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
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Pixie Geldof signs recording deal with Stranger Records
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners