Saturday Miscellany: How to tell a joke; French pessimism; Scottish Unesco heritage sites
How to: Tell a joke
By Oscar Quine
Why did the chicken... Stop! It's time to spruce up your joke-telling skills. One-liner king Milton Jones gives these tips. But is he pulling our leg?
"Find a joke that only you find funny. Then interrupt a conversation and blurt it out to some people who are unlikely to understand or will be offended. (It also works well to just repeat something you heard off the telly.) It helps to have had a few drinks."
"Continually apologise and look awkward throughout. Start with the funny bit, then just peter out... Remember the drunker you are the more people are attracted to you."
"Never practice. Just get everyone's attention and say the first thing that comes into your head. In the unlikely event of it not going well, blame your listeners or start a fight. Or leave it to the professionals..."
Milton Jones's DVD 'On The Road' comes out on 25 November
By Sean O’Grady
Is it so outlandish to eject London from the UK? With its huge financial-services sector and absurd property prices, London feels foreign. This cosmopolis could exist as a separate city state – a modern Venice.
Which leaves us requiring a capital city, probably just for England, needing a new parliament, a new palace, new industries, and a new start for the rest of us. It ought to be relatively central, and with scope to create the monuments, properties and infrastructure a capital demands.
Yes, that means Tamworth. Best known as the home of the Reliant Robin, a breed of pig, and a reform 'manifesto' by the Tory Robert Peel, it has vast potential and would move the centre of economic growth towards the neglected North. Take this as a new 'Tamworth Manifesto' – and the founding of the London Independence Party.
By Ellen E Jones
Q. The person who I sit next to in my office won't share any of his easy-peel satsumas with me. Shall I nick one?
A. Never! Office food thieves are the lowest of the low, as everyone should know. Buy your own and shame your stingy desk mate into future generosity by insisting he help himself at regular intervals.
Micro extract: French pessimism
"As early as 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson reported that when travelling in France he heard former grape growers, their vines all gone, declare that ‘the country was going to the devil’."
From Inventing Wine by Paul Lukacs (WW Norton, £11.99)
Four play: Scottish Unesco* heritage sites
Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
*Unesco founded on this day in 1945
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts