Celebs Who Are Reptillian Shapeshifters (According To YouTube)

Posted by & filed under Celebrities, How To..., Infographics.


I think there can be no doubt at all that some of us are aliens. There’s simply too much evidence out there and too many blogs, sites and niche magazines dedicated to the fact. But there seems to be a massive proportion of the famous and renowned who were born as thinly disguised reptiles, arrived here from another planet and decided to pursue a career in light entertainment while avidly observing our behaviour. A few brave souls, particularly on YouTube, are dedicated to unmasking these lizard people for the baddies that they are and telling the world who is a shapeshifter and why. Here are a few of the top candidates, with indefatigable proof included.


Not George W. Bush, he is merely the son of an alien, but his dad, George Bush Snr, the one that Homer Simpson beat up. In this video, you can see that his fearful reptillian eyes shape-shift in a weird manner during a debate with Bill Clinton (probably another alien, he just hides it better). Others claim his weird eyes are down to demonic possession. Either way, it’s not good.


You’ll see a whole host of reptillian shape-shifters on offer in this video, but it’s Paul ‘Macca’ McCartney who is the most weird and alien. It would certainly explain a lot. Wings. The Frog Chorus. His constant ‘thumbs up’ gestures. He is signalling to his home planet and letting them know how easy it is to conquer the pop charts over here. Especially at Christmas.


Is she a Martian? Is she a vampire (a space vampire obviously)? Or is she just double jointed? (If a gum can be double jointed). Whatever the reasons, there is something odd going on inside Avril Lavigne’s mouth and we don’t mean her Canadian accent. Does the disappearing flatness of her munchers indicate some kind of alien shenanigans? Wake up people! Of course it does!


The evidence that Ri-Ri is a shapeshifter of the highest order appears to be  displayed here in a selection of saucy pictures presented in a slideshow format. Her fondness for doing ‘devil hands’ while being photographed also adds to the ammunition. Oh and then there’s her ‘Triad Hyperspace Sacred Geometry Magnetism’ which she’s always chucking in our faces. And her last name is Fenty, which sounds dead alieny to me.


Busted! Sorry Angelina, but here is indisputable proof that you are indeed an Illuminati funded reptillian shapeshifter from beyond the black hole sun. How else can you explain that bit of white powder on your jaw? Obviously you were trying to cover up your natural grey skin and scales. And not that you got a bit over-zealous with the talcum powder when you got out of the bath.


You cannot deny that in this footage, Elvis looks really, really weird. Maybe it’s the distorted black and white video footage. Or maybe it’s because he’s the King, not only of Rock and Roll but also the universe. I mean, it is hard to look normal in a sequinned jump suit, but even so, there is something very reptillian about this whole scenario.


So why would the reptillian, Illuminati, shapeshifting agenda want to recruit the star of Jackass, known for his utterly stupid antics, for their evil designs? Maybe to lull us into a false sense of security and convince us that these mutant overlords are mere buffoons before  make their move and enslave us? Or to bamboozle us with their stunts until we’re suddenly under their control and mining space minerals on this distant moon before we know it? Either option is too hideous to consider.


No! Not the Godfather of soul? The hardworkingest man in showbusiness? Mr Please Please Please himself? I’m sorry but the evidence is overwhelming. Not only was James a Sex Machine, but he was also a repitillian shapeshifting machine, beaming his observations back to his home planet in an attempt to unearth our weak spots. There is no way that the dodgy video feed is responsible for the curious altering of his face, it has to be the Illuminati.


You may think he’s just a sweet and innocent child. But if Justin was going to reveal his obvious reptillian background, it would be while he’s under pressure and on trial for drag racing. Of course he would signal for help from his alien bosses and request a tractor beam to safety. Sadly, on this occasion, it never arrived.


Alongside the Pope and leading weather presenters, you would assume the leading figures of the alien insectoid monster army would be members of the royal family. As this slow motion, non-curated footage proves, there is certainly something amiss with the faces of Prince William and his lizard bride Kate. Whether it’s their alien heritage, or just the fact that they are English, can’t be immediately established. But the continued existence of Prince Phillip establishes that there is something other-worldly happening with our royals.

How to be more like The Doctor

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How to be more like The Doctor

He’s over two thousand years old, travels through space and time in a wooden box and is always the smartest person in the room. Who wouldn’t want to be more like the Doctor?

Coming back to the telly box this Saturday, Doctor Who is now in its 51st year – with a title character who could teach us a thing or two about how to live a life more interesting. While we don’t know exactly what Peter Capaldi’s twelfth Doctor will be like yet, we can speculate.

His face changes every few years, but he’s always the Doctor; an eccentric mass of compassion, cleverness and contradiction. These constants make him a truly fantastic hero – and a realistic role model.

You don’t need a police call box that’s bigger on the inside or two hearts to be a better, less boring, more adventurous you. Let’s count down the ways you can be a bit more like the Doctor.

The Doctor is never cowardly or cruel

Former script editor and Doctor Who writer Terrance Dicks was first to describe the titular time lord as “never cowardly or cruel”. Those words were used again as the Doctor’s motto in the 50th anniversary episode “The Day of the Doctor”.

There have been stumbles along the way. The first Doctor kidnapped two of his granddaughter’s teachers because they discovered the TARDIS. That was a bit naughty. But, on the whole, the Doctor treats people, good people, with kindness and compassion – and he puts them first.

Nowhere is that more obvious than in the fifth Doctor’s final episode. Poisoned, on the brink of death and not knowing whether he’ll regenerate, Peter Davison’s Doctor gives the only shot of antidote to his companion Peri. And then, the ultimate sacrifice; he turns into Colin Baker.

He loves to get lost

You don’t have to be a sci-fi anorak to know that two thirds of Doctor Who stories begin with the TARDIS materialising in an unspecified time in history or on an unknown planet. Occasionally, the Doctor knows exactly where they are – but those times are rare. He explores anyway.

And what he finds is always amazing.

From far future space stations stuffed with the last of humanity (The Ark in Space) to the last days of an ancient civilization (The Fires of Pompeii). From a 1920s cargo ship in the middle of the Indian ocean (Carnival of Monsters) to a planet populated by humanoid cats (Survival).

In eleventh Doctor episode The Doctor’s Wife, our hero is able to talk to the TARDIS in human form – and the secret of its eccentric navigation is revealed:

The Doctor: You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.
The TARDIS: No, but I always took you where you needed to go.

The moral? Getting lost is good. If you stay in the same place, you never push your boundaries – you learn nothing new. You never grow. So forgive us when we say, do you want to be more interesting? Then get lost.

The first Doctor didn't really pilot the TARDIS at all. He just set off and hoped for the best...

The first Doctor didn’t really pilot the TARDIS at all. He just set off and hoped for the best…

He uses his wits rather than his fists

The Doctor’s definitely a man of action – how many other superheroes know Venusian aikido? But if he can talk his way out of a situation, he usually will.

Doctor Who’s monologues are legendary.

Sometimes he’s just thinking out loud, working out his next move. Other times he’s distracting the enemy or stalling for time. Mostly, he just seems to like the sound of his own voice.

And when the Doctor talks, his enemies listen. How many times has the Doctor stood before a Dalek platoon, giving a four page speech? Everyone else they simply exterminate on sight.

It’s not necessarily the gobbiness we’re suggesting you should emulate, but a commitment to working things out with words rather than violence. That’s something everyone can look up to.

The eleventh Doctor began his stint scaring off an alien race called the Atraxi, by simply telling them who he was.

The eleventh Doctor began his stint scaring off an alien race called the Atraxi, by simply telling them who he was.

He’s a bit cocky

We shy away from calling it arrogance, because arrogance is an exaggerated sense of one’s capabilities. The Doctor’s earned every fibre of bravado and every drop of conceit in his body.

And we could all do with a bit of that. Earned conceit. When you’re good at something, you should acknowledge it. Confidence pushes you on to do even better things.

Of course, the Doctor’s a bit of an all round big head. When asked by companion Liz Shaw what he’s a Doctor of, the third incarnation replies, “Practically everything, my dear.”

If you’d been alive for hundreds of years, habitually defeating evil doers with a couple of quips, a call box and a screwdriver, you’d probably have a touch of cockiness about you too.

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He has his own style

We’re not suggesting you should dress like the Doctor. In fact, the sight of dumpy, middle-aged men wearing Matt Smith tweeds is enough to make Cybermen cry tears of pure mercury. But there’s nothing wrong with being a bit of a dandy.

The Doctor is a man of unique sartorial taste, whether he’s rocking a fur coat and braces, swishing a black cape or wearing the uniform of a German u-boat commander. He always stands out rather than sticks out.

Well, we say “always” – but there’s usually an exception and that exception is the sixth Doctor. Poor Six. Or, as some unkind fans call him, “the technicolour yawn”.

The Doctor - a dandy in any incarnation.

The Doctor – a dandy in almost every incarnation.



The Doctor does what’s right

Perhaps the Doctor’s key characteristic, the thing that really drives him, is a desire to do what is fair. In a world full of ‘roid rage superheroes fighting for justice or acting out of revenge, it makes a quintessentially British change.

Despite several opportunities to wipe out the entire Dalek race, for example, the Doctor can never quite bring himself to commit outright genocide. The fourth Doctor was the first to get the opportunity, but when the time came to destroy fiction’s favourite Nazi pepperpots, he couldn’t flick the switch.

So deep is this sense of right and wrong ingrained that an incarnation of the Doctor who did annihilate the Daleks (and the Time Lords) is written out of his history, deemed unfit to carry the name “Doctor”. Harsh.

“Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?”

“Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?”

He questions authority

100% rebel time lord; that’s how Peter Capaldi describes his 12th Doctor. None of his predecessors was particularly fond of authority, but two regenerations had more run-ins than most.

The third Doctor began his tenure exiled to Earth, seconded as a scientific advisor to military organisation UNIT. He spent most of his time butting heads with bureaucracy in the form of UNIT leader Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, of whom he famously says “You know Brigadier, your methods have all the refined subtlety of a bull in a china shop.”

The sixth Doctor spent an entire season in a timelord court accused of “interference”, but he barely acknowledges its power over him, preferring to banter cockily with the Inquisitor – a time lord judge – and an evil future incarnation of himself known as The Valeyard.

That’s right. The Doctor’s so rebellious that he even refuses to recognise his own authority. It makes our brains hurt too.

He changes

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “everything changes”. It’s the only constant in the universe.

The Doctor changes more drastically than most, regenerating into an entirely new body when the old one is “wearing a bit thin”. Though his looks and personality transform, he’s still the same person underneath though. He’s still the Doctor.

Not every incarnation of the Doctor accepts the change well. The second has renewal forced on him by the time lords and doesn’t like his new face. “Oh no!” he says, finding a mirror, “That’s not me at all!”

The tenth Doctor’s final words were simply “I don’t want to go”.

But every time the Doctor changes, he gets over it eventually. He has a nap, brushes himself down, picks out some new clothes and carries on. And that’s the best any of us can do; never give up and never give in.

As for the new Doctor, the change has already started. Oh well – here we go again!

Animated images courtesy of Doctor Who GIFs

How To Win Big At Everything

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Sure, you could wait for dumb luck to come along and provide you with some form of glorious victory. Like a big sucker. Or you could follow our handy tips to ensure you win massively in every gaming enterprise you embark upon (or at least the ones mentioned). That’s right, you no longer have to leave it to chance to come in first. We have every area of luck or gambling covered (see brackets above). All we ask is you send us a nice Moonpig card when you win your first million.


When trying to win the lottery there are a huge amount of don’ts to focus on, rather than do’s. Don’t bother joining a syndicate, even if you do win you’ll be sharing your reward amongst a huge amount of people. Patterns or clusters of numbers are equally ineffectual as there are too many other people using the same method, so again your jackpot will be shared.

According to the statistics, buying twenty tickets for a single lottery draw has better odds than than buying one ticket over twenty draws. And mathematical types have concluded that if all the numbers you select add up to more than 177, that has a better chance of winning, possibly because higher numbers are selected less by schlubs like you.

"EuroMillions tickets" by Magnus D from London, United Kingdom - Håll tummarna!. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“EuroMillions tickets” by Magnus D from London, United Kingdom – Håll tummarna!. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Some think that a poker face is the secret to being a great card player. But recent studies have shown that hand movements are more important than facial expressions when you are trying to convince your opponent that you have a great hand. Smooth, fluid movements denote confidence, whereas any sort of stuttering action makes you seem unsure.

Once you have the body language down, the important thing to remember is only playing hands you know you can win. You might have to wait ages for the perfect chance to play, but be patient. The mistake every novice poker player makes is getting over eager and taking a chance on a hand you’re unsure of or, even worse, trying to bluff. Just hang in there and play it cool until the perfect combination emerges.

"Holdem" by Todd Klassy - http://flickr.com/photos/latitudes/66492870/in/set-1442169/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

“Holdem” by Todd Klassy – http://flickr.com/photos/latitudes/66492870/in/set-1442169/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons


Believe it or not, the most successful method of betting on the gee-gees is not simply to pick either the prettiest stallion or the one with the funniest name.  Betting on favourites is actually the best option, as you’ll taste the sweet tang of victory about a third of the time. Beyond that, it’s all down to research. Racing veterans will examine every element of data to do with a horse, a jockey, the stable it’s trained at, the racecourse and the conditions before the event.

And then if you want to make your life even more complicated, but add the possibility of making even more money, you can try some crazy betting system such as a Trifecta, where you pick the first, second and third placings accurately. But even with all that racing knowledge surging through your brain and the mathematics surrounding some crazy bet formations worked out, you still have to rely on the horse. And horses are never reliable.

"Horserace 520133030" by Slooby from Chicago, U.S.A., upload by Herrick - Race Time !. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Horserace 520133030″ by Slooby from Chicago, U.S.A., upload by Herrick – Race Time !. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Roulette has the reputation for being something of a suckers game. But there are things you can do to gain an advantage and nudge the odds in your favour. Firstly, play European roulette rather than the American variety which has a 00 slot, reducing your chances of winning.

If you’re playing in a casino, observe a particular table to make sure the croupier is spinning the wheel with different amounts of effort each time. If they appear to be using the same amount of force, they could be (unwittingly) providing a bias in the house’s favour. Stick to betting on the outside, so the red/black, odd/even, high/low bets. They might be less Bond like, but the odds are preferable. And if you lose, double up and bet again (the Martingale method). The odds of making your money back are increased hugely, as long as you have the cash to continue.

"Roulette - detail" by Conor Ogle from London, UK - Spin. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Roulette – detail” by Conor Ogle from London, UK – Spin. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


The classic Fruity in a pub or casino is not random, as you might suspect. It knows what it is doing and while it will eventually pay out a jackpot, it won’t do it by chance. But there are ways to gain more of an advantage. Machines with a smaller jackpot are more likely to pay out than a machine with a whopping one. Play as much money as you can each time. For instance, a machine that is a pound per spin will pay out more often than on which is 10p a go.

And the more you wager, the more you’ll make. With most machines, there is no chance of winning the jackpot unless you take the ‘max credit’ option before you spin, betting all of your available cash. Slots in high visibility areas (in lobbies or at the ends of banks of machines) tend to pay out more often than those tucked away, just to attract custom, so aim for those. And when you win anything, bank it rather than chucking it back into the machine.

"Slot machine" by Jeff Kubina from the milky way galaxy - Slot Machine. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

“Slot machine” by Jeff Kubina from the milky way galaxy – Slot Machine. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution


OK, so you might not make the same amount of money by winning at Monopoly, but the prestige you will accumulate will be just as impressive. Once you’ve been around the board, start buying like a fiend. Get everything you can, unless it’s a set of colours already owned by more than one other player.

The best set to get is the pinks and oranges, as they are right outside jail, so people will pass over them more often. Build on your cheapest properties first, as it costs less initially, so the return is greater when people drop on them. And don’t despair if you end up in jail. It’s a safe place to be as you can still collect rent on your properties, while not spending cash on anyone else’s. Sneaky but effective.

"US Deluxe Monopoly Tokens" by Original uploader was ScooterSES at en.wikipedia - Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia

“US Deluxe Monopoly Tokens” by Original uploader was ScooterSES at en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia

Don’t be a tourist, be a traveller

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Tourists. Don’t you just hate them? Standing around on the pavement taking photos, blocking the doorways on the tube or babbling away loudly on the bus when you’re trying to read your book. Why can’t they be more like the natives; soaking up the real experience of the places they visit?

Image by Seth Werkheiser used under a CC 2.0 License

Image by Seth Werkheiser used under a CC 2.0 License

That, fair friends, is the difference between a tourist and a traveller. The traveller makes their own decisions. They go to a foreign land to see what it really has to offer. The tourist goes to another country and laps up a packaged experience.

Be honest; how often have you been that tourist? The guy claiming the sun lounger with his towel at 6.30 in the morning? The girl pickled in sangria, one shoe lost in the high street?

The next time you go away, be a traveller instead – doing what the locals do and going where the experience takes you. You’ll come home a a lot more interesting than you were before you set off.

Stay in one place for a while

Get any train from London Kings Cross to Aberdeen and you’ll be seated near an American family “doing” Europe. There’s a least one in every carriage, by law. They’ve just finished “England” (they’ve seen Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus and the Tower of London) and now they’re on to Scotland. That’ll be Edinburgh; a visit to the Royal Mile and a tartan shop.

Traveling should not be a whistle-stop tour of pins on a map, but everyone does it. Even backpackers are guilty. To experience a place you have to linger longer, get to know the alleyways and shortcuts, talk to the locals and soak up the true atmosphere.

Avoid city centres

There’s always an area in the centre of any big city – near the main sights – where tourists are wooed like flies to chip shop strip-lights. In London it’s Piccadilly Circus. In Barcelona it’s La Ramblas and in Paris it’s the areas around the Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur.

By all means, visit these places. Even the locals do it at least once in their lives. But don’t eat there. Don’t buy a coffee or splash out on souvenirs – unless you’re planning to remortgage your house. Make sure you know where your wallet is at all times. And when you’ve had your touristy afternoon, don’t go back.

Eat where (and what) the locals eat

Home away from home. Boring. (Image via TripAdvisor

Home away from home. Boring. (Image via TripAdvisor

If you’ve done the Spanish package thing in Magaluf or Majorca, you’ll know well that you can travel hundreds of miles from home and still live on a steady diet of egg and chips, roast beef and spotted dick. Where’s the fun in that?

You don’t have to stray too far off the beaten track to eat what the locals eat. Asturias in Northern Spain is famed for its rich seafood, for example – squid, sea bass and wholesome stews. Instead of heading to the seafront cafes with English menus, look for places packed with local people. It’s a trick you can transpose to anywhere you visit and you’ll always come home with a taste of something new.

Or, if you’re feeling nervous, try Spotted by Locals


Avoid package trips

Bundled coach tours out to see the sights are brilliant if:

  • You like spending hours in a bus with lots of old people
  • You enjoy not really knowing where you are
  • You relish listening to people retell the history of places you’re visiting in a suicidal monotone

You shouldn’t even feel pressure to see all the big sites. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t get to climb the Empire State Building or kiss the Blarney Stone or hang around one of a kabillion crumbling ruins in the blistering Mediterranean heat for three hours.

Think about what you really want to do – and then just do it – instead of trying to tick off the stops on an imaginary list. You’ll have a much better time.

Want to spend your foreign trip stuck on a coach with this lot? Of course not. (Image in public domain via Wiki Commons)

Want to spend your foreign trip stuck on a coach with this lot? Of course not. (Image in public domain via Wiki Commons)

Use public transport

If you do want to see some of the sites nearby, use public transport. Make a real day of it and plan how to get there – then just do it. The advantages?

  • You’ll get to travel with real people who live in the country you’re visiting
  • You’re in control of how long you stay
  • You’ll know exactly where you are
  • You can give yourself permission to head off the beaten track and explore

One good ground rule about things-to-do when you’re travelling; if it costs you nothing, it’s probably something local people do. Walking trails, exploring local parks, going to museums and galleries. Follow the natives.

Dress like the locals

No one expects you to clobber up like a Greek fisherman, but the English abroad are known for a certain, um, style. So – ban the following and you’ll be more traveller than tourist already.

  • Football shirts
  • Any T-shirt with the flag of St. George/Union Jack on it.
  • Flip flops
  • Three quarter length shorts
  • Walking around with your shirt off
  • Bandanas
  • Swimwear away from the pool or beach
  • Hot pants
  • No pants

If it’s scorching, go for linen and cotton togs. A short sleeved linen shirt, lightweight trousers or knee length skirt are fine. You know, like normal people. And also, don’t sun bathe. Tanning is for oompa loompas. Wear factor 50 sun protection at all times – because there’s nothing that gives a tourist away more than skin like freshly cured leather.

Speak the language

Funnily enough, shouting doesn’t translate English into Thai, German or Greek.

Even though most of the world speaks English, you should learn the basics of the local language before you travel to a country. How to say please and thank you, hello and goodbye.

And, if you want to speed up the process, you can always cheat. Here’s one we wrote all about that earlier.

Avoid big hotels

Large hotels, especially the chains, are like self-contained bubbles of tourist contentment. Go into a Hilton in London, Berlin or Dubai and it will always be, pretty much, a Hilton. Resort hotels take it to another level, providing you with all the facilities you need to enjoy your time abroad without a single authentic experience.

We Brits are famous for it, positioning ourselves between the pool and the all-day buffet for two weeks and calling that a holiday.

Here’s a thought… try staying in a local guest house instead. Or use a service like AirBnB to rent a room in someone’s house. You’ll have access to real, local people who can tell you the best places to go and what to see.

The most powerful advice of all is also the easiest to follow; when you’re abroad, be yourself. Don’t be that special holiday version of yourself, dressed up like you’ve got somewhere to go every day, determined to have fun no matter what. Just go with the flow. You’ll have much more fun.

The Strangest Things Found Inside Other Things

Posted by & filed under How To..., Infographics.

"EA-6B Prowler maintenance check" by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley Evans

“EA-6B Prowler maintenance check” by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley Evans

As a civilisation, we love things being inside other things. Meat inside bread forms the globes favourite food: the sandwich! People inside rooms creates the best sort of dwelling: a house! Men with big beards inside caves are our most enjoyable type of weirdo: the hermit! But occasionally, due to human error or witchcraft, things that are never supposed to be in other things end up in other things. And then the internet writes about it. Here is just a smattering of bizarre items that have unexpectedly turned up within stuff they shouldn’t have.


Fans of the Velvet Underground will know the tale of poor Waldo who, in the song The Gift, who mails himself to his girlfriend in a big box with disastrous results. But Waldo wasn’t the first to try this. After the US postal service was created in 1913, people immediately started taking the mickey and pushing this new novelty enterprise to its limits by seeing what weird stuff they could send to each other. Including, in 1913, a baby which the Beauge family of Ohio sent parcel post to it’s grandmother, as it was cheaper than the train. Even though the child arrived safe and sound, the practice was soon outlawed.


“Human-Male-White-Newborn-Baby-Crying” by Evan-Amos – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia


You would think that the sewer would be the perfect place for a Pooh. That’s what they were built for after all. But this was an enormous Winnie the Pooh cuddly toy which someone, bizarrely, had tried to flush down the lav and ended up blocking the waste pipe somewhere in Scotland. Was it a bathroom based experiment gone wrong, or had Winnie looked at it’s owner in a funny way one time too many? We may never know.



Remember that old wives tale about eating an apple pip and having an apple tree inside you? Well it’s time to find that old wife, shake her firmly by the hand and give her a congratulatory hamper, because it can happen. A 28 year-old Russian man thought he had a cancerous growth and underwent surgical treatment. The astonished doctors discovered a three inch fir tree that had sprouted from the exterior of his lung. Experts think he inhaled the pine seed which then propagated within him. Other experts think it was all made up.

"Abies alba, Weiß Tanne 1" by böhringer friedrich - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

“Abies alba, Weiß Tanne 1″ by böhringer friedrich – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution


In one of the most bizarre and confusing amphibian mysteries ever, a computer engineer in British Columbia, Canada took a customer’s PC apart to trace a fault and found a huge, and fried, frog inside. The company involved had actually built the computer, so they know the frog wasn’t in there when it was manufactured and there were no slots or holes big enough for it to crawl inside. Who could have Kermitted such a thing? Sorry.



Like us, I’m sure you’ve all played that game where you theoretically pit one savage beast against another. Who would win between a badger and a baboon? A monkey and a horse with a trident? A porcupine and a mouse with laser eyes? Well, at least one of these imaginary battles has now been solved as experts cracked open a Greenland shark and were stunned to find the jawbone of a polar bear inside. It’s unknown whether the bear was already dead and had been scavenged or had been a poor swimmer and old sharky took advantage. Either way, sharks rule, bears drool.



It was not such a happy meal for any of the parties concerned when a woman in Virginia USA purchased a couple of McDonald’s treats for her kids but found one of the nuggets staring up at her. An entire chicken head, with comb, beak and everything, had been breadcrumb coated and deep-fried before being dropped in her box. The apologetic restaurant offered her a free meal, but she had probably lost her appetite at that point and decided she would rather sue them.


“Rooster portrait2″ by Muhammad Mahdi Karim (www.micro2macro.net) Facebook – Own work. Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License via Wikimedia Commons -


In 2009 a Wisconsin woman (why do all these things happen in middle America?) was excited to tuck into a delicious bag of Clancy’s Ripple Potato Chips, possibly while watching a Project Runway marathon (unconfirmed at this point) when instead of clutching a crunchy, greasy treat in her mitt, she was holding a really old Nokia cell phone. Really old, like the sort your dad would use. It had a T-Mobile SIM card and appeared to have once been attached to a belt clip, though it wouldn’t turn on. The store concerned immediately pulled all Clancy crisps from the shelves. What else did they think they’d find? A fax machine? A dot matrix printer? A PS1?



If you have walls of your own and are of a nervous disposition, stop reading now. Two brothers were engaging in horseplay (note: never engage in horseplay) in a new home their family had just moved into when they bumped into a built in bookshelf. The bookshelf moved slightly and they realised it was a secret door that led to a spiral staircase. The staircase appeared to lead nowhere, but then they noticed a small gap in the wall, which they investigated. Behind that was a small secret room which appeared to have someone living in it. There was discarded food, a strange key and a couple of creepy dolls, for added creepiness. Police were called, DNA was taken, but no-one ever returned and they never discovered who had been living in their walls or what they were doing there. Obviously, this being the internet, it’s probably a certain amount of fakery going on. But still…weird.

"Room 823743". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

“Room 823743″. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution


Cultural References To Drop Into Any Conversation (And Appear Really Interesting)

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"House party in Denver Colorado" by David Shankbone - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:House_party_in_Denver_Colorado.JPG#mediaviewer/File:House_party_in_Denver_Colorado.JPG

“House party in Denver Colorado” by David Shankbone – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Let me make one thing painfully clear. I am an idiot. I am not smart at all. My intellectual capacities are considered poor at best. Nicknames I have endured during my life have included ‘Dummy’, ‘Gumpy’ and ‘Old Dung For Brains’. But, by listening to people who are smarter than me and by taking covert notes or secretly recording them, I have picked up a few salient phrases and culturally relevant sentences that make me sound vaguely clever when dropped into the heart of a conversation. Let me share them with you. If, after you let one of these beauties fly, someone questions you further, either fake a heart attack or burst into tears. Then run.


Perfect for dropping into conversations with film buffs, comic book nerds or sci-fi geeks. The parallels between the first Star Wars film and Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress have been drawn for years and George Lucas admitted that he basically stole the plot from the Japanese film, then changed it significantly, then stole it again for Phantom Menace. Works best when spoken snottily.


A great thing to exclaim when the inevitable ‘who invented punk rock debate’ starts up (as it does in any situation where middle-aged men are present). The New York Dolls, Blue Cheer, The 13th Floor Elevators and even Skiffle may all be mentioned, but you can trump them all with ‘I think you’ll find…’ (‘I think you’ll find’ is a great way to start any of these phrases) ‘that in fact it began in 1913 with the purely rhythmic passages from Le Sacre du printemps (yeah, use the original French as well) which cause a riot on its first performance’. Then saunter away.


There’s a (probably apocryphal) story whereby Alexandre Dumas (who wrote the Count of Monte Christo, Three Musketeers and that sort of thing) bumped into Honore Balzac (who wrote Lost Illusions and the Comedie Humane series of books) bumped into each other, greeted each other warmly then bitched about each other after they’d moved on. ‘That swine Dumas,’ Balzac said, ‘if only I had his money and success’. ‘That lout Balzac,’ said Dumas, ‘if only I could write like that’. I don’t know what it means, like I say I’m an idiot, but people always seem happy when you tell them that story. Especially if you do it like Sam Fuller.


A nice tale to tell in the company of music freaks or literary types. Before he was psychedelic, Frank Zappa acolyte Captain Beefhart (then plain old Don van Vliet) sold vacuum cleaners door to door. One day he approached an LA residence, rang the bell and immediately recognised Aldous Huxley on the other side. Instead of starting on his usual sales spiel, he said ‘I can assure you sir, this thing sucks’. And Huxley immediately purchased everything he had. Beefheart liked to make up stories, so it may not of every happened. But that doesn’t stop you from repeating it.


Best not to venture too deeply with this one. I tend to just blurt it out whenever the conversation is way over my head and everyone starts looking at me expecting me to speak. Many scholars believe that not only was Samuel Beckett directly influenced by Stan and Ollie, but he lifted their characters and dropped them into his most famous work. To back up his silent movie credentials, Becket’s only cinematic work, called ‘Film’, starred Buster Keaton.


Should the conversation ever veer into architecture, town planning or general building matters, you can always briefly mention Archigram, the avant-garde architectural firm from the 1960′s who were highly influential and warmly regarded, but never got anything built, mainly because their creations were too crazy. They designed the Suitaloon, a building you could wear, Walking Cities on giant legs and many, many pods.


Eliot initiated this correspondence, being a fan of the Marx brothers. Groucho was something of an intellectual and so responded warmly. Unfortunately, the two men eventually met and didn’t really get along. The poet wanted to talk about slapstick while the comedian wanted to talk about The Waste Land and they couldn’t really find any middle ground. So if someone brings up meeting your heroes, you can regale them this. TS Eliot was also afraid of cows, if that helps.


Bowie, thanks to his recent album and exhibition, has been clogging up polite conversation for the last year or so. If his oeuvre is completely lost on you, other than the Dancing in the Streets video, bring up Newley, an actor, singer and songwriter from the 50′s and 60′s who starred in musicals, wrote lots of songs that now feature on yoghurt commercials and was a huge influence on the young DB. And he wrote all the songs from the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka film, which you can mention if people start to look at you funny.


Krazy Kat was an incredibly surreal newspaper comic strip from the 20′s and 30′s featuring a cat who was in love with a mouse and a mouse who threw bricks at the cat’s head. Poet EE Cummings wrote the forward to the first collection of Krazy Kat strips with other fans including Kerouac, HL Mencken and Michael Stipe (who has a Krazy Kat tattoo). So it had a lasting influence on artists, musicians and authors. And it helped to make you sound a bit smarter. Thanks Krazy.


Born to French Canadian parents, Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac (as he liked to call himself) didn’t speak any English at all until he was 6 and only really mastered the language in his late teens. He started writing On The Road in French and wrote portions of his poetry in that language. Some may say he should have stuck to French (the Beats seem to have taken a bit of a critical beating in recent years) but if you’re a dumbbell like me, you probably don’t want to get into that kind of debate.


That may not be true, I’m pretty sure I heard someone saying it. I do know that the largest grossing film of last year was Iron Man III, taking $1.2 billion, whereas Grand Theft Auto V made that much of money in a mere three days. Which is pretty crazy. I don’t know if it makes any difference to anything. That’s not my job. My job is to release that information into the world then drift away looking smug. Which I have now done. Thank you.

Seven reasons you should carry a penknife

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You’re heading out the front door, checking your pockets. You’ve got your wallet, phone, keys… What’s missing? Ah – yes. Your penknife. Because no right-minded person leaves the house without one.

The classic Hiker Swiss Army Knife. A smart addition to any pocket.

The classic Hiker Swiss Army Knife. A smart addition to any pocket.

More properly, no-one should be without a multipurpose penknife; like the famous Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox. We’d suggest going for a Victorinox Spartan Pocket Tool or Swiss Army Hiker Knife. Some multipurpose knives are overkill, but both these models are compact, useful tools you can pop into your pocket and forget. Until you need them, that is.

And you need them more than you think.

1. Cut things up

Yep – it’s a knife, so it’s ideal for cutting things up. Chop up your Snickers bar in half, divide your sandwich and save a bit for later or slice a banana into your porridge in the morning.

Our personal fave; use a penknife to carve up and eat an apple. Sounds like a waste of time? Your Grandad probably ate apples with his trusty pocket knife, avoiding all the icky brown bits and worm holes hiding under the skin. Bonus points: slicing up an apple also makes much less mess than chomping into one bite by bite. Grandad 2 – You 0.

2. Open packaging

Your knife’s a superb tool for slicing open letters the old fashioned way. You can get into parcels and packages more quickly too. But plastic packaging, that’s where your knife really rules.

New mobile phone batteries, travel plugs, headphones – for reasons known only to the Illuminati who secretly rule the world, these items are always, always encased in a sarcophagus of impenetrable polymer.

Want to open one of these things with your bare hands? Not a chance. You might as well be trying to extract Han Solo from carbonite.

But take out your trusty penknife and you are master of packaging, effortlessly able to slice open or saw through that shrinkwrapped slab of torment. Hold aloft the miniature aluminum torch you have freed from incarceration and roar. You deserve it.

3. Screwdriver

“Have you got a screwdriver?”
“Yes!” says the person with the penknife, after first forgetting they have a screwdriver for a few minutes of staring into space.

The inclusion of both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers on a Swiss Army Knife is enough reason to carry one everywhere. You are king of plug changing, master of tightening up pan handles and emperor of access to little hatches. You are the attacher and the detacher. You control door knobs and access plates and light fittings. No screw will ever remain unturned. Everything is awesome – especially you.

4. Bottle Opener

It’s the hottest weekend of the year and you and your mates have gone off on a picnic. There are cooked chicken legs and potato salad and all that green stuff no one eats. Most importantly there’s a cooler box full of beer and wine. Happy days.

Until, it’s revealed that Dan – whose one job was to get the booze – has bought bottled lager and Chardonnay with a cork instead of a screwtop. Clouds gather and at least one of your party begins to shake and cry with rage.

But your trusty penknife saves the day – for it has both corkscrew and bottle opener attachments. Hurrah!


5. First Aid

When accidents happen, that pen knife comes in very handy. The obvious uses are cutting bandages to length or rope to tie up a splint. A sterilised knife can be used to remove foreign objects like wooden spells from under the skin. When a patient can’t be moved, you may have to cut away clothes to relieve pressure on an open fracture – or to get better access to a wound to clean it. Burned clothing can also be cut away with a knife.

A hot knife can even be used to cauterise a wound in an extreme emergency. If you’re bleeding out and applying pressure alone isn’t enough to stop exsanguination, if emergency services are far from your location, then applying a hot knife to a clean wound seals the vessels and close the wound. Use this as an absolute last resort, as a cauterised wound will leave a nasty scar and melting your own flesh is ouchy.

6. You’re trapped

Ever been stuck in a toilet cubicle with a dodgy lock? Or got trapped by a malfunctioning seatbelt? Good job you’ve got your penknife with you then. You can unscrew the hinges on a door or cut through a broken seat belt.

Or how about this Australian farmer? Barry Lynch’s leg was trapped under a 9 nine tonne chemical tank following an accident. He used his pen knife to dig a trench under the affected limb and escape. It took him 6 hours with a gaping wound the “size of his fist”, but Barry survived to tell his story.

7. Zombie Apocalypse

You’ll be glad of carrying a penknife in the zombie apocalypse – and that’s not just because we were desperate for a seventh item on our list.

Oh no.

The trusty knife is one of the cleanest, quickest zombie killers available. An axe can get stuck, sapping precious seconds as you struggle to disengage. Lump hammers and mallets are too heavy. Guns misfire or can run out of ammo. You can cut your own hand off with a Samurai sword.

But a knife? Bang it into the zombie’s head (forehead, temple or eye are the preferred entry points), twist and extract. Works every time. Believe us… We know.

9 Sexy Things That Don’t Exist Any More

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"Bettie Page driving" by Unknown - Beauty Parade, http://vintagescans.blogspot.com/2008/12/bettie-page-remembered.html. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Bettie Page driving” by Unknown – Beauty Parade, http://vintagescans.blogspot.com/2008/12/bettie-page-remembered.html. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Amazingly, sex was not invented by the Millennials. We did have erotic artefacts and suggestive materials back in the deep, dark, pre-internet days. They were all just really, really weird. And not very sexy. Almost as if we couldn’t really cope with that actual hanky-panky itself and had to dress the whole process up in a variety of novelty items and odd movements. They truly were innocent, baffling times.


Back in the early 1980′s, pictures of naked people were considered far more acceptable and tantalising when a variety of fruits and vegetables were stuck on top of or near to the participants private parts. In the old days, you couldn’t move for nudes with a tastefully draped pineapple obscuring their modesty or else a couple of kumquats replicating the disguised organs, released as several volumes of a hardback, coffee table book called Rude Food. Many confused newlyweds fruitlessly searched for the fruit on their honeymoon.



Drop a sexy lady into any 1970′s sitcom or saucy English movie and you would be guaranteed to see a vicar tugging at his shirt collar before riding his bike into a hedge and a labourer of some variety vigorously thrusting a fist into the air, while grasping the inner arm firmly with the other hand and making a sound similar to ‘phwoar’ or ‘not half’. Now we live in far more enlightened times. And we’re also all too unfit to attempt such things.


For a spell in the mid 1980′s, the entire nation were enamoured of this crudely rendered cartoon penis. Willie was a bestselling book, then a film, board game, t-shirt and action figure. For a while, you couldn’t move in charity shops for Willie merchandise and then just as quickly, it all seemed to vanish. There is possibly a Willie mountain in a landfill somewhere. WARNING: VIDEO HAS WICKED WILLIE IN IT


In the days before super fast download speeds, we had to take our erotica anywhere we could find it. Foreign films, novelty pens where people’s clothes fell off, Eurotrash, tyre calendars and mail order catalogues all provided some much needed sexual frisson. When the aerobics boom erupted in the 1980′s, pioneered by Jane Fonda, there were suddenly a plethora of lycra-clad, day-glo leotard wearing female fitness fanatics, bending and thrusting, which certain types of gentleman (and ladies I imagine) ogled, which now seems rather depressing.


There might be some edible panties still loitering around questionable retail outlets, but if you are tempted to buy a pair, I would check the sell-by date first as they almost certainly come from the last century. There are so many questions attached to this fashion item, but I don’t think I can proffer any of them in a family website like this one. Let’s just say ‘why?’ and quickly move on.


“Knickers1″. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Not necessarily Red Shoe Diaries in particular, but that genre of vaguely sexy, Showtime style television programmes that had some catch-all premise (agony uncle, fancy hotel, call-in radio show) used to frame a series of R rated exploits, that always seemed to be filmed slightly out of focus. There would almost certainly be a naked lady in a fur coat and a shower scene and a detective on the trail of a murderer for some reason.


Just like Red Shoe Diaries, I’m thinking of that style of saucy British film from the 1970′s, which featured a ‘randy’ blue collar worker and a bevy of ‘dolly birds’. Just try to watch one of these films today and you will find the whole endeavour very questionable, unless you are screening it from a sociology point of view. They were usurped in the 1980′s by the Porky’s/Lemon Popsicle brand of teenage sex romp, which laid the foundations for American Pie and Road Trip. How does Robin Asquith sleep at nights?


The recent 50 Shades of Grey phenomena unleashed an avalanche of self-published erotic literature. But it was just the latest wave of this particular fictional form. In the 70′s and 80′s there was a whole host of sub-Story of O types books, not aimed at the romance reader who wanted something a bit more spicy, but marketed to the dirty old man crowd. They were usually penned by ‘Anonymous’ and tended to be Victorian in nature, featuring ladies of good standing corrupted by devious gentlemen due to some financial impropriety. Reading filth! In a book! It all sounds so quaint.



‘French polishing’. ‘Private tuition’. ‘Lawn mower for sale – one careful owner’. In the deep dark mists of the past, attempting to unearth some seedy, sordid activity had to be coerced via a covert system of code words and vague intimation that only the truly perverted could decipher. Until you had mastered this system of sexual hieroglyphics, you might contact someone about a chest of drawers, expecting something else and end up with a chest of drawers. It was a minefield.


“2008 newsagent Teignmouth England 3028456976″ by Mark Robinson from Williton, UK – Teignmouth Art. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


How to Make Fire

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Everyone knows how to make fire. You just take out a lighter and flick a switch – or strike a match. But what if you don’t have those things? What if you’re stuck in the wilderness with just what you’re wearing between you and the elements? Clue: your new name is “Wolf Food”.

Maybe not. The ability to make fire is what separates us from animals. Chimpanzees can use tools and communicate with sign language, but the minute they learn how to build a bonfire this’ll be Planet of the Apes.

"A lovely campfire" by Dirk Beyer - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

A lovely campfire” by Dirk BeyerOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Fire civilises. It brings light and warmth to the most inhospitable places. It dries us when we’re wet and lets us cook our food. It scares away creatures that mean us harm and stops us from perishing from hypothermia in the desert night. It keeps us alive.

So, if there’s one thing you should learn to do  - one thing you have a duty to learn as a human being – it’s how to make fire.


As Bruce Springsteen will tell you, you can’t start a fire without a spark. Well, you can – but using a spark is a classic method. It’s how your lighter works, after all.

Sparks are, literally, small, hot particles produced when two hard substances are struck together. The traditional combo is a piece of flint struck against steel; the back of a knife, for example. You can try combinations of hard rock if you don’t have flint to hand.

You won’t be able to directly light a bonfire with a spark. The best approach is to cut a strip of dry birch bark from a tree, then shave some off some of the outer skin to create tinder. Place the tinder on the birch strip then strike towards the tinder to make sparks.

Once the birch shavings are smoking, transfer this “coal” to a larger bunch of tinder; some dry grass, fungus, coconut matting, paper or bark shavings will do.

Modern bushmen carry around a tool called a “fire stick”. Using the same principle as flint and blade, you can easily create sparks by scraping a specially crafted steel key along a ferrocerium rod. It’s good enough for Ray Mears, so it’s good enough for us. Once you have your fire on the go, you can make a more combustible “char cloth” by drying out bark strips in a sealed tin on hot coals. The next time you make a fire with a spark, you can use this as your starting tinder.

The Sun

The sun is chucking out 15 million degrees centigrade of heat. Of course, by the time that heat reaches us it’s dissipated a bit… And in dear old Blighty, we don’t get to see it all that often. But, given the right conditions, concentrating light and heat from Sol remains the easiest way to start a fire.

You’ll need two things to harness the heat of the sun; some tinder and something to focus the sun’s light and heat. You can use a magnifying glass, the lens from a pair of spectacles, the bottom of a glass bottle or even the curved edge of a (full) water bottle. Concentrate the light into the tinder until it begins to catch light, then build your fire around it.

Friction Fires

You know how boy scouts are supposed to know how to start fires by rubbing two sticks together? The first thing you need to know is that there is absolutely nothing rude about rubbing two sticks together, so you can stop sniggering at the back.

In the traditional “boy scout” method, you create a “hand drill”. Firstly, you prepare a board by cutting a good sized “V” shaped nick in one edge. Lay the board on the ground. Underneath the nick, place a piece of dried bark, fungus or cloth then pile in some tinder; dried grass or bark shavings.

This is where you second “stick” comes in. Sharpen a dry stick to a blunt point then, holding the stick upright with both hands, place the point next to the nick in the board. Now you rub your hands together to rotate the stick, pushing down at the same time to apply pressure to the board. The friction heats up the wood and the “coal” that’s created should begin to light your small amount of tinder. Once alight, you can apply that to a bigger bundle of tinder and begin to build your fire.

There are several variations of this method. Another, relatively easy one is the “fire plough”. Again you need two pieces of wood; a board or thick, dry branch and a stick. Both must be stripped of bark. In this version, you use a knife to carve a groove about 10 inches long in the board. Next, you place some tinder (bark shavings, cotton wool) at the end of the groove. To get the fire going, you slide the sharpened stick with fast, even strokes along the groove until friction heats up the fire board and the tinder begins to smoke.

Building your fire

In each of the cases above, you end up with some smoking, burning tinder. To turn the tinder into a roaring campfire you’ll need to prepare in advance:

  • Clear the area where the fire will be set
  • Make sure it’s away from dry trees and grass
  • Dig a shallow pit to build the fire in (this will protect the heart of the fire from the elements)
  • Collect kindling – small twigs and branches to help get the fire going
  • Collect firewood to fuel the fire

When your bundle of tinder begins to smoke, waft it in the wind or blow on it to get it burning faster and to develop flames. Put the tinder in your prepared fire pit and quickly add more tinder and kindling to get the fire going. When you have a decent fire going with kindling, you can begin to add larger pieces of wood.

To maximise the heat output from your fire and to protect it, places stones around the perimeter. These will soon warm up and continue to throw out heat even when your fire is burning down. They also help to prevent the fire from spreading.

Congratulations! You know how to make fire and have increased the probability that you will survive in the wilderness from 2% to 77%. Now you just have to avoid getting eaten by bears and everything will be fine.

11 Things You Only See During the British Summer

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"Rain-on-Thassos" by Edal Anton Lefterov - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Rain-on-Thassos” by Edal Anton Lefterov – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Ahhhhhh! Is there anything more glorious than a British summer? The intrigue, the confusion, the unpredictability. Sadly, other countries have to suffer the unfortunate condition whereby they endure months of uniform heat and sunshine. Now how is that supposed to keep you on your toes and form character? No, give me the UK summertime any day with it’s biting winds, sudden sleet and lobster red participants. And when you do luxuriate in our finest of seasons, keep your eye out for these idiosyncratic happenings.


Some locations have their palm trees, tranquil lakes and unusual insects. But I challenge you to find any other country that has so many hot dogs standing in the street noisily lapping water from an oven-baked pie tin.  It brings a lump to the throat every time you witness it, especially if it’s a labrador.


Some things just look out of place when wearing a suit. Limboing. Deep fat frying. And, of course, eating luxury ice lollies. But once the temperature hits a certain point, you simply have no choice except to duck into a newsagents and avail yourself of a Magnum, Funny Feet or Solero. And if you are over forty and wearing your finest business togs, it never looks quite right. And they know it.

"Kulfi" by stu_spivack - originally posted to Flickr as kulfi. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Kulfi” by stu_spivack – originally posted to Flickr as kulfi. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


In some countries, where high temperatures are the norm, public transport bows to the tyranny of air conditioning. Ludicrous! Yes, they have far less old people and pregnant women sprawled out at the bottom of the stairs afflicted by heat exhaustion, meaning you have to clamber over them to get a seat. But what is there to talk about? Certainly not the violent, potentially lethal heat, which is the major topic of conversation on every bus, tram and funicular from May to October. I pity them.


“Athens bus interior in 2013″ by Cogiati – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Some people, who sadly live abroad, think that we Brits are inhibited. Repressed, unemotional and buttoned-up. But if they visited during the summer months they’d see a citizenry who revel in completely inappropriate levels of nakedness, especially in areas of high occupancy. Supermarkets, clinics, furniture showrooms and churches: all will see the back, flank and shoulders of overweight middle-aged men wearing only Primark shorts and a smile.


America thinks it’s so clever with their ‘drive-in movies’. But up and down this great nation during the summer months, you will see classic movies screened outside at castles, historic buildings and stately homes, for the entertainment of the local population. In fact there’s a whole host of external activities including country fairs, bandstand concerts and theatrical productions, all bravely enjoyed through lashing, painful rain and shin-high in mud.

"Mud at Glasto 2007" by Original uploader was Vintagekits at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Kafuffle using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons

“Mud at Glasto 2007″ by Original uploader was Vintagekits at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Kafuffle using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons


The second that the final frost of spring melts away, we dust off the grill, drag the briquettes out of the shed and dig through the freezer for some dangerously out of date meat. Barbecue scientists have recently revealed that it takes an average of four dads to actually get the charcoal alight, using enough lighter fuel to successfully ignite the Wicker Man and enough puff to inflate a warehouse full of lilos.


Despite the Britain being both an island and largely agricultural, for some reason there never seems to be enough empty green or sandy places to adequately compliment all of the nation’s sun-worshippers. For this reason, the moment that the sun emerges from behind the grey, hail-filled clouds, any compatible spot: roundabouts, floral clocks, football pitch touchlines, waste ground, dog parks, verges and fallow fields, are all descended upon by people with bedsheets and a copy of OK magazine.



For some British holidaymakers, the entire fortnight is spent in a nearby arcade, dutifully dropping ten pences into the shuffling, shelf gambling machine (they have no official name) attempting to nudge a life-changing mound of coins towards the slot and into your clammy palms. And you know that the second you leave your position, some kid will come along drop one coin in, give the machine a nudge and grab your jackpot.


Probably because they purchased them sometime in 1965 and have hung onto them ever since, elderly ladies always seem to have the most amazing protective eyewear that wouldn’t look out of place at the Cannes Film Festival or on the face of some Indie rockstar darling. When your gran turns the conversation towards the painful subject of her will, don’t ask for cash or ornaments, make sure you get her sunnies.

"Whn" by ger1axg - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

“Whn” by ger1axg – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons


Has a child ever been given a 99 and not immediately started bawling? How can anyone be unhappy while holding a Mr Whippy? And yet if you hang around an ice-cream van, you will be guaranteed to see a toddler with a cornet, screaming like a banshee. And, if you are still hanging around an ice-cream van, you’ll probably attract the attention of the local constabulary.


For several months during the summer season, it feels as if our entire human discourse revolves around phrases that wouldn’t be out of place in an Ealing comedy from the 1950′s. Comments such as ‘Isn’t it close?’, ‘Phwoar what a scorcher’ and ‘It’s hot in the sun’. As soon as autumn kicks in, sometime around mid-August, we all revert to normal speech again and say things like ‘What are you looking at?’ ‘Get out of my way’ and ‘It’s too cold to snow’.


“FoggDam-NT” by Bidgee – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons