Monty Python Was Intellectual, But The Young Ones Made Me Laugh

There’s a bit in Monty Python set in a courtroom. The judge passes sentence and says “Take him down,” and the policeman puts his hand on the convicted man’s shoulder.

We don’t just see it. We hear the sharp sound of the policeman’s hand dropping onto the convicted man’s shoulder.

It’s the sign, the signal, that his prison sentence starts now.

Then from outside the door, a hand and arm appears and drops onto the policeman’s shoulder.

The policeman looks surprised.

Where did that come from? What’s going on?

Then we hear the sound repeated again and again. We imagine a long corridor with a line of men, each one dropping his hand onto the shoulder of the man in front.

And we imagine each man surprised to have been ‘taken’ – to have become the person onto whose shoulder a hand has dropped.

It’s classic existential Python.

But somehow in The Young Ones, when Vyvyan knocks Rick’s head off to show who’s boss, it’s funnier. It grabs me by the bits inside and makes me laugh.

It’s existential too, but somehow I am with them. With Python, I admire them but I am not with them.

Warm and cold. I wonder why?

Neonicotinoids Implicated In Bird Deaths

Study finds neonicotinoids implicated in bird deaths:

The more people who know about this, the more who are likely to oppose applications like the one from Syngenta in the UK a couple of weeks ago to lift the European Union ban on neonicotinoid pesticides.

Tamara found the reference to this in ‘The Week’ magazine (p21, 19 July edition) (plug here for The Week – great newspaper in magazine format with news from everywhere)

Quote from the study:
“Here we show that, in the Netherlands, local population trends were significantly more negative in areas with higher surface-water concentrations of imidacloprid….

Here is the link to the study in Nature journal.

The Only Thing I Ever Got From You

What must it be like to be an artist who works and works, with the task wearing him/her out?

The artist sits back and enjoys the pleasure and the satisfaction of doing something good.

With it must come the pain of not being satisfied or of having to do better or as well next time. Some pleasure and some reward… and a lot of sacrifice and pain.

But a pain the artist could not live without because of the drive to make something worthwhile. It is a life’s work.

To What Was The Judge In The Coulson Case Alluding?

In his detailed judgement in the phone hacking case of R v Coulson and others, The Hon. Mr Justice Saunders made a couple of interesting references.

To what was he alluding?

Mr. Coulson was not the only person at the News of the World who knew that this activity extended beyond Goodman. Anyone who read the transcript of the proceedings in front of Gross J would have been put on enquiry that others at the News of the World were involved.

There is no evidence that Mr. Coulson played any part in the cover up that occurred after his resignation.

There is a certain irony in seeing men who pride themselves on being distinguished investigative journalists, who have shed light in dark corners and forced others to reveal the truth, being unprepared to do the same for their own profession. I accept that that would require great courage but the best investigative journalists have never been short of courage.


Here is the full transcript of Mr Justice Saunders’ judgement.

Unexpected Item In Bagging Area

I told the woman in Scotmid that the voice in the self-serve checkout was the same as the one in Sainsbury’s. I said I reckon she was moonlighting…

Unexpected item in bagging area.

Of course, it makes sense that companies would use the same technology and the same voice-over.

One thing I won’t hear in Scotmid from the repertoire is asking whether I have swiped my Nectar card… unless of course, Scotmid do a signup deal with Nectar.

Can you hear the voice saying that, by the way?

Have you swiped your Nectar card?