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304347.  Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:52 pm Reply with quote

Link to arrogant twats.

304557.  Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:02 pm Reply with quote


VG material there. I know a sword swallower - I wonder if we could get him to do his thing in the studio without H&S having a cow? I'll ask Sarah.

304942.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:18 am Reply with quote

At the very least, he may let us film him for free.

305244.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:06 am Reply with quote

Sarah thinks it'll be ok as long as he doesn't try to make anyone else eat his sword.

305265.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:48 am Reply with quote

We should prepare a forfeit for that precise joke!

305299.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:12 am Reply with quote

And the forfeit is ... you have to eat this sword.

305321.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:23 am Reply with quote

I put a post in Fragments in the F series Gen Ig forum which might tie in here. See post 305297

305332.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:30 am Reply with quote

Actually, one klaxon word we can't do without in this context is simply the word "pork." One of them's going to say it.

305943.  Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:26 am Reply with quote

This could be a laugh if it works ... if it doesn't work, then it’s just a waste of 90 seconds, and a small job for Flash with his digital razor blade and splicing machine.

It depends on some panellists having heard of - and at least half-believing - a well-known urban legend. Here’s what I hope would happen ...

Q: Who famously entered a lookalike competition, as himself, and came third?

Alan: Charlie Chaplin.

Sean: No, no - that was Fred Astaire.

Jo: Don’t be silly! It was Dolly Parton.

At which point SF adds to the confusion ...

Bunbury Cricket founder David English persuaded Barry Gibb to enter a Barry Gibb lookalike competition on “a remote American highway, and the Bee Gee came an embarrassing fourth.”
S: Daily Telegraph, 27 April 07.

At the memorial service to former railwaymen’s leader Jimmy Knapp, TUC gensec John Monks told mourners about the London radio station which ran a competition challenging listeners to do an imitation of Knapp’s famous Ayrshire accent. Knapp entered.

He had only managed a couple of sentences when the presenter interrupted him, saying: “That’s nothing like Jimmy Knapp. You are clearly an Englishman - get off the air.” Jimmy’s protestations merely brought the response: “You might be Jimmy Knapp, but you don't sound like him.”

S: Morning Star, 21 Aug 2001

Elvis Presley came (probably) third in an Elvis talent night at a diner. Towards the end of his life, lonely Elvis would regularly eat hamburgers at this obscure diner - location unspecified. The owners knew who he was, but respected his desire to remain incognito. (In which case it was a bit insensitive of them to hold an Elvis Talent Nite. Then again, I suppose no-one forced him to enter).
S: Letter to me from an FT reader, quoting “a TV documentary on that gentleman’s eating habits which has been shown at least twice on terrestrial British TV.”
This is one of many Elvis lookalike stories.

Alistair “Letter from America” Cooke came third in an “impersonate Alistair Cooke” competition on the Radio 4 show “Broadcasting House”.
S: The Independent, 5 Nov 03, which presented it as unqualified fact.
I emailed the programme in November 2003 to ask them to confirm or deny this. Their reply: “It is true. But don’t believe it.”

US TV newsreader David Brinkley - at the height of his fame - was told by one his staffers that a record producer was looking for “someone who can imitate David Brinkley” for a comedy record. Brinkley rang in, and told the producer “A lot of people tell me I sound like David Brinkley.” The inevitable reply was: “You don’t sound anything like David Brinkley,” at which the producer rang off.
S: letter from reader published in FT159; the correspondent says Brinkley told him this story himself.

“I got beaten by some drag queen.” - Dolly Parton, commenting “on her failure to win a Dolly Parton look-alike contest.
S: Independent on Sunday, 10 Oct 2005.

Around 1915, when Charlie Chaplin lookalike contests were popular across the US, Bob Hope won one. Chaplin himself entered one in Monte Carlo or Switzerland, and came second or third; in some versions, his brother Syd won. This, says the correspondent, is merely myth - here’s what really happened: Chaplin entered a Chaplin contest in San Francisco. He failed to make the finals. He told a reporter that he was “tempted to give lessons in the Chaplin walk, out of pity as well as the desire to see the thing done properly.”
S: Letter from reader published in FT162.

Snopes claims this latter Chaplin story is true - - though I have to say, I have my doubts; it sounds like a made-up PR story to me. I haven't seen the sources he quotes, though. However, the FT letter about Brinkley mentioned above dismisses the Chaplin story: “David Robinson’s extensively detailed biography of Chaplin mentions no such incident. The rumour was probably inspired by a scene in the 1928 film ‘Show People’. Chaplin played a brief scene in this film as himself, appearing as he actually looked off screen, without a glued-on moustache, and with no black dye in his hair. He appears just long enough to shake hands with an actress who fails to recognise this white-haired, clean-shaven man as Charlie Chaplin.”

David Bowie came third in a David Bowie lookalike contest, probably in the late 70s, as reported in the NME.
S: Letter to me from an FT reader.

In an episode of KYTV (I can’t remember if this also appeared in the original radio version), as part of a charity fundraising telethon, Kenneth Kendall wins a Kenneth Kendall lookalike contest: “Last year I only came fourth!”
I include that just in case anyone offers “Kenneth Kendall” as an answer, which I suppose is only likely if the panellists are over the age of 85.

Something fascinating about this - I got letters from FT readers angrily telling me off for even giving space to idiotic rumours about so-and-so entering his own lookalike contest (one New Yorker was very annoyed: “There might be some merit in an Astaire dance-alike, but what would be the point in merely looking like Astaire?”), but without exception, they all went on to tell me the “true” story of the celebrity who actually did fail to win his own lookalike contest.

This could be a good question for when Wogan is on, perhaps? On the grounds that this rumour must have been circulated about him at some time.

305990.  Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:19 am Reply with quote

Yes, I think that is a nice myth, particularly because it seems unique in the way that it has attached itself to so many people. It's regrettable that we don't have an 'answer', though - we're saying that it has clearly taken on a life of its own, but we have no idea what got it started. What would be great would be if we could find one of our celebs to whom this actually has happened so that s/he could tell the definitive version of the story on air.

307998.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:50 am Reply with quote

Fake pips:

In Victorian times, and perhaps again during WW2, there was an entire industry devoted to making fake pips for fake raspberry jam. The pips were made of soft wood. What’s great about this is that it sounds so obviously mythical, but the evidence seems to be overwhelming. Have we covered it before? If not, I’ll dig out my files. (They are metaphorically “downstairs” at the moment ...”

Link: Food

308010.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:01 am Reply with quote

We've never done that, and it sounds great.

Q: What are the pips in raspberry jam?

F: Seeds

That question won't quite do the trick, because you say this is fake raspberry jam as well as fake pips. What's it actually made of?

308029.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:19 am Reply with quote

More to come on this, but I liked this (from the Food Commission) because it ties into our “health and safety gone mad” running gag-type-theme-thing:

Jam recipes are controlled by some of the strictest food laws in the world. But why does the government bother? It's only jam!
But in the past, some very dodgy things were put into jam. Instead of expensive raspberries and strawberries, some jam-makers simply put sugary water into the jars, and added starch to make it gooey. The jam-makers added colouring and flavouring, and some even added bits of wood as fake pips, to make it seem as if real raspberries had been used to make the jam!


I wonder if there’s the beginnings of a way into the topic there? If we could find out how many regulations govern the jam industry for instance - start off my making it sound all pompous and bureaucratic - and then go into fake pips, as a sudden and disconcerting change of direction ... ?

308034.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:25 am Reply with quote

It looks as though the practice may have gone on beyond the war years - for instance, this piece from the Daily Telegraph speaks as though its demise is a recent thing.

In a rare bit of solidarity, The Guardian concurs.

It's almost certainly not what they did in wartime Britain, but it seems that it's possible to make a conserve which would pass as raspberry jam out of green tomatoes and raspberry flavor Jell-O.

One of the members of the Royal Horticultural Society has, I think, been reading Mat's journalistic endeavours. In No 32 of the Fruit Group Newsletter (PDF here), there's this, which the writer says was inspired by the Fortean Times:

"This apparently unbelievable question led to a flood of letters in subsequent issues from readers who had parents or grand parents who claimed to have been employed at various times, most during World War II, to make fake raspberry pips from softwood, which were then added to low cost apple or rhubarb jam to be passed off as higher priced raspberry jam. One correspondent quoted a report on food adulteration in the Guardian, 17th May 2003, that referred to the book The Suffragette Movement by Sylvia Pankhurst, in which the writer gives as an example of sweated labour ‘the work of women whose job it was to rub minute pieces of wood into seed shapes so they could be added to raspberry jam made without the aid of raspberries’. Have any members ever heard of such a thing? Within our ranks we should have members who can either quash the myth or add some facts. Any ideas?"

308054.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:45 am Reply with quote

So maybe we're looking at something like why there are pips in rhubarb jam.


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