Posts from 13th September 2005

Sep 05


Do You See2 comments • 1,642 views

The premise behind the film The Aristocrats is that about 100 comedians all tell the same joke. It is not a very good joke. However it is a joke where the middle section is basically just a long scatalogical trawl through whatever the teller thinks will offend the audience or be funny. The idea is to show that it is – as the film suggests “the singer, not the song”. Comedians are funny, not jokes.

Well the joke they pick is not funny. But then comedians don’t really tell jokes anyway. So the film is a little bit disingenuous as it clearly becomes a love-in for US comedians. What is clear is that the basic joke itself (which is not very funny) could be made structurally funnier by improving the punchline.

What let’s the Aristocrats down (and by the way, that is the punchline) is that bar six of the comedians, we only see excerpts of them telling the joke. Perhaps on the DVD we will get them all. However the constant intercutting and interruption of the individual tellings seems to obscure the point of the film. It may well be that a lot of these comedians versions would be similar, and it may be repetitive and dull. But when one of the six versions is in mime, and one is by Paul Reiser, you tend to hope that you could see some of the better ones which are just hinted at. Paul Reiser is very smug about his telling, which is funny clearly because it is the worst. (Sarah Silverman’s is the best that you see all of.)

Anyway, I am pitching a film called, “What’s Brown And Sticky?”


Blog 7Post a comment • 815 views

I don’t mean false memory syndrome as in the therapy definition. A dangerous buzzword: it allows the defense that childhood memories of abuse have been implanted by “predatory” psychologists. Could this happen? Well certainly, and what is more – if you hate your parents, inventing physical abuse where there was only the slow drip drip of psychological loathing is tempting. Nevertheless the invention of false memory syndrome has made a lot of work for “experts”, who play the game well and make proclamations such as a five year-old has no real long term memory. Not to mention work for the “experts” who say the opposite. Everyone is happy.

But this is not about that kind of False Memory, I mean the kind that isn’t a syndrome. The kind that is a memory of doing something, that you know you have not done. Closely related to Deja Vu (though that is a memory of doing something you are doing now) it has very similar psychological explanations. Mainly that the human brain is so gosh darn complex that we get the sensation of remembrance by accident. Well, that is okay for Deja Vu – as the content of the memory is what we are currently experiencing, but how about false memory? How can we remember something without somewhere along the line creating the content of that memory?

Let me give you an example. I have a firm memory of sitting upstairs in The Blue Posts on Newman Street, with Tom, Sinker, Magnus, Carsmile, Alang, Starry and Alix, doing a round-the-table on the top 23 Unexplained Phenomena. I remember vividly what came in at 23 (False Memory). I remember some of the arguments, the jokes regarding how many different types of ghosts were actually allowed (poltergeist yes, kids with sheets over them, no). I remember a particularly virulent argument re the Bermuda Triangle which involved me and Tom singing the song at least once and being given dirty looks by the Polish barmaid when we shouted “WOMAN ARE YOU MAD”. I remember it well.


So come psychologists, bear in mind that I could not have dreamt this, as I do not dream. So why do I remember it, to the extent I have a list of the other 22 Unexplained Phenomena written down.

Stop This Custard Pie Madness

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 430 views

Not THIS custard pie madness, obv. Seeing Jeremy Clarkson getting humiliated in public is clearly on of the finer things in life. Nevertheless the sad thing is that custard pies are not what they were. In as much as once upon a time they were more than just whipped fake cream on a paper plate.

I remember the custard pies of Tiswas, whilst being sans pastry (as we know not a pre-requisite for pie) being more robust than the nonsense we get these days. Now I am not advocating using a proper, tasty, egg custard pie for flan flinging, it would be a waste on someone like Clarkson. But could we perhaps move away from calling a paper plate of whipped cream a custard pie? They are aerodynamically rubbish as well.

Compare and Contrast

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 220 views

Don’t Dumb Me Down pleads Ben Goldacre, decrying reporting of science stories, railing against straw humanities graduates misunderstanding and misreporting science stories


Today’s front page main story which seems to show that humanities graduates don’t understand their “own side’s” research methodologies either…

it is high time for a NEW BREAKAWAY SPORT

TMFDPost a comment • 235 views

in 1823 william webb-ellis “with a fine disregard for the rules of foopball” picked up the ball and ran and invented rugby blah blah zzz

cricket was evolved out of rounders by an evil RPG-infested think-tank (interestingly but unsurprisingly once you think abt it, the 12-sided dicegame OWZAT!! predates the invention of cricket)

so what new “sports” are needed? would golf be improved by ice-hockey style goal-keepers (on rollerskates obv)? should the biathlon “they are armed” meme by introduced into the louge?

(ps: haha ” Thomas Hughes (author of Tom Brown’s School Days) was asked to comment on the game as played when he attended the school (1834-1842). He is quoted as saying: ‘In my first year, 1834, running with the ball to get a try by touching down within goal was not absolutely forbidden, but a jury of Rugby boys of that day would almost certainly have found a verdict of “justifiable homicide” if a boy had been killed in running in.'” –quote found on wikipedia)

Better start swimming or…

TMFDPost a comment • 321 views

Difficult times for English football. As television revenues decline, players’ wages don’t. These same players, pampered and arrogant, inhabit the gossip pages of the newspapers more often than the sports pages. The public, irked by the players’ behaviour and stung by ever-spiralling prices, are swithcing off. And the England team can’t even win against the Northern Irish.

Meanwhile, from nowhere, a team of real heroes, unbloated, untabloided and not a sarong in sight, take on the best in the world with hunger and humility and genuine verve. The Great British public are responding like never before. In media as diverse as The Guardian and The Today Programme, you can see people waking up to what they really want, and it’s not football any more. In English sport, the changes are being rung.

Just like they were with the rugby, whenever that was.