The column that suspects there may not necessarily be a German word for everything (Möglicherweisegibtesnicht
“Haverstock House was a splendid, regal, crumbling Elizabethan pile. Although her intimidating towers stood loyally to attention, like twin beacons guarding a lost, promised Valhalla, years of cruel undiscerning winds had conspired with the interminable, pummelling Yorkshire rain to erode her once proud façade so that when…”
READER: Hang on, what’s all this about? This is my spot, what’s going on?MYSELF: Go away, I’m writing my novel, shortly to become a big budget BBC costume drama. “…eroded her once-proud façade so that it….”
READER: Stop! Do you suppose for one minute that any of your readers are going to fall for this clichéd piffle? You can’t just start writing a novel in the middle of a column! Particularly during my bit.
MYSELF: Your bit? May I remind you that you are a mere figment of my malignant imagination, a literary ventriloquist’s dummy, a trick of the pen? There can be no ‘your bit’, since you do not actually exist, so shut up.
READER: OK, carry on with your pretentious ‘novel’ then. As it happens, I’ve recently been invited to contribute to the Hastings Observer obituary column, as a bit of light relief, so don’t come crying to me when your readers desert you in droves after I’ve gone.
MYSELF: I won’t. Now, where was I? “…Yet half a mile off the rain-soaked Yorkshire coast, the plaintive whimpering cries of mermaids penetrated the thick mist. Concubine and seraphim in mutual conspiracy, perpetually pleading from wave-lashed rocks. Ten brave fisherman perished that night, their tiny fragile boats tossed like jetsam on the treacherous reef which lurked beneath the…beneath the….” It’s no use. I’ve lost my thread now.
READER: Let that be a lesson to you.
Love pork scratchings but hate getting pig hair stuck in your teeth? Professor Gordon Thinktank, Hastings’ resident science boffin, has come up with a solution to this age-old problem. He has developed a tiny disposable razor and shaving brush which can be inserted into individual packets, so that customers can shave the porcine bar snacks before scoffing them with a beer. Early feedback from specially selected pubs has indicated that the public have given the invention the thumbs up. “It will become generally available as soon as we’ve worked out how to reduce the size of the shaving cream dispenser.” The inventor told us, “as at the moment it has to be supplied in a separate container.”
THE HIPCAST HELPLINE
The Hipcast Helpline with Jonathan Done-Hamm, is here to help you, so why not tune in and call us? You can find the number on the little cards pinned up in most public telephone boxes in town. Here’s Frank on the line from Battle:
HIP: Hello, welcome, Frank, you’re live on the Hipcast Helpline. What’s your problem?
FRANK: Jon, love the show, but I can’t find my keys.
HIP: Have you checked the fridge?
FRANK: Have I checked the fridge? Of course I’ve checked the fridge. That’s the first place I looked.
HIP: No luck?
FRANK: Nothing. Just some curled up rocket leaves and out-of-date yoghurt. No sign of the keys. That’s why I called you.
HIP: Frank, we’ll do our best to help you. Let’s start with a process of elimination.
FRANK: OK but hang on. Can I just rule a few places out first Jon? Saves time.
HIP: Fair enough if you think that’ll help, go ahead.
FRANK: OK. The ticket pocket in those trousers I never wear, the corduroys.
HIP: Check. What about the cupboard under the stairs?
FRANK: I was coming to that.
FRANK: No wait! I haven’t looked there yet.
HIP: No problem, Frank. Would you like to have a look now?
FRANK: I can’t.
HIP: We can hold on while you …
FRANK: No, I don’t have a cupboard under the stairs. I live in a bungalow.
HIP: Ah, a bungalow. So you don’t even have stairs, right?
FRANK: Correct, Jon.
HIP: Any other cupboards?
FRANK: Lots. I’m extremely well off for cupboard space as it happens. None of them are situated under the stairs though.
HIP: So let’s keep those cupboards under suspicion. Have we ruled everything out now Frank?
FRANK: I’ve checked behind the gas meter where I keep my premium bonds and the tropical aquarium, so more or less, yes.
HIP: OK. It’s time to do some Hipcast Helpline detective work!
FRANK: I’m ready, how do we do this?
HIP: You just need to answer a few questions.
FRANK: I like the sound of it. Fire away.
HIP: Right. Where do you normally keep your keys?
FRANK: In my jacket pocket.
HIP: Have you looked there?
FRANK: In my jacket pocket? Not yet, no.
HIP: Are you wearing the jacket?
FRANK: It’s on the back of my chair.
HIP: Right. Have a look in the pockets.
FRANK: OK. Hang on … Bloody hell! There they are!
HIP: Amazing. We got there, Frank!
FRANK: My keys! I’m so grateful!
HIP: Thanks for calling the Hipcast Helpline!
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