A jungle expedition with a difference

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Today we continue our thrilling serial story,
Get Me Out of Here!

Today we continue our thrilling serial story, Get Me Out of Here!

The story so far ...

Intrepid explorer Barbara Hounslow has gone off into the Australian jungle to prove that it is still possible to mount a serious expedition without making a TV programme about it.

There are four other members of the expedition. There is the silent Swedish botanist Sven Hansen, who alternates long periods of introspection with equally long periods of smiling slightly to himself and saying nothing.

There is the dizzy French brunette, Leonie, the expedition's resident deconstructionist.

There is Oor Danny, a young Geordie cook/ geologist, who jumped at the chance to get away from planning the weekly menu of the Geological Society.

And there is Australian outback specialist Edward, who knows every inch of the treacherous wetlands, and many of its fathoms too.

While making camp on the first day, Edward advises them to choose a small clearing by some gigantic ferns.

"Why here?" says Barbara.

"Because I buried a dozen cans of lager here last time round," says Edward affably, and proceeds to dig them up. During supper, Oor Danny edges over to Barbara and asks her exactly what the expedition is aiming to do.

"Just what I told you at the initial briefing," she says. "To do it all without TV cameras. My hunch is that expeditions are useless when being filmed. Filming takes up so much time and energy, you sacrifice everything else."

"That would invalidate all David Attenborough's programmes," says Oor Danny.

"Damn right," says Barbara. "Attenborough's image as the Michael Palin of the animal world shouldn't blind us to the fact that his programmes were no better than superior magazine articles. He never saw or discovered anything new in his life. Incidentally, Oor Danny, you seem to have lost your Geordie accent entirely."

"I know," says Oor Danny. "It's not going to impress anyone in the jungle. I bet John Peel didn't keep up his Scouse accent on holiday. More devilled kidneys, ma'am?"

By the third day, they have all tried to worm the aim of the expedition out of Barbara. Leonie has initiated discussions on the underlying text of the expedition, Edward has tried loosening her tongue with beer, and Sven has ostentatiously avoided the subject - but all to no avail.

On the fourth day, there is a surprise encounter. They enter a clearing and find Germaine Greer sitting at a table, tapping away at a word processor.

"Hello!" says Barbara. "We thought you were taking part in some humiliating celebrity show back in the UK!"

"That's where you're wrong," snaps Germaine. "That's not me. That's a Germaine Greer lookalike. People said they couldn't understand how Germaine Greer, who had always sounded off against Big Brother, would agree to take part. I didn't. As an existential joke, I permitted a simulacrum of me to take part, while I got on with my work out here. I hear she didn't last long."

"I dispute your use of the word 'existential'," says Leonie. "In fact, I dispute your use of the word 'joke' as well."

Germaine Greer looks Leonie up and down.

"Well, what have we here?" she sneers. "A first-year philosophy student with delusions of equality?"

Now read on ...

"Leave Leonie alone," said Barbara hotly. "Keep your pound-a-line sarcasm to yourself, or to whichever newspaper is lumbered with you at the moment!"

"Hello, hello!" said Germaine. "Is this just the leader of the expedition leaping to a surbordinate's defence, or do I detect something more passionate in the air between you and little Leonie?"

Miles Kington writes: That's all we have time for today. Sorry. But don't miss the next gripping instalment!

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