Posts Categorized: Factoid

British Summer Time: 11 Things You Won’t See Anywhere Else

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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. DOGS OUTSIDE PUBS DRINKING WATER FROM FRAY BENTOS TINS 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. BUSINESSMEN LOOKING CONSPICUOUS AS THEY EAT SOLEROS 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…

How to Play Guitar: Get Your First Gig In Seven Days

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To become an expert in anything, it takes 10,000 hours practice. Stuff that, we say. You can learn how to play guitar in about seven days. Most of those days will be spent practicing over and over until your fingers feel like they’re made of leather – but it can, we promise, be done. First, gather together all the stuff you will need: An acoustic guitar Some plectra (the plural of “plectrum”) A guitar strap A capo (we’ll explain this later) Three chords Finger tips of steel (these will come with practice) Why an acoustic guitar? Electric guitars are more expensive and they require additional stuff to work, like an amplifier and electricity. You can play an acoustic guitar anywhere. Also, you don’t need to spend a lot on an acoustic guitar. You can pick up a playable instrument new for under £100. If you don’t mind buying second-hand, you can halve that. Take a muso friend with you when you buy your guitar to make sure it’s not a lemon. Or just borrow your muso friend’s guitar. Much cheaper. Plectrums are the little plastic doohickeys you use to strum the strings of your guitar. Get half a dozen, medium thickness from any…

How To Make Steamy Movie Scenes Less Embarrassing

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Obviously, the find the whole idea of X-rated entertainment and erotic cinematic elements to be vile and unethical. But there is no escaping it. We are now bombarded with love scenes from every television soap opera, foreign film and petrol station forecourt. And we are appalled. What about us pure, upstanding individuals who are forced to experience this stuff? Surely there’s some room for invention in an attempt to keep us feeling less embarrassed, especially if our mum is in the room? I believe the following elements would vastly  improve adult situations when they crop up and make them more palatable to those of us who consider the whole thing utterly wicked. TRIVIA SECTION If you are of a queasy nature (like myself) you’ll often be squirming in your seat when some rude scenario suddenly appears on screen. But if some competition element was introduced, I could be entertained and distracted during those bits. Perhaps a Krypton Factor style observation quiz could be added, with questions appearing at the end of the scene along the lines of ‘What colour were the curtains?’, ‘Which female celebrity does that lady look like?’ or ‘How would you react if your gran walked in right now?’ Just for…

How to Win at Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Every Time

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Poker is cool. It’s like playing snap, except that you can win money. And now that there’s online poker, you don’t even have to put your trousers on when you play. Did you know there are people who play poker for a living? It’s totally a thing. The best players take home tens of millions of dollars every year.They can do that because poker isn’t a game of chance – it’s a game of odds. If you play the odds intelligently and consistently, you can win at poker over and over. And over. If you’ve never played poker at all the game is easy to pick up. Try a few free sites or mobile apps to learn the basics. Once you have the rules down, these eight tips will transform you from a poker rookie to a pro by the time you’ve finished reading. Don’t play drunk The Hollywood image of poker is of hard drinking men in back rooms chomping cigars and sipping bourbon. Truth is, alcohol impairs your judgement – in a specific way – that makes it a no-no for poker. It decreases your inhibitions so you’re more likely to take a chance. To win at poker,…

James Bond VS Jason Bourne: Who’s Hardest?

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If you were to run up to a stranger in the street and scream into their faces, ‘Quickly, who are the two premiere male spy movie icons in the world?’ they would almost certainly reply with fear, ‘James Bond and Jason Bourne. Please don’t hurt me.’ And they would be right! But who is the better espionage agent, the classic, crusty, drunken James Bond or the young, brain-damaged usurper Jason Bourne. Let’s find out together… INITIALS If you are to be a true gentleman spy, then initials are vitally important. You’ll want to have every possible possession monogrammed, even if you are traveling incognito. Of course, with both James and Jason they are JB’s. But, as is so often the case with these things, it’s more complicated than that. Jason is actually JCB, having the middle name Charles, which is a lot better than Bond’s plain old JB. But let us not forget, Jason Bourne isn’t really Jason Bourne, it’s just one of his many aliases. As far as we can assess, he is really called David Webb, which is a rubbish name. And DW are rubbish initials. WINNER: BOND PUNCHING Certainly, Bond can use his fists when he is…

How to Cheat Death With A Lightning Strike

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Though it’s a common atmospheric phenomenon with over 8 million known lightning bolts flung from the heavens every day, there are still some mysteries that scientists don’t quite understand. We do know that in storm conditions clouds act like giant capacitors, storing up electrical energy. Lightning is the discharge of this energy between the ground and the cloud. With an average 30,000 Amperes of charge, there’s enough electrical power in a single bolt of lightning to power 3500 kettles or to light up 250 houses. The core of the bolt is five times hotter than the sun. We could go into much more detail, but this isn’t a science lesson – the only other thing you need to know is that if you’re hit by lightning, you might die. Instantly. How could you possibly survive that? Fortunately for you, we know. The Facts According to David Hand’s book The Improbability Principle, the chances that you’ll be struck and killed by lightning in the course of your lifetime are 300,000 to 1. Some statistical sources halve that to 1 in 140,000. Either way you look at it, those are pretty long odds… You’re more likely to be legally executed than are…

How To Win A Competitive Eating Competition

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What is competitive eating? Let me answer that with another question. What do you think it is, idiot? Yes, competitive eating is exactly what you think it is, cramming various food items into your face (and stomach) over a particular period of time. Whoever eats the most, wins the toast (if it’s a toast eating contest). But how do munching mavericks like Kobayashi, Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas achieve these feats? Watch and learn (and then eat). THE BACKGROUND You might think it’s just some crazed restaurant owner who tries to drum up business by having various local lunatics chow down on an unfeasibly large amount of carbs, but that simply isn’t the case. There’s not one but two official food eating federations: the International Federation of Competitive Eaters (IFOCE) and the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (AICE). Both groups oversee and invigilate feats of food eating all over the world. But there’s a major rule differential between the two. With AICE food has to be eaten as presented with no mashing, blending or dunking. With IFOCE anything goes, squish it, poke it, rub it, they don’t care as long as it gets in your tummy. Now there are eating…

How To Make Make Friends In A New City Abroad

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Staying in a foreign country, whether you’re passing through as part of a gap year or staying on a bit longer, can be tough. You’re on your own, you don’t speak the language and everything is new and different. That can be cool for a while, just you against the world. But human beings were designed to be social animals and everyone tires of their own company after the 2nd or 3rd day. So, how do you make friends in a foreign country? The truth is, the rules aren’t all that different to making friends anywhere. In fact, it may even be easier to make friends abroad because you’ve got one key, cool thing going for you; you’re foreign. That automatically makes you 23% more interesting than normal. It also gives you an excuse to behave in ways you might avoid at home; to be a bit more proactive and outgoing. And here are nine ways you can channel that new found, exotic behaviour into finding friends: Learn the Language To our everlasting shame, we’re well aware that most of the world speaks English. About 1 in 4 of the world’s population, according to British Council statistics. In most of the…

The Least Fit Sportsmen In History

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In recent times we’ve been spoiled by a plethora of incredible sporting events. The Olympics, World Cup and Commonwealth Games have all showcased athletes at the height of their powers and peak physical fitness. But let’s not forget that for every Mo Farah and Hulk, there’s a schlub like you and me excelling in their chosen field with a minimal amount of effort. This is a celebration of those champion sporting figures who were world-beaters and still knew their way around a pie and a pint. ‘BIG’ BILL WERBENIUK A snooker behemoth who was as well known for his feats of drinking as he was for his cueing skills. His average intake was a pint per frame, which usually equalled around a dozen or so per game. It’s reported that he once drank 76 cans of lager during a game against John Spencer in the 1970’s. And he is probably the only champion sportsman who has a section of his Wikipedia entry titled ‘Trouser Splitting Incident’. It just goes to show you the power of multi-tasking – if you are good at two things (like snooker and drinking) why not combine them? JOCKY WILSON Thanks to the smoking ban and…

How to Have a Wedding on the Cheap

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  Hurrah! You are about the become betrothed to the person you love. Commiserations! You are skint and that situation is not going to change anytime soon. There’s only one thing for it. A scrimpy, savey, wedding on the cheap. All corners will be cut,  all pennies will be pinched, all buffet items will be from Iceland (or lower). But if you simply don’t know where to start with your budget nuptials, here are a few tips to get you going. THE ENGAGEMENT Before you can even begin to think about your miserly wedding, you need to plan your miserly engagement. The ring is going to be the biggest outlay, so you need to start hunting for bargains. Remember that ‘second hand’ is just another word for ‘vintage’. Find a classic deco sparker on eBay (obviously being careful and researching exactly what you’re getting) or take a trip to the Jewellery Quarter in either Birmingham or London. Or perhaps you can gently suggest that their may be a beloved family heirloom that can be used for extra emotional resonance. Worth a try. THE PLANNING The important thing to do is organise a budget and then stick to it like a…