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
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
The 9 rules every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon had to follow are wonderfully pedantic
Toy Story 4: Pixar promises a romcom storyline 'separate' from the much-loved trilogy
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
The world's most beautiful libraries: Introducing Franck Bohbot's House of Books project
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests