Saturday, 29 November 2014

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


Justin here.                             

I write as the sounds of police sirens retreat from local high street stores towards the end of what is mysteriously dubbed “Black Friday”. A far better name would be “Greedy Friday“. As I grow older, there are lots of things I simply do not “get”. Facebook, Twitter, Strictly Come Dancing (in parts) Nigel Farage (in his entirety), food progammes, and ISIS, all of these plus certain humans’ reactions to signs proclaiming a SALE. It would seem that thousands of  usually reasonable people besiege stores well before opening times with the clear intention of seriously injuring anyone who comes between them and a 48” plasma television set (REDUCED BY A WHOPPING 30%!!). Or indeed a pop-up stainless-steel cruet set.

I have discussed this U.S. Black Friday import extensively with my lady wife and the young man with the wire in his ear. Both gazed at our mysteriously larger television receiver and agreed that the heaving, grasping, violent crowds were, in the words of the young man with the wire in his ear, “a bunch of losers”. Indeed, a substantial young woman interviewed fleetingly outside our local Debenham’s store whilst clutching one half of a paisley-patterned armchair, “Well, its not what I come in for, but maybe I’ll get the other half next year.“

Of course, all of this set me thinking. These people are indeed “losers”. But what have they lost? Pride, decency, politeness, humility? I know not. Perhaps their behaviour is inherited. Is it in our genes? Does it hark back to our primitive days when the strongest and meanest got the best bits of the brontosaurus? Is winning more important than the prize?

One thing is certain. The theme for next Sunday’s sermon has chosen itself and I will deliver it from a rather splendid stainless steel and smoked glass lectern I seem lately to have acquired.

Pip, pip,


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Difficult to Grow. Herein devised by A Grubb, under the auspices of Delinquency and Dereliction Co Ltd

This X - rated carrot shows a rare classical theme, that of the double herm, or herma. The term is normally associated with stone sculpture of the Gods, circa 1st century, such as the image below, a single-faced 'herm', or the more unusual back to back, 'double herma'. This 'carrot' variation defines one encapsulation of 'gender' with a late 20th century gentle rebuke to post - feminine aesthetics. In particular the unashamed portrayal of the 'organ grinder and his muse', into the variation 'grinder and the muse's organ'.

Suffice it to say that the colour offers a further reference to a conflict, this time of religious proportions. A conflict moreover associated with the beastliness of King William of Orange - a monarch forever given saintlike status (thus furthering the classical tradition) under the all too familiar Irish brogue 'Willy'.

Normally such a rare example would be entered into the Annual Allotment show under the 'Unusual Shaped Vegetable with Caption' category. In this case, it being felt it would be unfair to take all first prizes in this category, it is, instead, being afforded pride of place on the noticeboard in the Witness Service volunteer's room at Birmingham Crown Court.

Such a position among the numerous printed notices about 'The correct procedures when taking witnesses  into video rooms', 'Christmas lunch signing up form', and 'How to address a judge if encountered in a public toilet', is anticipated to offer the subtlety of a brick (and the colour thereof) with the rigour of the genius of everyday life, as visible day - in, day - out in any Court of Law.

Already there have been a number of requested visits by barristers, security and court staff, and even one from His Lordship (although he seemed preoccupied with a different sort of carat) to view this most unusual and significant contribution to the 'weight of the law'. There are plans to apply for Arts Council funding so that an exhibition, with this item as its centrepiece, could travel to the main Category A prisons throughout the UK as part of a series of extra mural courses given the draft title 'Killers in Ancient Rome' for selected inmates. However these plans are in their infancy at time of writing.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

In Your Garden

Our gardening expert writes:

Well, hello there. Yes, it's me again. I expect you thought I was lying dormant for the winter, gathering strength to re-appear with the first warmth of spring. But, no - for the active gardener these last few months of the year can be busier than any.

First up, there's the Big Clean to be tackled. You'll not be wanting any sign of greenness on your hard surfaces or harmful species to be overwintering and proliferating in the crevices. Damp moss and algal slime can be the cause of killer injuries on a smooth patio. So, unless you wish to place on every flagstone one of those annoying plastic yellow bollards (Slippery Surface) they have round grapes in supermarkets, now is the time to be out there with the power jets, hosing away trouble. Over the years I've developed in my garden a system of strategically placed fire hydrants, along with angled water cannon, which clears all areas of potential growth, especially when deployed with a proprietary cleansing fluid and fungicide. For best results, go for maximum power on the water, though the first time I tried this, it failed to amuse a postman rounding the corner and further adjustments caused me then to dislodge several bricks of the conservatory and a two-metre section of kitchen wall.

Once properly cleaned and cleared, your garden will be ready for winter duties, beginning with the regular detonation of fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night and to brighten up the darkening skies from August to December. Long before the last rocket has fizzled out and landed on the neighbour, it will be time to organise the outside space for a festive show of winter lights. When designing such a spectacle, it's important always to stay true to the Christmas message. And be original - which is why my design this year is all to do with shopping and penguins.

So, Season's Greetings to garden-lovers everywhere -
or, as I prefer to put it each year,
Hoe, hoe!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Pangolin Obituaries

The death has been announced of the composer, poet and eccentric Sir Hugh Gaspard-Trench. Known in the popular press as 'That Berk in the Cupboard', Gaspard-Trench did in fact spend most of his long working life in the airing cupboard of his home in Glossop, emerging occasionally for poetry readings.

The controversy caused by his epic work 'Couldn't Kick a Barn Door', in the late 20th century criticising, as it did, England's failure to beat Germany in a penalty shootout still reverberates throughout FIFA headquarters.

Sir Hugh was 128 and is survived by two daughters, Maude and Valderma, both of whom are, in the words of Sir Melvyn Bragg "As mad as a box of frogs".

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Walt Disney by Andre Lozenge, Pangolin’s Film Correspondent.

The Ed gives me some naff things to write about. I have much more important issues to address, like why do they insist on putting buttons on jeans when we’ve got zips, or why slugs crawl UP my garage wall every night? But I know he wouldn’t publish my findings on these and other important questions so I’ll discuss Walt Disney instead.

Never met him. Always seems fairly happy in pics I’ve seen and did start what is now all over us like a rash. Pixar is it called? Traditional tales given a flawless “you’d swear it was real” finish. You can see where this is going can’t you? I didn’t like “Avatar” either.

But I DID like pre-war Donald Duck – grumpy, sly, and long suffering. Funny and fallible. And I liked the animation methods he lived through, as did Mickey, Minnie and Horace Horsecollar, although I wasn’t really that keen on Mickey. He was a bit prissy and holier than thou. A bit like Frodo Baggins in the LotR film trilogy. And the book.

I suppose as soon as the computer stuck its beeping nose into animation, things started to achieve levels of perfection which are, for me, a tad boring. I did like “Up” – was that Disney? No matter, I liked it, but as much for the voices as the pictures. And I loved that French guy’s film about the cyclist – Something Rendezvous – so I’m not AGAINST computer created animation. But Disney’s always seem a bit too shiny, a bit too perfect, a bit, well a bit like Disneyworld, and who with half an ounce of healthy cynicism could spend more than five minutes in there before going completely nuts?

I have a true story about Disneyworld. It includes coarse language, so I’ll tell it. Years ago, some friends took their kids to Orlando where Mickey lives. Late in the visit they headed for one of the photocall spots dotted around the complex, where the kids can have their picture taken with Mickey using a free disposable camera. As they approached, they could hear raised voices. An argument even. In Disneyland? Surely not. A Scouse family were taking Mickey to task about which child had been first in the photo queue. Scouse Dad was pushing his tough-looking kid forward whilst Mickey was favouring a pretty little blonde pigtailed short type, saying, “Oh no – I think this little lady was first”. “My lad was ferst” shouted Scousedad. Mickey maneuvered the little girl and went into Mickeypose with her whilst her father, a very large US gent, prepared to take the pic. "Ey, ous!” shouted Scousedad to Mickey, “If dats der way it is, yer can ‘ave dis (brandishes camera) and shove it up yer arse!” Exit Team Merseyside.

“Oh dearrrr” mumbled Mickey. “OH DEAR”?? Any self respecting red blooded all-American mascot would have knocked the tar out of the interfering Scouse git, but typical of Disney’s mind-numbing niceness, all Mickey could manage was, “Oh dear”. Foghorn Leghorn would’ve hospitalized the disrespectful Brit. What Popeye might have done doesn’t bear thinking about.
So there you go – one massively influential creative corporation condemned out of hand. Why? Too much sugar, WAY too much sugar.Way too nice. 

I blame Bambi.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

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


Justin here. And as Mother Nature turns her leaf-garlanded head towards the Autumnal changes wrought by God’s almighty hand, our thoughts dwell on another year slowly approaching its end on Time’s interminable railway line.
What has this year meant to me? Have I used it well?

I suppose I can draw some satisfaction from the fact that a certain moneylending company has recently had its greedy wings clipped without my having to take up the young man with the wire in his ear’s offer to “go put the frighteners on ‘em"
In other areas I have been less successful. One in particular causes me sadness. I speak of the cruel cross-party jibes at young Mr Ed. Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition. I have met him on several occasions and whilst I would prefer him to be a practising Christian, have always found him to be polite, informed and friendly. In fact I have on more than one occasion chastised the young man with the wire in his ear for calling Mr Miliband  “Wallace”. Not being a follower of animated cartoons, I thought he was referring to the divorced wife of a long - abdicated King.
Nevertheless, jokes about Mr Miliband’s physical imperfections really must stop. Not only are they hurtful, but can affect the rest of one’s life. Why, I remember one such unfortunate from my prep school days; poor old Odd-lug Theobald who had one normal flat ear and another which stuck out at right-angles. He really suffered at the hands of cruel children, especially in cold weather when the offending appendage was flicked by every passing pupil. Eventually, upon gaining adulthood, Theobald went to live in the Arctic with a group of Inuit so that he could wear a hood at all times.
But Mr Miliband has nowhere to hide in the ruthless world of party politics. Like Michael Foot before him, he must grin and bear it. What would Jesus have done, I wonder? I do not know, but I think that Our Lord might well note that many of the reprehensible comments about Mr Miliband come from our classically handsome, dentally perfect and beautifully voiced Prime Minister. Whilst the Mayor of London has cast aspersions too, these really don’t count and belong in the pot calling the kettle drawer. But Mr Cameron, safe in the knowledge that he is the best-looking Prime Minister in political history really should know better.

Pip, pip,


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Pangolin Guide to Feet by Prof. P J Whimbrel

I am often asked about the origins of my name. Research suggests that it stems from the early 13th century Glossop whimbrel farms which failed to flourish near the town of my birth.

But I digress and must press on with an outline of the main thrusts of my latest piece of scientific enquiry into certain items most of us possess, despite those items often lacking the balletic and delicate grace of the whimbrel’s. I refer of course to feet. I have been asked by The Pangolin editor to present a brief Users’ Guide to Feet.
  1. Feet tend to occur at the end of the legs [those things which hang down from one’s bottom], unless one or more have been lost due to accident or carelessness. It is rare for humans to have more than two feet.
  2. Foot possession is often taken for granted. Foot care does not rank highly in many owners’ priorities. For example, in normal social intercourse, many feet are placed in mouths. Others are used by highly paid alleged athletes to kick balls around large fields, whilst many drivers abuse their right foot by exerting undue pressure upon the accelerator pedal.
  3. Addressing foot issues is complex. Some owners have smelly feet, a condition which is embarrassing and potentially dangerous. Research shows that on more than one occasion since records began, the complex odours emanating from smelly feet are in fact volatile, and have caused explosions in closed environments such as conference rooms. A traditional remedy has for the owners always been to sit in conference with smelly feet, or foot, poking out of the window, though this solution can make for chilly conference conditions, and alarm for passers-by. Recent tests have shown that smelly feet respond well to a brisk scrubbing with industrial strength bleach before donning a pair of PooBegone sealable, reinforced canvas socks (readily available from Amazon).
  4. Footwear. This is an extremely contentious and expensive area dominated by ruthless designers like the conveniently named Jimmy Choo. Mr Choo’s products are undoubtedly beautiful works of art, but have as much to do with the human foot as a Ming vase. But Mr Choo doesn’t care. As long as people [often women] feel the need to totter about on/in his creations, he doesn’t care.
Our carefully monitored experiments have shown that flat sandals, as worn by Jesus, are by far the most comfortable footwear. Worn with heavy woolen socks, they mark out the wearer as a rather boring person, but a COMFORTABLE boring person nonetheless. Napoleon Bonapart, Jack the Ripper and Ursula Andress were all of the sock ‘n’ sandal persuasion in private, and no-one would call them boring.

For more information, please contact Pangolin Science at the usual address.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Pangolin News Flash

A book-signing at Waterstones in Glossop caused a stir when the real writer of the best-selling cookery book, 'How to turn Chicken McNuggets back into Food', arrived at the famed emporium.

For the true author, far from being celebrity chef Suzanne Anklestrapps - as claimed by the publisher - is the ghost of local pig farmer, Josiah Pring (1932 - 2012).

"We had this before, with the book signing of Gertie Balloons' 'Can't Twerk, Won't Twerk'," admitted store manager Willy Stibbs. "These ghosts are all fine and co-operative-like, but being of non-corporeal form they struggle to hold the pens so necessarily for successful signing."

"We get round this by means of table-rapping and ouija boards, but there have been one or two complaints from patrons of the café when their americanas and cappuccinos took off".

Cassius Pugnatius Seagull

As the winds of Autumn blow away the crumbs and pavement pizzas of Summer, a gull has to act fast.

Bezza and me have found an ingenious way of harvesting fish, which though it requires more effort and planning, yields mega-results...

This is best practised on a warm day, and you need to spot some tourist-type eating out on the sea front. Kassa's is good, but there are others. Grab a bit of something that looks like fish food (tourists are best because of being unprepared and too shocked to resist. Also they try to eat more), and, grasping same firmly in bill, hover over the ocean's surface until you spot a shoal of fish cheerfully surfing the element. Drop fish food. They'll come and get it, whereupon...YOU SWOOP!!!

By now you will have perfected your swoop by means of practice on tourists (see above), and you can drop your catch in the courtyard garden of those handy little basement flats along the A259 before heading back for more. When you've had enough of this, and fancy a bit of sport, see if you can drop a still-wriggling fish onto the windscreen of a moving car. They slow down as they approach the speed camera and you can normally get 'em there.

Oh, how we larfffed...!