Tuesday 25 November 2014


Last week I took part in the most boring Tombola ever. I got a card from the Royal Mail saying that they had a letter for me, but that the postage had been underpaid. For an entry fee of £1.53 I could win the letter and find out whether it interested me. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take the gamble.

All the members of my family are somewhat eccentric, but it seems to affect the women more strongly. On a day that I was driving to Heathrow and calling in at my sister's along the way, my mum wanted me to have come cuttings out of the newspaper, and some notes that she'd made on a traditional folk song. She posted them to my sister's house thinking that they would overtake me on my journey and intercept me there. When my sister eventually got them she really obviously opened the envelope, stuffed in a postcard, taped up the envelope, and wrote my address on the front. She put it in the postbox again without paying the postage. That was my prize in the Royal Mail Excess Postage Raffle.

Richard "it only took three and a half weeks to arrive" B

Sunday 16 November 2014

Do they know it's mediocre?

Dear Messrs Geldoff and Ure,

When I was a little boy I asked my mum why, when we gave money for "old soldiers", we got a poppy in return. She told me that it was so that the poppy man knew who had already given. Now that I'm older I think that the truth of the matter might be more nuanced.

While I support your work raising money for the ebola crisis, I think there are a few points you might like to bear in mind:

1) Charitable work and giving is best done quietly and privately, otherwise people might think that you want to be seen to be supporting a cause.

2) "Do they know it's Christmas" isn't a very good song. It wasn't a very good song in 1984, it still wasn't in 1989, it was no better in 2004, and it's not going to be any better this time.

3) With the possible exception of a couple of Cream tracks, a "supergroup" made up of the brightest talents of the day has never recorded anything worthwhile.

4) We all gave up taking it in turns to sing lines of a song when we left primary school.

Kind Regards,

Richard "Sir Bob Geldoff looking after number one" B

Tuesday 11 November 2014


I used to help my friend in Guildford (the one with the wobbly toilet) with DIY in his house. His girlfriend lived there at the time and she was fascinated and incredulous at the names of some of the things in his tool box. Olives, Mole Grips, Cold Chisel, Try square, Tenon Saw... When we proved to her that “Bastard File” is a real thing, and that a welder would use a “Slag Hammer” she would believe literally any name we gave to any tool. We told her that a carpenter's mallet was called a “C**t Mallet” and we kept up the pretence for a couple of years. I think she believed us, and for all I know she still does – at least until she reads this.

Richard “Bush Puller” B

Tuesday 4 November 2014


For the past couple of weeks I have been having a great time with my visiting American girlfriend. For the most part her vocabulary and idioms are easy to understand. A few examples to the contrary: She called a large cast iron casserole a "dutch oven". She asked if she should "take a transfer" on the bus which is something incomprehensible to do with return tickets. She said that the expensive face cream she bought was like "an orgasm on her face" by which she didn't mean it was warm and salty and stung like hell when it went in her eye. She described a favourable pairing as going together like "chocolate and peanut butter". Neither I nor anybody I know has ever eaten chocolate and peanut butter together. She might as well have said "penguins and lemonade" or "cement and lettuce".

None of this is as weird as the Australian dialect where apparently "don't wear thongs on the boat ramp" would mean "don't wear flip flops on the slipway".

Richard "separated by a common language" B