Thursday, November 11, 2004

Where have all the jokes gone?

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel I must offer a formal apology.

I have just received a terse communique from the Joke Quantity and Quality Monitoring Board, alerting me to the fact that I have dipped dramatically below the threshold required of a blog marketing itself as "making other humans go ha ha."

They have pointed to several worrying instances, particularly concerning my last post, that documented events surrounding my 32nd birthday (132, if I lived on Mercury).

I quote from Marcus Faltoyano:

"Myself, and a team of clowning consultants, have placed a JQAQ Query on your weblog, as we feel you are not presently fulfilling your comic mission statement of "making human beings ha ha by writing things down." We are particularly concerned by a glaring lack of frivolity in your most recent post, Birthday, and we would draw your attention to evidence from the historical record that you allowed your own moods to let you overlook surefire comic material that came within your orbit on Nov 8th 2004.

We know for a fact that you could have easily made some references to Mr Extreme, the danger junkie, who you first encountered on Nov 6th, when he parachuted into the sleepy cul-de-sac of your good friend Simon. If his chute snagging on a pylon, leaving him stranded 30 feet above the ground, and spending the entire party having food and drink catapulted to him is not funny, then, as my good friend, Mr Laughing-Trousers, might say, "What is?"

If you were still struggling to meet your Joke Quantity and Quality obligations, you could also have factored in your unlikely encounter with 4 trapeze artists on Saturday, on the Virgin Cross Country service from Plymouth to Gloucester. There was a woman with sort of 60s hairpiece hair, most odd, all brushed flat against her head, but in sort of panels, like she had several partings placed around her scalp for demonstration purposes. With her were three, alarm-bell ringing, nerdy kids, they seemed a spread from about 10 to 16."

I was walking down the carriage with a Mars bar, that's how it started. The smallest of the slow-to-announce-themselves-as-trapeze-artists, a really smooth-skinned brown-haired boy, speculated about the cost of my choc bar.

"I wonder how much a Mars bar costs..."
"50 pence," I said. "But you can have this one for 60p..."
"Why 60p?"
"Well, it has to be worth 10p not to have to walk to the buffet car..."
He looked at me like I'd just come to Earth. I'm used to this look.
"But it's used. I want a discount if it's used."
"All I've done is carry it from the buffet car to my seat..."
"Yes. You've used it..."
He has got a point.
"Okay, what if I throw in a 10p, discount, call it 50p..."
He laughs in my face.
"50p, I could get a brand new Mars bar for that... no way!"

I spent the afternoon solving a crossword with these guys, then playing cards, and listening to their stream of babble, jokes, and snippets of their personal histories.

After a few hours, they told me they were trapeze artists.

They were on their way to give a performance on static bars at the Cinderford Artspace, as part of a project they teach on called Engage

Unfortunately, I forgot to ask the name of their troupe, so I sent an exploratory email off to try and find an answer, but no reply has been forthcoming. It would be great to think they were called:


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