Friday 23 December 2005

My favourite quote of the Christmas party season

Girl shows her friend the uncomfortable shoes she's been wearing all day.

Friend: 'God, you were shopping in those? I see what you mean!'

Girl: Yes! I wasn't exaggerating when I said I wanted to chop both my feet off!

Sunday 18 December 2005

For the attention of Roy Wood, lyricist of 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day'.

Dear Mr Wood.

The snowman does not 'bring the snow'!!

The very first line of your song - and therefore the premise on which it is all based - seems to express your belief that the events described therein occur 'when the snowman brings the snow'. He simply doesn't. Obviously he doesn't. How could he? Snowmen are only created when there is snow to build them with. So it follows that they cannot possibly 'bring the snow', because their very existence indicates the snow has already been brought, by person or persons unknown. Just think about it. You don't see front gardens full of snowmen, standing in the middle of otherwise green and snowless lawns, and think to yourself 'Aha! There must be a snowfall in the offing - the snowmen are out!' No, of course you don't. Ironically, had you said 'When the snow brings the snowman' then you would have at least been on the right lines, although I realise you'd have run into problems with scansion. But they would be your problems, Mr Wood, not mine.

Furthermore, you talk about 'the' snowman, as if there's only one. The only snowman who has ever claimed a definite article, so far as I am aware, is 'The Snowman' out of the Raymond Briggs cartoon of the same name, who definitely arrived after the snow; built from it by the ginger boy with Aled Jones' voice. Oh, and now I think about it, I suppose Frosty 'the' Snowman. But I have no evidence he claims to 'bring the snow'. And- and this is my point Mr Wood- I don't believe you have either. So, could you please arrange to have your intensely irritating song withdrawn from all the shops that play it twice an hour throughout December until this crucial 'Which came first - the snowman or the snow?' question is satisfactorily resolved.

Thanking you in advance,

Yours sincerely,

John Finnemore.

Wednesday 14 December 2005

"So, my dear brother, are you still as allergic to cats as ever?"

A great day today, as I was able to crown a new winner in my long-running 'Most Bare-faced Piece of Exposition in A Radio Four Afternoon Play' competition. Of course, radio plays are particular happy hunting grounds for these, as they not only have to do all the standard 'How long have we been married now, darling?' stuff you get in any play, they also have to tell you where and when each scene is set, and everything else as well. Timothy West wrote a very funny spoof radio play about this effect entitled 'This Gun That I'm Holding In My Right Hand Is Loaded'. Anyway, the previous winner of my competition has held the crown for a very long time now- a brilliant line that began a scene near the end of a play that spanned twenty years from 1900.

LADY EXPOSITION: 'Ellen! How many times must I tell you - we will not lay out the best silver until this dreadful war is over!'

But now even that has been surpassed. Yesterday afternoon, the play concerned two lovers, one of whom went to fight in the second world war, whilst the other waited for him. Near the end of the play, a scene opened with an engine letting off steam, lots of crowd noise and shouting, the waiting lover saying 'How do I look?' and then, the proud new winner of my exposition award:

NEWSPAPER BOY: 'Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Our boys come home! Waterloo Station chocka! Read all about it!'


Monday 12 December 2005

Stop acknowledging Weimaraners

You know how Word underlines things helpfully for you from time to time? Not just mistakes, these days, but people and places too, so that if you write 'Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933', little underlinings pop up, which if you click them offer to help you plan a trip to Germany to check, or, failing that, to set up a meeting with Adolf Hitler, and get the story straight from the horse's mouth. Well, it just did it with the word 'Labradors'. What on earth did it want me to do with Labradors? I know Labrador, singular, is a place I might wish to rush off to with the help of my ever-vigilant word processing programme, but Labradors, plural? What was it going to offer to do? Set up some walkies? So I clicked it. And got just one option. 'Stop recognising Labradors.'

Well, I've tried, Doctor; Lord knows I've tried, but it's a compulsion.

Oh look, that's Charlie. You see? I just can't help myself.