Here are five stories from recent times. Only one is genuine. The other four were created in our very own fantasy laboratories. But which is the genuine one?
1. The newest mobile phone invented by Apple, on sale next year, not only allows you to see movies on its tiny screen, but enables you (using the very same phone) to ring up characters in the film and interact with them electronically. "A complex computer programme allows you to affect the action of the film," says Apple. "You don't want Hannibal Lecter to kill anyone? Then you can ring him up and reason with him. You may not succeed, but you will be able to try."
2. There were nasty scenes at the BBC the other day when a recording of Desert Island Discs ended in near physical violence.
The trouble arose because the guest was a distinguished Islamic writer (whose name has not been released) who objected strongly when, at the end of the programme, he was asked to choose a book for his desert island and told that he would be given the works of Shakespeare and the Bible. This was seen by him as an insult to the Koran, and his religion. To force the Bible on someone on a desert island without the option of the Koran was near blasphemy, and the guest (whose name we do know but who we are not naming for fear of reprisals) stormed out of the studio, threatening revenge.
Sue Lawley is said to be living in hiding on a temporary basis.
3. A Bradford man is suing a gardener for damage caused by wild birds in her garden.
Mr Francis Canfield was walking to town for a job interview when, as he passed under several large lime trees, his best suit was deluged by bird droppings, caused by pigeons in the branches above. His effort to clean the suit, and his consequent dismay and distress, caused him to perform badly at the interview, he claims, and not get the job.
He is therefore suing Mrs Milliband, owner of the garden, on the grounds that the birds were in her air space and therefore her responsibility. She is counter-suing on the grounds that his colourful suit may have scared the birds and caused their bowel evacuation in the first place.
4. The largest man-made prehistoric monument in Europe may well turn out to be ruined by man as well. Silbury Hill, near Avebury, is a huge conical chalk structure built at about the same time the Avebury stones were installed, yet nobody knows who built it or what it was built for.
Many archaeologists have dug trenches and tunnels deep into the hill over the years in order to investigate its mysteries. Not only have they never found out anything valuable about it, but the criss-crossing tunnels have so weakened the structure that the honeycombed hill is now in danger of collapsing. The new plan is to go into all the old holes and fill them up again with compact fresh chalk, so that the hill is stable again.
One theory is that Silbury Hill was originally a waste heap for chalk dug out of a nearby lake. It would be ironic if English Heritage spent a fortune on restoring what might be, after all, only a very old rubbish dump.
5. The news of George Best's decline and death was misreported by one Syrian news agency which had never heard of the great Northern Ireland footballer, and assumed it must be a misprint for George Bush. All of Syria was in uproar for several hours, with jubilant crowds celebrating what they thought to be the end of the great American tyrant. When the truth was established, they all went home quietly, though not without overturning a few football souvenir stalls.
Question papers all handed in? Then we can reveal that it's all true about Silbury Hill being endangered, as reported in The Western Daily Press on 31 October. What do you mean, that was a bit too easy? OK, just wait till next time, that's all.Reuse content