Category: parody

Last Laugh?

Tomorrow Britain votes on whether to leave or remain in the EU. The campaign hasn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs and – whatever the outcome – our battle scars will last for some time.

Here’s a wonderful spoof of the What have the Romans ever done for us? sketch in the Monty Python film Life of Brian to lighten the mood a little and remind everyone of one thing we Brits do supremely quite well – ironic humour!

 

 

Advertisements

Tourist Brochure

Welcome, Willkommen, Bienvenue

This brochure celebrates Bafflesby As Tourist Town Year (BATTY) and supports our bid to be included in the 2017 edition of ‘1001 Places To See Before You Die’. The publishers of this influential list – Offshaw&Gonn – confirm they won’t be changing the title, so our bid has to be better than just one of the 1001 destinations in the 2016 edition. Put another way, 1000 places can be better than Bafflesby and we’ll still get in the book. You might think there’s time to finish the game and beat the Spaniards. We couldn’t possibly comment …

We can ask a question, though. How many resorts on the Costa Helluvalotta can boast world-class crown-green bowls clubs, eh? As a much-loved Irish comedian used to say, ‘Come here, there’s more!’

Not many people know that the inner linings of this funny guy’s distinctive hats were made in Bafflesby nor that he returned the favour in a memorable appearance at the since-demolished Variety Theatre. But the town has many other claims to fame. Come here, there’s more!

Past Glories

Bafflesby is said to be named after the ancient king and self-proclaimed saint, Barf. Local tradition has it that St Barf’s remains are buried in one of the many caves that run beneath the town. It is believed he died after drinking bad beer. Local hostelries that celebrate the connection to this day include The Barf Tavern, The Royal Cascade, BarFly, The Crown and Bucket, Binge Inn, Hair Of The Lapdog and The King’s Head. Local hangovers are known as Barf’s Burden.

Wine Into Water

Bafflesby is renowned for what goes on after dark. The young-at-heart can groove on down to the Riverside Quarter, where swanky eateries – dine a la maison or faire le takeaway, the choice is yours – compete with pulsating nightclubs and chillout massage parlours to arouse their customers’ fickle and fading powers of attention. Feel the frisson of excitement on the streets as Barflesby’s tradition of bad beer takes its toll on patience and self-control. Fight or flight – it’s up to you!

At the heart of the Riverside Quarter is Fossock’s Fountain, installed by Sir Henry ‘Fussy’ Fossock in 1856 to bring fresh water to the drinking classes. He was one of Bafflesby’s great colourful characters – teetotaller, evangelist, nature poet, butterfly hunter, slum landlord, slave trader, arms dealer and fondly-remembered town mayor.

Gang Aft Agley

It was also the birthplace of polymath and renaissance woman Mimi Scatterball who was described by HG Wells, after their brief love affair, as ‘quite good at everything she turned her hand to’. Who’s Who describes her as ‘artist, sculptor, playwright, poet, composer, choreographer, singer, musician, spiritualist medium and carpenter’,  and adds that several one-woman shows recreating her carnal relations with the ghost of Scots poet Rabbie Burns were famous for their tiny audiences. Visit her home and marvel at hundreds of musical instruments, thousands of incomplete manuscripts and millions of unfinished pencil drawings. Blocks of wood and stone still wait in every room for the touch of hammer and chisel.

These days her grandson Giorgio lives in the family home, trying to ignore the streams of visitors who interrupt his obsessive blogging and interfere with his elaborate literary projects. To the delight of all, he has perfected the art of lobbing crumpled balls of paper into wastepaper baskets while cursing the rattle and roar of passing trains in fluent Italian.

Chuff Chuff, Me Old China!

The Bafflesby-Toffsham Railway, saved from Doctor Beeching’s chopper by a bunch of anorak-clad train-spotters, transports us back to a world of nostalgia. Experience all over again the acrid stink of coal-smoke in your clothes, the surly misdirections of peak-capped porters, the insolent curl of stale ham-sandwiches washed down with cracked cups of lightly-stewed lukewarm tea. Use your hand to wipe a hole in historic window grease and glimpse glorious passing scenery.

Breath Taking

When you’re sick of travel or maybe travel-sick why not stop off at one of the lonely Halts along the way? Escape the stuffy air of Baffle Valley altogether by climbing steep Windy Hill to King Barf’s Column, popular local nickname for a 19th Century folly erected by Sir Kit Trayning to commemorate his failure to consummate a one-sided love-affair. Race up interior stone steps and gasp as you come upon a cracking view of three counties – when the prevailing mist allows – but watch out for descending sheep!

Not for nothing has the vista been called ‘Little Switzerland’!  The prestigious PR firm Say What? who came up with the slogan a few years back certainly didn’t come cheap but we hope the extra tourism it attracts may one day help us break even on the deal.

While you’re up there, don’t miss the cave said to be the haunt of humorous highwayman Stan Dan De Leiver – real name unknown! – and his mare Gibbet. Some claim to have heard the clink of ancient coins but those spoilsport spelaeologists at Bafflesby University Museum (BUM) put it down to landslip proclivities in the overhead stratas – whatever that means!

Mimi Scatterball found the sensational scenery so distracting that she kept the curtains shut. Amusingly, she would then complain that she couldn’t see to work as her pet reptiles had eaten all the candles.

Festal Virgins

Visitors in August may be lucky enough to see The Parade of Purity, a ceremonial procession of virgins that dates back to pagan times and by tradition ends with a fertility dance. For some reason the numbers taking part in the parade have dwindled over the years. It has been decided that the next dance will be held in the church hall where it can be more easily supervised. The ceilidh band will once again be Mutual Climax.

The morning after – Barf’s Burdens permitting! – why not visit the festive fragrance of Bafflesby’s very own Wild Flower Show to witness a promiscuous profusion of nature’s endangered blooms – buttercups, daisies, dandelions, thistles, nettles and many more – delightfully displayed in a faux-natural meadow-style setting with specially-installed Sunlyte-Symulation (R). “A blaze of colour in a big tent” – Bafflesby Local User Radio (BLUR)

Town Arts and Country Crafts

Nip next door to the Ewell B Flush Art Emporium which features an ever-changing programme of exhibitions chasing while trying to lead the never-ending shifts in public taste. Upcoming shows include Replica Rooms from Reality Television, Famous Faces on Fabric (designer T shirts available) and the perennial Golfers Upmarket Fashion Fest (GUFF).

If you prefer your bric-a-brac with a rustic edge, why not pay a visit to the Bafflesby Seasonal Experience (BSE) and marvel how this once-quarantined dairy farm has turned itself around. Get up close and personal with the cutest creatures. Bet on the outcome of snail-racing or feed pages of this brochure to greedy goats – they’ll swallow anything! Try your hand at milking llamas or feeding baby creatures to our troupe of killer raptors. And your kids will love swimming with sharks in our bloodthirsty Jaws-style aquarium.

Splash Out On Yourself. Go on. You deserve it.

Way off the beaten tourist track, Bafflesby has plenty of surprises in store. You’ll be amazed at the amount of good-value accommodation, ranging from cheap and cheerful all the way down to miserly and miserable … Haha, just kidding, of course … a little taste of the local speciality, our cheery sense of humour in the face of impossible odds! Floods, ha, we’re a flood of merriment and mirth … geddit? And if you should ever weary of our relentless ribaldry, just ask a friendly Bafflesbyte to point you the hell out of town.

He’ll be only too happy to oblige.

 

Questions Asked

                                                                                  Answers Promised

There are those who believe the recent floods in Bafflesby may have a significance outside the town boundary. One of these is our own trainee reporter, Jason Wildgoose, who has put in many unpaid hours to investigate what he calls ‘the wider picture’. So let us lay aside our beloved Bafflesby connection awhile and allow this eager young beaver his own moment of dam-building up in the hills.

The owners of this publication, Offshaw & Gonn Holdings Inc, wish it to be known that they do not necessarily endorse any of the views expressed in this article.

I followed the turbulent waters of the River Baffle to its source in the Bareback Hills where the old hunting, shooting and fishing traditions are proving ever-more lucrative in the global leisure economy. Grouse-moor owner Lord Byrd-Schott was quick to contest claims that his practice of burning vegetation and digging drainage ditches had caused water to run off his land more quickly.

“If these climate-change crackpots had to run a business,” his lordship told me while cleaning a huge shotgun, “they’d go bust in no time. My clients are busy people with international perspectives. They don’t want to hang around in the pouring rain while the grouse play peekaboo in the bushes. And try bagging a brace of birds, young feller-me-lad, with your wellies stuck fast in a swamp. I don’t think so.”

IMG_0184_2

His neighbour, landowner Sir Filbert de Fleece, can trace his family back to the Norman Conquest but there the trail goes cold. He was contemptuous about European proposals for planting forests on upland fells to retain rainwater.

“What these tree-huggers won’t understand,” he bleated into the mic on my new Smartphone, “is that my tenant farmers are wool-shearers, not wood-shepherds. The last thing we need in this country are boffins from Brussels coming over here and telling us what to do. Besides, we’ve not had trees up this way since the Middle Ages.”

I had a sudden thought. Surely such a staunch supporter of old country traditions would be interested in this short video-clip about a successful flood-prevention scheme in North Yorkshire?

Sir Filbert watched the film in silence but when I asked an apparently innocent question his stormy reaction, as this transcript of my recording shows, came as a complete surprise.

  • So is it time to bring back the old skills, do you think?
  • Listen, son, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks … or old tricks … er, old skills, I mean  … well, new to him, that is … are you with me?
  • You could teach him to fetch sticks … or plant them.
  • What I want to know is who is going to pay for him … er, them to be re-trained? This isn’t just a walk in the woods, you know!
  • It’s tree surgery, not brain surgery …
  • Are you trying to be funny?
  • Horticulture, not rocket science …
  • Damn it all, you snotty little whelp, get off my land!

His meaning, so far as I could tell, was that no money could be made by mediaeval methods unless it came from the government. I obviously needed advice from the experts and when I got my breath back after running down the farm track, I dialled the next number on my list.

Lost_sheep_on_farm_track._-_geograph.org.uk_-_368111

 

  • Is that the environment agency?
  • Er, yes …
  • This is Jason Wildgoose from the Bafflesby Bugle. I was wondering if –
  • We’re not making any press statements until the chairman comes back from the Seychelles.
  • To whom am I speaking?
  • This is Faschia Burble. How may I help?
  • I’ve just watched a lovely little film about traditional approaches to flood prevention in North Yorkshire.
  • Oh, the Pickering Pilot Scheme …
  • Yes, I was wondering if you could comment.
  • Well, we’re all for pilot schemes.
  • Splendid … so is there any chance of this one being rolled out across the nation?
  • Er … subject to rigorous independent scientific scrutiny … perhaps.
  • Perhaps?
  • Well, possibly.
  • Only possibly?
  • Have you any idea, Mr Mongoose, how much these science firms charge for their services?
  • An arm and a leg?
  • We’re still paying for them to finish finding out about bee collapse.
  • Really?
  • And don’t get me started on genetically-modified crops!
  • OK.
  • Between you and me, they’ve kicked that one into the long grass.
  • Right … unnaturally long grass?
  • I’m not competent to say anything about the science.
  • It was a joke. I’m more interested in the floods.
  • I  wouldn’t call flooding a joke, sir. From what I’ve seen, the waters have risen to Biblical proportions. Are you a Bible reader, by any chance?
  • Well, it’s not at the top of my reading list, but I –
  • Which of us can know the why and wherefore of it, sir, much less the who and when?
  • Sorry?
  • No need to apologise. We are all to blame at some point down the line. Though some more than others, in my humble opinion.
  • Tell me more, tell me more!
  • Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I will say no more than this world is awash with heathen ways. Still, mum’s the word. No names, no pack-drill. And don’t rock a leaky boat.
  • A wet bird never flies at night.
  • What?
  • No, wet
  • Oh, wet … yes, we can only pray it stops raining.
  • Is that the official policy?
  • What?
  • Pray it stops raining?
  • Er, well, we are waiting for the chairman to get back from the Seychelles.
  • Perhaps he’ll bring the sun with him …
  • I can’t comment on his travel arrangements. Is there anything else you need help with today?
  • Everything, really, though I doubt whether you’d be much use.
  • Thank you for your call. This answering service has been provided by Ear Line, a subsidiary of Offshaw & Gonn Holdings Inc. Goodbye.

Feeling a little dissociated, I needed to plant my feet on solid ground. First, however, I had to paddle a small dinghy through the waterlogged roads of Bafflesby Business Park in search of a company that would welcome new – or perhaps old – ways of improving flood protection.

_64311105_billing_floods

In fine drizzle I shouted into several locked industrial premises and was eventually rewarded when an old man waded across a factory yard and regarded me warily through a padlocked gate.  I pressed Record and prayed my Wi-Fi waterproofing was working.

  • Flooded out, are you?
  • Cleared out, mate, twelve month ago last Friday.
  • Did you take note of advance weather warnings?
  • You could say that. The holding company what took us over saw which way the wind were blowing, so to speak, and wound down the business.
  • You went into liquidation?
  • Haha, sir, that’s very droll under the circumstances! You could’ve cheered us up no end last year, when we was all give the elbow.
  • You’re still working, though …
  • I got took on by the security firm. It’s an offshoot of the holding company, as it happens. Wheels within wheels, you might say. It’s who you know, nowadays. Your face fits, you’re laughing.
  • Holding company?
  • Offshaw & Gonn.
  • Goodness, they’re my employers!
  • Join the club, sunshine. Turns out they own most of Bafflesby. First in line for any government flood compensation, of course, though they don’t pay no UK taxes. Last thing I heard, they was buying up grouse moors.
  • Not much point asking my next question, then …
  • Whassat?
  • Would you be happy to pay a business tax to fund new flood prevention meth –

At this point I dropped my Smartphone into the water. Turns out they’re not waterproof. Still, I won’t be needing it now that I’ve lost my job in Offshaw & Gonn’s latest economy drive. And at least now I can spend my unpaid days at home, out of the wet. Swings and roundabouts, as they say.

Offshaw & Gonn have decided to overlook the downbeat tone of this article because it features some useful examples of product placement. They have no comment to make on redundancy, blood sports, asset stripping, global warming, tax avoidance or indeed any other issue arising from its publication.