Thursday, 30 January 2014

Ten Things You Didn't Know About People Who Are Actually Very Important Indeed.

  1. Rommel was a skilled embroiderer. During the battle for Tobruk he made six very attractive coasters as a birthday present for Adolf Hitler.
  2. Dame Margot Fonteyn could spit small objects more than 50 feet. Once, during a performance of Les Sylphides, she propelled an olive pit from the back of the stage, hitting the percussionist between the eyes. This feat measured 54' 2".
  3. Dame Judy Dench once suffered from Tourette’s Syndrome which, in her early years, made soliloquies very interesting, e.g. “The quality of mercy is not strained, ARSE! It droppeth as the gentle rain from ARSE! ARSE!” etc, etc.
  4. H.M. The Queen is scared of mushrooms.
  5. UKIP leader Nigel Farage can get four Granny Smith apples in his mouth.
  6. Peter Andre, one time partner of Jordan is, in real life, even more boring than his music.
  7. Nelson Mandela once got into a fist fight with Archbishop Desmond Tutu about a missing bag of Maltesers.
  8. Because of his missing arm, Admiral Lord Nelson needed assistance with his on-board toilet arrangements. This duty was carried out by able seaman Willie Holder.
  9. Jeremy Paxman winds down after gruelling television interviews by lying in a bathful of cold Horlicks.
  10. Winston Churchill used to fart “Land of Hope and Glory” as an after-dinner party piece.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Between the Covers

Our Literary Editor looks back on an eventful year in publishing and takes his pick from the lists for the year to come.

Another season, another year and already it's time to be checking out the runners and riders in the coming round of Literary Prizes. Last year was the year of Daphne Arnott with I Never Kissed the Dandelions, her heartfelt monologue on the pains of growing up in a family of writers and agents, all within screaming distance of Muswell Hill. This year sees the publication of its eagerly awaited sequel, And The Moon Cried Too, a moving memoir of sibling rivalry and the constant pressures on a gifted child in a high-aspiring household.

Daphne and her sister Chloe were co-founders of the Sauvignon Prize, set up to recognise the work of established women writers working in the genre of semi-autobiographical fiction. Expect sparks to fly during the deliberations of the jury for the Latte Prize, with both sisters named as judges to serve on this year's panel. Meanwhile, Chloe Arnott has herself been shortlisted for the Hartland Prize with Scratch, her funny, sad, searing account of powerful emotion and taut relationships in the family of a North London writer (pubd by Snicket & Tongs).

From the same publishing house comes Thrusday, a harrowing chronicle of the author's long battle to come to terms with a writing disorder for which there is no known cure. It is by Phoebe Arnott, stepsister to the above (and wittily dubbed by critics Arnott Another).

Writing problems were at the heart of last year's other big hit, They Couldn't Even Write Their Name by top ghostwriter Norm de Plume. Winner of the prestigious Mimi Prize for Autobiography, Plume wowed audiences at Literary Festivals with his warm and touching revelations of the private lives of stars from television and sport and their struggles to put pen to paper.

No doubt these celebs will soon be lining up to buy Apostrophe's Calling, Philippe Lonquaire's warm-hearted discourse on the busy life of the ubiquitous little mark. This follows the publication last year of Semi-Colon by the same author, a monolithic study of the uses and abuses ('semi-colonic irrigation') of the oft misunderstood dot-comma, bringing with it unusual insights into the role played by the semi-colon in world history.

Ending on a lighter note, with popular choices for bedside reading, Stacey Arnott's Writer's Bonk takes an affectionate peek at what goes on behind the scenes at some of this country's best-loved literary festivals. And finally, with Willie Wonga Does It Again (by Hilary Whynott), fans of the libidinous banker can immerse themselves in the further outpourings of the Casanova of Canary Wharf.

Happy Reading!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Pangolin Newsflash: Abandoned Plague Ship Spotted Off Coast of Glossop

Reports had reached us... 'A ghost ship filled with cannibal rats is floating somewhere off the coast of Glossop, ready to crash ashore and unleash its disease-ridden cargo of starving rodents.' 

Pangolin Science Reporter, Prof Anna Prongg, was most impressed at this news and set off to investigate:
Historic GLOS transport

Perhaps disappointingly, it just turned out to be Glossop Light Operatic Society having a bit of a cruise as part of their annual outing.

Captain Benedict Squealer
Pangolin had an exclusive interview with Captain Benedict Squealer, skipper of the ship and devoted baritone.

"Well, there's some truth in the cannibalism I suppose. But of course nobody needs fear hundreds of rats descending on Glossop any time soon. After all, if you stop to think about it, the logical conclusion of all this cannibalism is that only one rat will be left.

And that, a-hem, is ME!

We do like to maintain a high level of authenticity in our performances, you know, and perhaps 'Sweeney Todd' wasn't the best of production choices. Well not if you want to ensure the long-term continuity of the Society.

As for 'disease-ridden' - my ****. I once had a bit of tooth decay back in 1961 but, as you know, our teeth never stop growing and I soon outgrew it."

Meanwhile, Glossop Light Operatic Society are keen to recruit new members. No experience of singing necessary, but preference will be given to applicants who've belonged to some kind of organisation with 'rat' in the name.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Another Thought for the Day, from Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant


Justin here, readily admitting that my topic for today is one I would far rather not address because of its distasteful nature. The young man with the wire in his ear finds the subject hilarious, but I feel that it is, well, distasteful, dealing as it does with matters sexual. So I asked myself, what would Jesus have done? Our Lord would have grasped the nettle – that’s what! And so must I. I must put behind me the strictures of middle class respectability and fearlessly address the frightful mess facing the LidDems.

The young man with the wire in his ear remarked only yesterday that a once great political party is now “in the **** and no mistake”. I may not approve of his terminology, but I do rather see his point.

Despite my regular attendance at the House of Lords, I know little of the peer at the centre of this storm, beyond a smile and a nod in passing. However, he is accused by a number of ladies of inappropriate touching. Like you, I find this difficult to believe. After all, his status was conferred by no less than Her Majesty the Queen, who, as far as I know is not in the habit of condoning gropery. My lady wife is similarly puzzled and upset. I can only surmise that these “inappropriate touchings” were the results of some sort of nervously induced physical spasm brought on by overwork and dedication to duty. Why, I remember the comedian Jack Douglas making this sort of unfortunate disability part of his act. When approached from behind by say, Benny Hill, Douglas would convulse and shout, “Phwheyyy!”, causing gales of laughter. Indeed, Benny Hill himself was often the victim of a misinterpreted pat on the bottom. I put this theory to the young man with the wire in his ear. He muttered, “Bo**ocks!” But then he is far too young to appreciate the innocence of those far off days.

As might be expected, the nobleman at the centre of this furore is denying any wrongdoing and refuses to apologise for knee-trembling he maintains never took place. So perhaps the hapless must attack the problem from a different angle and Mr Clegg might consider, for the greater good, one of two options. He and his lady wife are very wealthy. Arrangements might be made for considerable sums to be paid into the offended ladies’ bank accounts in return for them taking the affair no further. By way of balance, the peer in question could be persuaded to wear stiffened mittens and lengths of four by two down his sleeves. It's an old trick, but it might just work.

The other way is far riskier. Young Mr Clegg could wheel out the old “pot and kettle” routine and suggest that the accused nobleman’s alleged indiscretions are no worse than our devil-may-care Prime Minister hacking out on a horse provided by a lady presently the accused in a criminal trial, and signing his text messages to her, “LOL”. As the young man with the wire in his ear might say, "’Nuff said."

Yours in fellowship and ladyship,


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Pangolin News Flash! Winner of Pangolin 'Beautiful Baby' Contest!

Well, there really was no contest here!

Actually, that's true in a literal sense, as all the details were kept secret from everyone except the sole entry. And that's chirpy young Colton Bolton-Plunge, pictured here! Isn't he a cutie?

Colton himself is delighted to receive the award. He told us: "I've never tried gold-plated nappies before, and I'm really looking forward to filling them and then throwing the results around the room. In fact, it's one of my favourite pastimes.

I was particularly pleased to receive the prize because strangers usually peer at me when I'm in the pram, turn white and run away. So it's really thrilling to be on the front page of such a prestigious online publication like The Pangolin, and I'm hoping this will be merely the start of a successful modelling career.

I think my first assignment will be for a plastic surgeon offering ear-reduction surgery, but then we'd better wait and see, hadn't we?

Also, my mum reckons that I might be related to Prince Charles - but keep that one under your hat for now!"

Monday, 20 January 2014

Thought for the Day, from Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant


Justin here, and I expect that, like me, you are dismayed and disappointed at our Men's Cricket team’s disastrous showing in Australia. I mean, this is our national game, is it not? “No!”, some might say, Association Football is, and indeed that game may have some claim to the title, but cricket, for me at least, has always represented the finer side of English life, embodying sporting skill, a sense of fair play and huge physical acumen.

I also like to think that the Australians were beaten in the last Ashes series not just by England’s superior technical skill, but by certain difficult to define aspects of the English game. Cucumber sandwiches at tea; trousers held up by an old school tie; colourful caps; never arguing with umpires and the spontaneous cheering of an opponent’s stand – “Oh, I say, well played, old boy!” – even against the dreadful mutterings and bodyline attack from a fast bowling blacksmith... and the way that the Great Game arrests time itself... "Stands the church clock still at ten to three?”
And lest we forget, England invented the game. The Australians are the Johnny-come-Latelys here. And they’re a rough lot, are they not, with their coarse accent and their win-at-all costs attitude? Many of the nicer, more gentlemanly aspects of the game have simply not rubbed off on the Australians.

So, what would Jesus have done? Well, he might just have considered the fact that the English Women's team are in the process of beating Australia hands down. Who could possibly object to a mixed Test side? It would certainly wrong-foot the average chauvinist male Australian cricketer. Sledging would take on a whole new aspect. Just as a batsperson was taking strike, a slip fielder might mutter in a stage whisper, “Blimey, your bum looks huge in that!” Third Man would become Third Person and certain changes in shower arrangements would be called for. Or not, depending upon the level of team–bonding which had taken place on the bus.

Of course, my question as to who might object to a mixed side was rhetorical. There would be shrill, deeply offended – outraged even – calls from the Members’ Stand at all our great grounds to prohibit the notion – just as the moneylenders and badhats squealed when Our Lord heaved them out of the temple. But I’d like to think that my fellow bishops – and soon m’lady bishops might bring some influence to bear here in the House of Lords. It would be sexual equality writ large. And I don’t mind admitting that I personally have a fine googly.

Friday, 17 January 2014

On This Day

Ten Years Ago

Following an anonymous tip-off, officers from the regional Drugs Squad raided the Nature Table of a village primary school in rural Wiltshire. Three seedlings were removed for further tests and one adult taken in for questioning.

Twenty Years Ago

Teams of arbitrators and trained counsellors were sent in to a Yorkshire Liquorice Works where talks had broken down between unions and management over the introduction of two new colours for the little round bits stuck on certain items in the confectionery range. Matters had come to a head in the previous week when it was discovered that gift boxes had been leaving the factory labelled 'Allsorts Except the Sort You Want'.

Fifty Years Ago

Connoisseurs of food and wine thronged the glittering West End launch of the latest book from popular hostess Marge Grissole. 'Fifty Things To Do With Mashed Potato' (following on the success of 'Fifty Things To Do With Gravy') came packed with new ideas from the author described by her publisher in his welcoming speech as 'the one bright star in British cooking today'.

On stage go-go dancers did The Mashed Potato. Below them conversation sparkled as the Blue Nun flowed and waiters in brown jackets circulated with trays of sandwiches pommes duchesse along with the writer's signature savoury tartlets topped with lashings of piped potato.

Eighty Years Ago

Self-taught amateur meteorologist Ernest Prigley published his annual report releasing data on significant weather patterns for the previous year. Statistics were compiled from the recordings of two weather stations in his Hertfordshire garden on 364 days (on 15th March 1934 the author was prevented from accessing data by the extreme density of the fog). Among the more noteworthy observations listed were the following: rainfall in May was more than 2% up on that for the same period for all of the seven previous years. Sunshine was recorded on 219 days of the year, coinciding each time with a marked rise in temperature within the control area. On eight occasions cloud formations over the author's greenhouse bore a marked resemblance to dairy cattle and once to Stanley Baldwin.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Seagull

My cousin, Jonathan Livingston-I-presume Seagull informed me that he was told off by one of the elders of the tribe. Hastings Borough Council I expect. What the old geezer said to him was:
" day, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, you shall learn that irresponsibility does not pay."
He even managed to say it in fancy italic writings, too. What a load of bollox!

I HAD to demonstrate to Jonners the error of his ways, which I did by nicking a small polystyrene pot of cockles from a table where a diner (human, using the term loosely) had foolishly placed them. Right. Down in one. Then I went back to get his crab sandwiches and he tried to kick me in retaliation but I swiped his trainer lace, which was undone at the time, whereupon his trainer went sailing elegantly through the firmament and hit a passing police car. In the ensuing fracas I got not only the crab sandwiches but a pack of Woodbines and a cup of tea. 

I've kept the trainer lace as a souvenir.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Pangolin Gardening

Dear Mr Pangolin,

I was putting together a bridal bouquet for my sister and thought it would be good to follow the proper ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ theme, all traditional-like, you know? So I put together this really ace bouquet, which had the following stuff in it:

- Some dried-out banana skins along with some daffs which someone had given my mum and she’d forgotten to water and they’d gone all brown and wrinkly and looked even older than mum and these would do great for the ‘something old’ bit.

- Then my next brainwave was when I spotted some nice dandelions which had self-seeded in the compost and had opened only that morning. Bingo! Just the thing to count as ‘something new’!

- ‘Something borrowed’, well I had to think about this one I don’t mind saying and I was going to put them back, really I was, but the nicest flowers in our cul-de-sac were already growing in my sister’s front garden. But I didn’t think she’d notice the bald patch given that she’d be going on honeymoon to Margate in the afternoon. So bits of her herbaceous border joined the daffs and the dandelions and right royal they looked, too.

‘Something blue’, yeah well this was a bit tricky to begin with and then I remembered that Stilton at the back of the fridge and stuck it in chunks on some planting canes. In a way this was also a bit of borrowing being that the canes come from next door’s garden.

Well of course I didn’t give the bouquet to my sister until the last minute so it would be a surprise but she didn’t look very pleased. But that was nothing compared to what happened when she threw the bouquet into the air to see who was going to get married next. I don’t want to go on about it, but can I have your advice on the following matters:

What should I put in the bouquet next time my sister gets married (probably in a couple of months time)?

What flowers should I take to the hospital when I visit that lady that got hit by the bouquet, and the bloke who had the unfortunate incident with the banana skin and the portable baptismal font?

What’s the best way of getting planting canes out of a church organ’s pipes?


Ashli Moonhowler,
Tooting Common.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

"Dear God - look at the size of those prints! This thing must be fifteen feet tall!"

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Episode 10: Bloatmingle and his Wee Victory

Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard:  Detective Inspector Bloatmingle had been in worse predicaments. Unfortunately, he couldn’t remember any since his memory had been rendered momentarily useless, possibly due to the biting cold, equally possibly by his standing without his trousers on the edge of the Clifton Suspension Bridge with the nose of a single-barrel shotgun pointing at his groin. Inexplicably. Last time he looked, he'd managed to insinuate his pork sword inside the barrel of the gun, followed closely by an evacuation of the three pints of Snorgwall’s Gutter Swill he’d drunk earlier that evening, all rendered more aromatic by the ingestion of Mrs Wangle’s fish and asparagus pie.

The air was suddenly filled with lead and noise and pungent steam. The Swede struggled to breathe as the vaporised asparagus worked like a blinding gas. Bloatmingle had lived many years with Mrs Bloatmingle whose passion for sardines and pickled eggs ensured he was immune to all mortal smells. It gave him enough time to land a sharp right followed by a heavy left onto the Swede’s chin.

The Swede recovered quickly and they were soon dancing upon the edge of the bridge, exchanging blows but it was Bloatmingle who was beating the Swede back. Finally the small man missed his footing and fell backwards, his desperate fingers finding the waistband of Bloatmingle’s shorts. For a moment Bloatmingle thought it would save the man, but in that fraction of a second he remembered he was wearing his Friday Night specials, the lime green silk with the slack elastic and sweat-weakened gusset. The sound of silk ripping was all he heard before the Swede fell backwards into the night. 

The last thing that Bloatmingle saw of Torg Fllapstang, thief, eel smuggler, and notorious ringleader of the Helsinki Herring Ring, was his own underwear flapping like an inefficient parachute in the soon-to-be dead Swede’s hand.

Bloatmingle stood back from the edge and breathed deeply, glad to be alive and looking forward to feeling the embrace of Mrs Bloatmingle’s muscular arms. As he stood naked from the waist down except for his socks and Scotland Yard issue boots, he reached into his pocket for the comforting feel of his pipe.

Behind him he heard the sounds of cars and the distinctive flashing of the blue lights at the head of the royal procession. He picked up the red blinking eye of the bomb's trigger and placed it carefully in his pocket, at the same time picking out his pouch of Beryl’s Old Shag. He quickly thumbed a pinch of the rich tobacco into the briar’s bowl and lit it with a match.

Now, this might be a little bit awkward,’ muttered Bloatmingle as a cloud billowed around his less-naked half before he turned towards the approaching cars and presented them with his very best formal salute.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Pangolin Obituary

Norman Stanley Dugdale 7/11/30 - 7/1/2014 and
Alan William Jolliman 19/10/29 - 6/1/2014 (below)

We make no apology for publishing again the incriminating photograph of Dugdale, serial killer and self-styled king of bad hairpiece makers attempting to throttle Alan (Billy) Jolliman, one-time President of the UK Association of Optimists during their bitter rivalry in the early 1970s.

The cause of the enmity was never clearly established but sources close to Mr Jolliman hint at clandestine contact between him and Gloria Blanche Dugdale, wife of Norman Dugdale.

The photograph led to the successful prosecution of Dugdale for assault. Subsequent police investigations led to a further 1,208 charges being laid and on the 23rd October 1976, Dugdale was found guilty of the murder of all the Macclesfield Town supporters during and after a home game against Glossop Athletic. Dugdale died in prison. He is reported to have confided in the prison doctor, Terence Nostrill (53), saying "They're all bastards, them Glossop bastards. Bastards."

Billy Jolliman perished in a domestic explosion. Said his wife of 50 years, Beryl Ada Jolliman (87): "He always looked on the bright side. He'd gone looking for a gas leak under the stairs with his lighter. I told him to be careful. His last words were 'Don't be daft, lass, it'll be...'".

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Pangolin News Flash!

The secret is out! Prime Minister David Cameron has added a new member to his cabinet. Earlier today, the PM was unrepentant about the controversial appointment of a scaly adviser. 
He said: “Look, let me make this perfectly clear... pangolins are smart and they don’t care much for money. Nuts, berries and insects keep them well satisfied, and let’s face it Alan (for it is he) won’t be any worse than some of the stiffs I’ve got on my payroll at the moment. Besides, at the outset, Alan will be gradually brought up to speed and deal with relatively low profile issues like the NHS, Education and military procurement, in the first instance.”

The Pangolin Blog is obviously very pleased by the PM’s foresight in this matter, and political correspondent Desmond O’Hell comments; “Of course this is not the first time a serving British Prime Minister has engaged a non-human as an adviser. Mrs Thatcher had Norman Tebbit and Lord Palmerston kept a small family of toads in his trousers.”

When pressed further by the leader of the opposition at Prime Minister’s Question Time, Mr Cameron joked, “Oh come on ! You lot spend so much of your time telling me how useless my team is. I’ve now got an adviser who can hang by his tail from a Private Member’s early day motion! Beat that!”

Friday, 3 January 2014

"Bernard's marking the anniversary of WW1 and wonders if you'd like to be Germans for a little while".