Thursday 31 January 2008

So if anyone needs a towel, just give me a shout.

I was getting myself some car insurance the other day, and had to select my job from a drop down menu. Only they didn't have 'writer'. Fair enough, I thought, I suppose it's a relatively niche profession, I can understand them leaving it out. Except that here are just a few of the jobs they were absolutely fine with.

Violin Maker
Clay Pigeon Instructor
Foam Converter
Pearl Stringer
Weighbridge Clerk
Tea Taster
Water Diviner
Head Lad
Towel Supplier

Wednesday 23 January 2008

And doubtless someone, somewhere, was once given it for Christmas... and was overjoyed.

You remember how I paranoidly take out books to have on my desk at the British Library, so it looks like I have a right to be there; but cannily choose ones that look really dull so I won't be distracted into reading them? No? Well I do.

Such as the excellent 'Early United States Barbed Wire Patents', by Jesse S James. Presumably he added the 'S' to avoid being confused with notorious outlaw and train robber Jesse James. Though I can't help thinking he did this job far more efficiently just by writing a book about barbed wire patents. Here is the first sentence:

'I started to realize the dire need of a book of this kind soon after I started to collect old types of barbed wire in 1957.' Hats off to Jesse the use of the word 'dire'.

Here are my other three favourite sentences:

'I believe it would be a safe bet, if anyone could ever get a caller, that there has been more of this ‘Hodge’s ten-point spur rowel’ wire found by barbed wire collectors than all the other ‘rotating’ type barbs combined.'

Look out for some terrific exclamation mark work in this next one:

'I believe this patent takes the cake for the largest number of barb types shown that can be used on its fence-wire. Seven!'

And the peerless:

'If you happen to be a barbed-wire collector who has been trying to locate the patent data on your ‘saw-toothed ribbed ribbon wire’, you need look no further!'

See, now it looks as if I'm sneering at someone for being enthusiastic about their hobby, and God knows I've bored on about comedy for too long to too many people to be allowed to do that, even if I wanted to. But, Jesse, I don't know... barbed wire? Really?

Monday 14 January 2008

Rejected titles for the film 'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium'.

  • Mr. O'Moore's Fantastical Store
  • Mr. McWopp's Bewildering Shop
  • Mr. Moletail-Begalia's Odd Wholesale Retailer
  • Mr. Bleeosk's Kooky Kiosk
  • Mr. Roy Far-Bus's Weird Branch of Toys-R-Us.
  • Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (Memo to self - remember to change name of guy, and thing he owns.)
  • Death Mask IV.

Tuesday 8 January 2008

Next week: Will the Beatles ever reform? We ask them all.

An advert on my email sidebar has just encouraged me to subscribe to the Washington Post, with the following inducement:

'All the latest Pakistan news - Benazir Bhutto interview.'

The latest news? Really? I can't help thinking there's a story they may have missed...

Monday 7 January 2008

No mention of their sworn enemy, the Sodding Fat-Faced Cat.

Good news, everybody! It has just come to my attention that there lives in Madagascar a species of rodent - in the Nesomyidae family, since you ask - known as the Bastard Big-Footed Mouse. See, don't you find that this bleak, cold, new year's world suddenly seems that much happier a place to be, knowing we share it with Bastard Big-Footed Mice?