him to say) about specialisation.

And here’s a slightly longer bit of video, which is a snippet from one of my favourite science fiction movies.  An astronaut argues philosophy with a bomb.  I found it here.  And I do mean here.

Enjoy.

Wednesday October 23 2013

Photos mature with age.  The most commonplace snaps can turn into something a bit more interesting, with the passing of time.

Consider this one, one of the very first that I took with my Panasonic Lumix FZ150:

image

I know.  It’s a shop.

But the thing is, it’s now boarded up.  That photo was taken in January 2012.  In January 2013, this happened:

The administrators to Jessops face a battle to rescue any of the company’s 192 shops after leading camera makers tightened the terms on which they sell products to the company following a downturn in the market.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “Without the support of certain people, we are looking at complete closure.”

Jessops has since made a partial return to life, but so far, that Jessops, which is in Strutton Ground, near where I live, has remained shut.

In the years just before it closed it had an unbearably “helpful” shop assistant, who behaved like he’d been on some mad American training course in how to relate to customers.  He wouldn’t leave you alone, and instead would engulf you in loud, totally fake bonhomie.  I used to browse around in there from time to time, occasionally buying things like batteries and SD cards, and pondering my next camera.  But because of this person, I stopped going there.  Was I the only one, I wonder?

Talking of Strutton Ground, did you know that the Goon Show first saw the light of day in Strutton Ground?  Yes, on the top floor of the pub at the far end of it from me.  I saw this in a TV show about Spike Milligan.

I guess that’s probably more interesting than a Jessops closing.  I’ll see if I can dig out more photos of things that have changed, that are rather better than that one, taken longer ago.

Friday May 10 2013

imageHere.

Via here.

Saturday May 04 2013

Lunchtime O’Booze is the name given by Private Eye to a certain vintage of Fleet Street era (i.e. when they really all did work in or near to Fleet Street) journo.  One of these (now long retired) characters was staying with me earlier this week, kipping down on my sofa-bed to be precise.  Tony now lives in France, but he was over here for a few days, to participate in a lunch, with a dozen or more of his old Fleet Street cronies.

I met up with Tony on Sunday evening, and we dined out, very well.  Thanks to my twiddly screen, I was able to take photos of him like this, with the camera resting in the middle of the table, and me just looking down at it:

image image image

Tony looks rather like one of those South African type villains in The Saint, which I have been watching lately from time to time, waiting for the IPL to start on ITV4.

Next day, Tony departed for the lunch.  Ring me when it’s over, I said, maybe we can do something in the evening.  Nine hours later, Tony rings to say he’ll be back soon, and eleven hours later he is.  I feared drunken disruption.  Which I would have survived.  Tony has been very hospitable to me over the years.  But the evening ended very pleasantly.

To give you a further idea of what kind of lunch it was, here is a limerick, which Tony brought back from it:

An Argentine gaucho named Bruno
Said I’ll tell you something I do know
Girls are just fine
And boys are divine
But a llama is numero uno

And here is a photo, taken by someone else with Tony’s phone:

image

The big guy - a very big guy indeed - in the middle used to play prop forward for the Harlequins and is now a wine correspondent, the sort of bloke who has a special table in his home for drinking guests under.  The ultimate oh-stay-a-bit-longer-and-have-another-one bloke.  I think the guy on the right drives new cars for a living, in such places as the south of France, and then writes about them.  Certainly, someone of this kind was involved.

Do not ask men like this to drink and drive.  They just might do it.

A Fleet Street lunch
Funniest run out ever?
XXL?
Monkey Toast at the Leicester Square Theatre
Kissa yrittää mennä laatikkoon
This is transport
Jobs
BMdotCOM Headline of the week
Fate
I’m Charia Hebdo!
Adam Curtis skewered
Lion steals camera
Quota hedgehog sculpture
Does Kevin Pietersen have a weakness against bowlers?
Gordon Brown curses the United Kingdom
Collision photo
The politics of humour in the USA and in Britain
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom spam comment spelling mistake of the day
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom mixed metaphor of the day
Cricketology
Poetry
The Green alliance
A blog posting linking to a science article
Woody Allen on media lies and on not learning as he gets older
Christianity defined
303 Squadron in the movie and on the telly
Frank J random thought for the day
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom twitter of the day before the day before yesterday
Robert Chambers
“I can’t respond to any e-mails today …”
You had a hard disc?  Luxury!
Unravelling the puzzle – and making it into a movie
Laughing gas
Correction
Barney Stinson on how gay marriage will encourage regular marriage
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
Prize idiots
What Bercow does next
Another politician who looks like a noted comedy actor of yesteryear
Labour down – silly parties up
TARP stuff - and a trip to Sheffield
Excellent mixed metaphor
“… the idea is to remain ignorant of how dumb you look …”
Quota quotes from Wodehouse
There’s only one way to find out!  Fight!
Gordon Brown to guarantee everything
Not the same thing
Mockery
Jellennium Bridge
“It’s only a parable!”
Never mind the telly
Portable copiers and copying jokes
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
Printer with face - eating children
The Rite of Spring sounds to me like technology rather than nature
God explained
Cats etc.
Probably not right - but definitely written
At the dogs
Heh indeed
Irrelevant heart attack adverts
Indexed - blogrolled
Not everything means anything
Spreading the word for free
Oscar Wilde defends society
Top tips from Viz
You can have everything
Very amusing person alert
Boo hoo
Genius
Pie error
Comedians and a picture of a lady comedian
More about rhetoric
More comedy and a Piccadilly Circus Billion Monkey!
On stand-up comedy and politics
I won’t be doing any television myself in the near future but in the meantime have a watch of this
Those little big things that you hate
“And also our sensitivity to our office being firebombed”
More IP violating: Barry Beelzebub on Freepost bricks and a still-legal wild boar hunt
The return of the prodigal
It went fine
Comedy tonight and another car headlight today
Comedy on Thursday and rehearsing for it
Gay marriage
The moles of Wycombe
Is sit-down comedy the new rock and roll?
“Jeepers Professor!”
Ha!
Get back
Bromwell High is very good
Douglas Jardine and Spike Milligan