Sunday, 31 March 2013

"This bedroom tax thing intrigues me. Farnsworth - nip along and count ours would you please?"

Oyez! Oyez!

Spring’s a bit slow showing up this year isn’t it? All to do with the jet stream pointing the wrong way or something.

What hasn’t slowed up is this government’s rolling programme of daft ideas. A multi-multi billion quid high speed train. A hundred million quid link road from Hastings to Bexhill which will take the hapless drivers across a well-established flood plain. How useless can you get? Useless that is, in terms of yer ordinary plebs like you and me. For Dave and his independently rich chums, it's not unlike Mrs Thatcher’s Falklands War. Granted, the UK recomissioning a few obsolete bombers, steaming warships down the Atlantic and sacrificing soldiers and sailors whilst knocking seven bells out of Argentina’s c class war machine including a 300 year-old cruiser didn’t last long, but it did win an election on a wave of Churchillian pride. With Dave’s super–train, it’ll take a tad longer (20 years) but the important thing is the ANNOUNCEMENT, not the completion.

It's not unlike the re-hash of the benefits system ("Hooray, hooray!" from the Daily Mail wing). What an utter balls-up that is. One of Dave’s rich boy chums said the other day that whilst in the past, rent was paid direct to landlords, NOW the tenant would be responsible for doing that. He added that this change would “educate” people about the management of money. How incredibly arrogant can one rich kid get? Its no wonder leeches like Wonga and all the pay-day lenders are getting fatter and fatter.
Then there’s the laughable bedroom tax. A kid leaves home for university. Does he/she still have a room at home? Short answer. Dunno. Long answer. Dunno.

Enough. Happier things … you must all hey-ho to the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival for its 10th Anniversary show, 19th-21st April. This year’s theme is “TIME” it’s the biggest corralling of notable cartoonists in the country, all of whom will be seen working live, all for free! Best and busiest day is usually the Saturday (20th) Even smoothiepants London can’t offer this level of attraction.

OK – plug over.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir or Madam,

I was interested to read in your “On this Day” section reference to certain garden birds. Quite apart from regular garden forays from the Stoned Curlew, my husband and I have witnessed visits to our garden from the far rarer Completely Hammered Curlew. These dishevelled looking birds usually arrive in noisy groups, stagger about a bit, damaging my phlox, before being driven off by a mating pair of spectacled twites which live in a flowering turnip bush near our pond. Often they are assisted by our resident crested henfumblers when the latter tire of interfering with the chickens.

I hope that this has been of interest and will get my name in print.

Yours Truly,

Emily Bangtrouser (47) (Mrs) 

Dear Mr Pangolin,
I wonder if you can help me. I live in a one–bedroomed maisonette. I am a 76 year old widower with no plans to remarry though I do quite fancy Elsie Bridgestone who runs the bar down the British Legion. I want to know about the government’s new bedroom tax under which you get taxed if your bedroom is empty. Friends tell me that if I can’t afford to pay, the government can move somebody in. Does that mean that when I come back from the shops there’ll be a homeless person in my bedroom? Can I nominate somebody? I’d pick Elsie Bridgestone who is not exactly homeless but could be if I shop her to the council for cheating on her benefits.

Yours faithfully,

Alan Ballast

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Familiar Pangolin Staff as Juveniles. (1) Dr Peter Whimbrel

The above photo shows Dr Peter Whimbrel in his immature form; it was before colour TV was invented and people still lived in black and white.  His parents, Skulduggery and Miasma Whimbrel, were nevertheless delighted that he had managed to power a single lightbulb by the simple expedient of attaching a dynamo to his pet rat's exercise wheel.  His invention of the treadmill followed soon afterwards, long before anyone had thought of making him a doctor.

As you can see, he was as much of a nutter then as he is now, though his distinctive tapir-like proboscis was only in its formative stage.

He is shown here trying to grow the fingers of his fingerless gloves, using only the power of his personality and his funny little squinty eyes.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Museum Selection

The Glossop Museum of Pictures an' That is proud to offer you a preview of its latest range of gifts;  gifts that will last a lifetime, gifts that you will want to pass on to your children, gifts which will mark you out as a pretentious pillock with more money than sense!

Firstly, the 'Jackson Pollock' table cloth...
There was a time when you sighed and tutted when your children split their Ribena and icecream on your spotless linen table cloth.  You sighed, tutted and possibly even uttered rude words when they were old enough to spill red wine and regurgitated curries on it!

Let this be a thing of the past, with a wonderful 'Jackson Pollock' table cloth. Every trail of ketchup, salad cream and ink will become part of this masterpiece, which will gain in maturity with every passing generation.  You will be so entranced with the general slobbishness of your extended family, that you won't even want to wash it - thereby saving you the kind of household chore that really should be carried out by the servants in any case.

This beautiful item can be yours for only £1345.00.

The 'Paul Cézanne' Shelving Unit...
Billy Bookcases and their kin are for the riff-raff, let's face it.  To mark yourself out as a person of culture, treat yourself to one of these fabulous
hand-crafted pieces of furniture.  No two are exactly alike, the fixings being attached randomly by the factory cat and then removed randomly by the factory practical joker.

We understand your need to proclaim yourself as an intellectual, and this wonderful unit comes supplied with a  selection of books on a theme which you feel represents you to the world in the best light.  You will also get your own Cézanne apples, some of which may sit on the shelves, and some of which merely sit there all out of proportion whilst giving your guests a worrying distortion of perspective.

The available themes are:

Differential Equations in Beekeeping
Spectroscopy for Caterers
Social Foundations of Manhole Covers
History of Booties and other Knitwear
Greenfly for Beginners

Yours for only £125,000.00

The 'Damien Hirst' Aquarium...
Love the relaxing tranquility of an aquarium in the room, but keep forgetting to feed your fish?

Forget it!  We can supply you with a mammoth stuffed goldfish, freshly pickled in formaldehyde, which is guaranteed to stay as vibrant as the day you bought it!

When you've had your fill of looking at 'Goldie' staring to the left, simply turn the aquarium round to make him stare to the right.

With advance warning, we can even come and collect the dead shoal of fish from your current aquarium, prepare them and install them in the 'Damien Hirst' aquarium!  (£500 per fish).

The whole item including installation and goldfish as shown:  £150,000.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

"He's been poncing about like that ever since he was in that damned tapestry."

We at Pangolin H.Q. are proud and excited to have acquired the services of astrological rebel Madge Fishwick, bête noir of the star world. Says Madge:

“I can’t be doing with all that planets, stars and heavenly bodies malarkey. I just get these feelings about people, when their birthdays are, and what sort of eyebrows they have. I work best with peoples’ belongings, especially their pin numbers and bank details, but failing that, if you send watches, partial dentures or socks to Pangolin HQ, I’ll give you a personal reading for £45.99p + VAT.

For this column though, which I should add, I’m doing for next to nothing, everything’s going to be fairly general. So let’s kick off with…

Aries.... Not a good week. If you’re an especially vain but balding, nonedescript bloke and you wear a wig, you will realize that people ARE sniggering behind your back. You will be consumed with feelings of revenge and on the 15th will be caught fiddling with the brakes on your boss’s car.

Taurus…. You were born under the so-called “practical” sign, but believe me, that’s total bollocks and when it comes to flat-pack furniture assembly, you’re just as inept anybody else. Watch out for that Stanley knife.

Gemini…. The Twins. Huh! Two people in one? Don’t you believe it. If you’re born under Gemini, you’re just an indecisive pain in the arse, forever changing your mind and irritating everybody. And yes, your bum looks huge in that. Because it is. It’d look big in a tent.

Well, thanks Madge. No punches pulled there. Brace youself for Cancer (oo-er!) Leo and Virgo (oh yeah?) coming soon!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

For Sale - Double Yellow Lines (faulty)

Glossop and District Council had decided to put in double yellow lines along Cock-a-Hore Road (where the seasonal parking used to be) in order to prevent congestion.  I decided to try it in my bedroom, but the pile of dirty clothes, old newspapers and takeaway cartons is as bad as ever.

I now offer for the sale the double yellow lines;  they are clearly non-operative, but may be useful to an enthusiast for spares.

Only £40.00 for the pair.

Delivery:  Free;  local pick-up only.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

On this Day

Three Years Ago

Self-taught amateur ornithologist Arnold Throstle of Tring published details of all the birds visiting his garden in the forty years since he first moved in. As explained in accompanying notes, the list includes many unusual species and rare visitors to Hertfordshire, some of them such masters of disguise that their presence could be verified by call-song only. These included –
stoned curlew
flied piecatcher
bearded twite
spectacled twite
pink-footed phalarope
whiskered twite
blue-kneed dotterel
short-tailed tit
Sardinian twite
Belgian twite
Arctic cassowary
crested hen fumbler.

One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago

Minor poet Patrick Hatrick was born in Quorn. He went on to write three books of verse, some quite bad, some a bit worse.

Seventy-Five Years Ago

Scientists engaged on the top-secret TWANG Project (Targeting Weapons and Noiseless Gunnery) at Tufton Down announced a major breakthrough in their research efforts focused on the use of elasticated launch systems deploying industrial-strength rubber bands. Six years into the project, the Director of Pelletary Engineering (sporting a thick bandage over one eye) was well satisfied that much had been learnt from experimentation with small-scale trials in a closed environment.

Two Years Ago

Colourful tales of Cavalier lovemaking (‘spirals of steam rose off his hot flanks as she lay gasping on the fetid straw…’) delighted members of the Exmoor Over Nineties Book Circle when historical novelist Daphne Rollover came to give readings from her latest publication, ‘With Lance at the Ready’

The evening closed with a surprise visit by members of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade, called in to help out with proceedings.

Friday, 15 March 2013

National Knee Scare - We Need Action Now!

The knee epidemic presently sweeping the country caught health bosses unprepared, says Professor Anna Prongg from Glossop Yooni and Mechanics' Institute.  "My colleagues and I have been urging local Health Authorities nationally to establish exactly how many of the rogue knees there are. Whilst we accept that unusual climatic conditions have encouraged normally migratory knees to settle here in the UK, we must understand that a healthy pair of knees will reproduce alarmingly quickly.  An immediate knee-cull is the only solution," says Professor Prongg.

Mr Alan Flabbie (43) sent us this shocking picture of a pair of adult knees in Ditchley town centre and says:  "I was just about to cross the road to take my stuffed wombat to the dry cleaners when a couple of these knees jumped right out in front of me.  Having been a Glossop United supporter all my life, I'm not easily scared, but I don't mind telling you the whole thing really shook me."
A distraught Mr Flabbie added that the shock caused him to drop his beloved wombat, which was immediately run over by an egg lorry.

Comments Prof Prongg: "Mr Flabbie's experience is by no means unique.  Knees, together or singly, are taking over urban areas certainly, but we also have compelling evidence that the threat is rural, too, as shown by this picture snapped by Mrs Flora McMargerine (39) near Auchtermauchcterlochtiemochtie Castle, Dumfifeshire.
A visibly shaken Mrs McMargerine said "I was out shampooing my llamas when this huge pair of knees loomed out of the mist.  They stood there for a few minutes then made off, making that horrid noise, in the direction of the castle."

A police search ensued and no fewer than 27 pairs of knees were found nesting in the ancient castle.

Professor Prongg concludes:  "Alarm is spreading through the nation.  Knees are frightening things and the only way to control them is to encase them in denim or some other stout material.  This will lessen their urge to mate and induce a certain torpor. But this is dangerous work and a blow to the groin from an angry knee can be serious. I call upon the government to act now and bring in Army personnel who, with the aid of body armour, will be able to corral all feral knees until their natural migratory instincts kick in and they return to the Northern tundras for the summer."

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Exclusive! Webly's Take on New Pope!


Well, it finally happened, and we have a new Pope. I say “we” when I suppose I mean “they”, but gosh, one cannot deny the deep joy which emanated from the packed crowds in St Peter’s Square when white smoke issued from the Papal Chimney. And here I stand corrected. That smoke isn’t from the burning of unsuccessful candidates as I suggested the other day, but from the Cardinals’ ballot papers. That piece of wonky information was given to me by a young know-it-all curate in my employ – well, used to be in my employ but who is now back doing prison visits at Broadmoor.

Interestingly, the new Pope is from Argentina, a faraway land of which we know little beyond childhood memories of Fray Bentos corned beef – although I much preferred boiled ham sandwiches with the crusts cut off – and all the present argy-bargy regarding the Falkland Islands. Apparently the new Pope’s home country lays claim to this quintessentially British territory and Argentina’s political leaders have been jolly rude about us. Hopefully, the new Pontiff will be able to have a word.

Meanwhile, here at home I have been deeply impressed at the way Mr Cameron has recently dropped plans to increase the price of alcohol, just as he advised that odd little fellow Gove to drop plans for a Baccalaureate exam for 16 year olds. I mean, Heavens Above! How many 16 year olds can even spell “baccalaureate"?

But the alcohol about-face is no bad thing. I mean, if you’re in a dead-end job, or even unemployed, how better to forget your troubles than going out and getting a little squiffy at the weekend? British peasants and yeomen have been doing that for centuries. And most street furniture is made of plastic these days anyway and is easily hosed down.

Let’s not forget the huge contribution made to our struggling economy by the drinks industry. Why, I myself am partial to an aged Rioja, or a few glasses of Barolo, retailing, I am told, for as little as £32.50p per bottle.

And Red Nose Day is imminent. I shall be eagerly taking part from the Palace, reading out several jokes I am having explained to me later today.

Pip, pip,


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Music Review - Bladder Lanes at Stubbs End Community College

By R T Faherty, Arts Critic

Having been thrown out of almost several art exhibitions for brawling, inebriation and flatulence, old R T's now been shuffled sideways to become Pangolin's music reviewer!  What-ho!

Well, my first assignation was to deliver a piece on a 'freeform audio visual collective' by the name of Bladder Lanes, whose performance was taking place at Stubbs End Community College.  They had insisted on setting up their equipment in the gentlemen's lavatories - to 'explore the role of chance in the creation of the work of art', while the college groundsman instructed agitated gentlemen to relieve themselves anywhere along the perimeter of the college sports field.  He reckons it deters badgers.

Bladder Lanes aim 'to punch a hole in the timewaste continuum'.  The last person to review them 'loved their vibe', but was unfortunately unable to follow them further.  Nobody's quite sure why, but he was last spotted sitting comfortably up a plane tree in the Piccadilly area, blowing peas at passers by.

The act comprises two hooded musicians, Selwyn Buttock and Piper Nobbs (he sports a shower cap with small buttercups).  Buttock sings at a laptop at sixty second intervals in the manner of a funeral dirge, the words culled from James Thurber's version of 'Little Red Riding Hood'; meanwhile, Nobbs takes a bow saw to a double bass, and the sound is collected and magically transformed into a video display where small sausages appear to battle it out with a pair of sugar tongs and a sachet of mayonnaise.  The pace quickens as the sounds become 'a moment of introspection, of reflectivity and reflection, where music interrupts itself to give way to research and theoretical questioning.'

There were some unusual rhythmic devices, too, but these turned out to be from gentlemen who had availed themselves of the facilities.The funeral dirge then reaches a crescendo with the words 'Even in a nightdress, a wolf looks no more like your grandmother than Basil Brush looks like George Osbourne!'.

The tragic dénouement of Thurber's tale arises, of course, when Little Red Riding Hood takes an automatic out of her picnic basket and shoots the wolf dead.

Unfortunately that's almost what happened at the performance, in a Pirandellesque reenactment of an alternative reality. A local farmer, Todger Postlethwaite, is helping police with their enquiries;  meanwhile his neighbours have had a whip-round and bought him a large gold medal and a full barrel of the local ale, 'Old Dogbreath'.

Buttock assures me he'll be replacing his late musical partner once he's discharged from hospital.  Not to be missed!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

On This Day...

Twenty-Three Years Ago

Continuous heavy rain could do nothing to dampen spirits at Pocklethwaite’s annual Festival and Fun Day. At an early stage of proceedings the decision was taken to move the event from the vicarage lawns to the curate’s front room. In view of the weather a few of the outdoor attractions did have to be cancelled, including the pony rides, bouncy castle, tug of war, marching band, crockery smashing, competitive races and planned displays of country dancing by the Doris Maybole School of Terpsichore. There was face-painting for the children.

Nine Years Ago

Guest speaker at the Glumsdyke Bright Hour Club was retired postman Alf Crumples, who delighted his small but enthusiastic audience with hilarious tales of deliveries made to wrong addresses. After thirty-four years on the same round, the speaker was promoted to regional supervisor with the job of supervising deliveries in the region. Among his other duties was the organisation of the annual staff dinner, along with the daily distribution of rubber-bands on designated pavement areas. 

Monday, 11 March 2013

"Watch out for Gordon Benstock.  Just had a new hip and is looking for somebody who'll listen..."

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Shock! Horror! Bacon Sarnie Under Threat!

Sources close to The Pangolin (BBC News, World Health Organisation & the Dalai Llama) reveal studies which show that eating one gramme of bacon can cause cancer, blindness, Richter–sensitive flatulence and acne.

Health correspondent Bridget Gobbie reports:
“After years of meticulous investigation dietary scientists have concluded that the bacon sandwich in its present form is a lethal concoction containing, as it does, bacon.

Dr. Lars Halfincher, head of the Brussels-based PWLIS (Proving What We Like Is Shite) centre said this morning at a crowded press conference:
“Our extensive studies, carried out in various locations over many years show that hundreds of people who ate bacon sandwiches died on a regular basis, and were quite often old. These studies did not include bacon eaters who were hit by heavy goods vehicles. Nevertheless, we at PWLIS feel that responsible governments throughout Europe should move now to issue stringent guidelines to the public. We have found that the average adult male can only safely consume one bacon sandwich every five years, and even then, only under careful medical supervision. Female consumption should not exceed half a bacon sandwich every seven point four years. Children under nine years should never be left unattended in the presence of a bacon sandwich“.

When questioned about sausages, black puddings, eggs and chips and fried bread, Dr Halfincher, visibly shaken, hurriedly consulted his notes and said, “It would take too long to say exactly how harmful these rogue foods are. Ideally they should be avoided at all costs. Suffice to say that in our studies, time and time again, people who have died as a result of cardiac arrest had at some time been exposed to a sausage.”

Here in the UK, Professor P J Whimbrel, sometime Special Adviser to Pangolin Health Matters agreed.
“The bacon sandwich is a killer." Professor Whimbrel went on: “The sooner people realize that if they really like what they eat, then it's probably bad for them. I would yet again recommend strongly that people adopt the PWLIS Ideal Diet forthwith."

For those unfamiliar with the Ideal Diet, a typical day’s intake would be:

Breakfast: Three small pebbles, sucked not fried, 10 grammes of diced thistle and 0.5 litres of rainwater.
Lunch: One tablespoon of sugar–free woodshavings.
Evening meal: Frogspawn, boiled with sycamore twigs.

Says Bridget Gobbie: “As a rule of thumb it's safe to say that if the food you’re thinking about eating is appetizing, tasty and smells delicious, some self-righteous bugger somewhere will tell you to go chew a carrot instead.”

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Dear Lady Violet,

This is the first time I've ever had a problem and so it is the first time I've written to a problem page like this one.

You see I think my boyfriend doesn't care about me any more. Two days ago when he was round here he accidentally forgot to put sugar in my tea and so I got really angry and swore at him, hit him with an oven glove (which was on fire at the time) and threw a chair at him. Then I tipped him out of a first floor window. Then he tried to get back in the house and I blasted him with a shotgun. He ran away and hasn't been in touch since.

Don't you think that if he really cared, he'd be trying to contact me? I just feel so sad and rejected. He used to say I had anger management issues, but I'm ****** if I know what he's talking about. Can you help?


Prunella Viper (54) M A Cantab.

Dear Ms Viper,

Hell hath no fury like a woman unsweetened, eh? Yours is an especially interesting case, involving as it does actual bodily harm, combustible kitchen-wear and an obviously uncaring male. That this pathetic, selfish creature "ran away" instead of confronting obvious relationship difficulties suggests to me that he is unable to read those subtle, intimate signs - like being shot - that all is not well between a man and a woman.

Your best course here is to get rid of the gun, any furniture debris there may be, and the charred oven glove . The police are especially unimaginative when it comes to investigating what they call "domestic violence" and faced with a complaint from someone - especially a man -  who may well be on fire, bruised and full of shotgun pellet holes will probably leap to the wrong conclusion. If, on the other hand your erstwhile partner became dead after you shot him, you are, in the words of Lord Chief Justice Garrotte, in deep, deep shit.

I suggest that you contact me privately on 0800 767 555432876856 so that we may discuss the acquisition of false passports, plastic surgery and an overseas destination uncluttered by extradition treaties. These measures may seem extreme, my dear, but it is a sad fact that your actions, in the eyes of our male dominated legal system were illegal.

Yours in sisterhood,

Lady V.

Dear Lady Violet,

I decided I needed some new makeup, as it will mean it will be easier to catch and keep a man. Also, makeup is one of my main hobbies. Also, I hadn't bought any since the previous day. So I was long overdue for some new makeup.

At the makeup counter in a well-known department store I met a really nice man. We had so much in common. We even like the same brand of nail varnish! We chatted for half an hour, I helped him select some false eyelashes with a green glitter finish (he tried on several pairs), and he helped me to decide which type of foundation was ideally suited to my skin tone. We got on so well. But he never asked me out on a date!

Are all men like this? Or did I do something wrong?


Floribette Schuffenecker-Blartfast (Miss)

P.S. Last week I met a frog. Even I could tell he was a frog. I told him to hop it.

Dear Miss Schuffenecker-Blartfast,

I wonder if you are related to the Poppington Blartfasts? Sir Toby "Full English" Blartfast and I had a thing going between the wars involving lard and interestingly shaped vegetables, but food rationing nipped all that sort of thing in the bud. However, I digress.  Like you, I am very keen on make-up and believe that a gel should look her best at all times, especially whilst at it. Sadly, having read your letter, I can only conclude that the "man" you met at the make-up counter was probably little more than a transexual, cross-dressing poofter seeking to steal your make-up secrets.

Do not despair. All men are not like this. Boring though it may seem, you need to be on the look out for one who does not favour green-glitter eye enhancement but who can respond positively to whispered suggestions such as: "I've got my van outside. Fancy a quick one?"

Yours etc

Lady V.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Obesity is a bigger threat than climate change - and Society's to blame!

HM Government reckons that by the year 2050, 50% of the UK population will be obese.  This is a serious threat because the fat 50% may sit on the other ones and squash them, thereby rendering the population 100% obese.

According to our Dr Peter Whimbrel, the link with climate change occurs because more of the sun's rays are required to give a large body a decent tan - rays which will not then be available for the ripening of crops and suchlike, and serious food shortages will occur.

Prof. Anna Prongg raised the point that serious food shortages will solve the obesity problem, but Dr Whimbrel dipped her pigtail in the ink and ignored her. Dr Whimbrel's only other retort was to quote from a contributor to the well-known volume: Fat is a Faminist Issue (J K Blubberbutt et al, pub Trouser Press, Kirby, 2010).

"Yeah, society's to blame all right! I'll say!

Why, there's a secret society near my ranch in Texas (they're so secret I don't know what they're called) and they regularly come round to my home, 56 of them sit on me so I can't move, and they FORCE FEED me with McDonald's and stuff. 

They then hang around with pitchforks to make sure no regurgitation occurs. In fact they make sure I wash it all down with chocolate milkshakes! Of course, being on the receiving end of this kind of treatment has caused my weight to rise to approximately 438lb.

And then, to cap it all, they've narrowed all my doors so I can't get out to go to the gym!!!!

Yep - society's to blame!"

(Boke Biggibotome [18], ranch somewhere in Texas)