Captain Moonlight

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The Independent Online

Attention!

Attention!

Ready for the vigorous mental workout that the next 1,000 or so words will provide? Prepared for a challenge to the orthodoxies of Sunday journalism? Unwilling to put up with the same old stuff repeated over and over again? Where else, for example, could you learn that Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn was "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross", closely followed by "Lead, Kindly Light"? Indeed. Now let's move on. What do you get when you cross a parrot with a pigeon? A bird that asks the way home when it gets lost. Oi! Forward!

Asking

The Questions With Captain Moonlight. We all know about the other lot, but what, exactly, were the Gomorrhans up to? Anyone? Next!

Mutterings,

I see, about the elevation of ballroom dancing to Blue status at Oxford. The Captain says: cease! I have negotiated the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool, and I can tell you that ballroom dancers deserve every award going. I was hoping, though, to bring you news of the current position with tiddlywinks, as I seemed to recall that the noble sport of the squop, the bristol, the gromp, the scrunge and the squidger had once qualified, too. But the Oxford University Tiddlywinks Society (Who Dares Winks) is being a bit slow getting back to me. Probably putting in some work perfecting their boondocks and carnovskys. Ah, well. You will note that I have kindly provided you with some winks to practise with while we're waiting. Just cut out, stiffen, and colour. Crud!

Bulb!

I was interested to read that Mrs Mo Richardson of Cowes has a lightbulb which is still working after 65 years, but, I must say, as a bit of a connoisseur of this sort of thing, I'm getting a bit fed up with old lightbulb stories. Can't we come up with some other interesting household objects? The Captain would like to hear from anyone with any interesting: 1. Mops. 2. Dustpans. 3. Flathead screwdrivers. 4. Waffle irons. 5. Festoon blinds. 6. Gravy boats. 7. Dinner gongs. 8. Back brushes. 9. Pinnies. 10. Donkey stones. 11. Shoehorns. 12. Teasmaids. 13. Eubanks. 14. Angle-handled spatulas. 15. Annunciators. 16. Plastic storage containers. 17. Salad spinners. 18. Crumb sweepers. Thank you. Next!

Cat!

I was wondering, too, why it was that cats of my acquaintance will have nothing to do with the rabbit variety of pet food. And now Ms Schwarz of Alicante has been in touch: "Captain! My old English cat decided shortly after Chernobyl not to touch tinned rabbit again, and the new addition here in Spain has refused even at the tender age of five weeks to eat tinned rabbit. Apparently most catfood containing rabbit originates in east European countries. As one of the caesiums released at Chernobyl has a half term time of about 350 years or thereabouts, one should raise this question again at a future date to see whether cats then find tinned rabbit more agreeable again." Thank you, Ms Schwarz. Just say the word and one of my highly wrought and sought black and silver enamel effect Moonlight Badges will be flying south. Next!

Bbrrnngg!

Could it be? It is, it's the telephone, and, on it, my redoubtable political correspondent, Ms Una Tributable! "Captain! Joke! Being told at Westminster! By members of the Labour Party! Tony Blair is walking down Baghdad high road. He has a gun and two bullets. He sees Saddam Hussein and Clare Short coming towards him. What does he do? Shoots Clare Short twice." Well. On!

Lines!

Did you see the list of all-time favourite film lines? Not a mention of any of my favourites: 1. "There's still one thing I don't quite understand." 2. "It was, it was ... aaargghh!" 3. "Time of death?" 4. "You mean...?" 5. "Get in!" 6. "But this could alter the entire course of the war!" 7. "I can see I'm going to have to teach you a lesson." 8. "Give it to me straight, Doc." 9. "And I mean coffee." 10. "Now turn around, real slow." 11. "Not so fast." 12. "Leave the bottle!" 13. "There, under the lamppost!" 14. "What are you going to do when this is all over?" 15. "He will never play again!" 16. "I don't think I've ever been as happy as I am at this moment!" 17. "Darling! No!" Thank you. Next!

Don't

Miss It With Captain Moonlight! My attention has been drawn to an article in Classic & Sports Car magazine, featuring Mr Paul Capper, an undertaker, and his matching 1969 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI hearse and limousine. The Captain quotes: "Not that hearse ownership isn't without its lighter side. Capper often takes it to local fêtes for 'guess how many balloons can fit in a hearse' competitions, raising money for charities." Splendid. Next!

Comp!

And Mr Morgan of Epsom has been in touch. "Captain! A couple of years ago you set a competition asking for poems about our home towns. This is my entry: 'I live in Epsom, summer and winter. No, no, not Epson: That is a printer.' Is this worth a badge for the longest-ever gestation of a competition entry?" Mr Morgan: no. Mr Davison of Prudhoe: thank you for writing about my competition in 1996, inviting readers to provide the questions to several answers. I'm afraid, though, that "What's the most difficult position in the Kama Sutra?" is incorrect. But have a Badge anyway. Oh, all right, you too, Mr Morgan. On!

Around

The Halls With Captain Moonlight. And now for the challenge from Mr Kilgarriff of Ealing to top his famous encounter in 1986 outside the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, with a woman whose aunt had once been Bud Flanagan's secretary. So come in, Mr Roberts of St Helens! "Captain! I was working at Eastbourne in 1969 when I saw Elsie – or it could have been Doris – Waters fall down the town hall steps." Thank you, Mr Roberts. Very good, but perhaps a touch too exciting to qualify. Have a Badge anyway, though. Next!

Stop Press!

The Oxford Tiddlywinkers have been in touch! Apparently, you could get a quarter-blue, but it's not officially recognised anymore, although they still award them. Very clear. Very Oxford. Next!

Sorry?

The story that Chesney Allen told Roy Hudd about the barracked soprano? Next week? Forward!

Charles Nevin is Captain Moonlight

email thingie: moonlight@ independent.co.uk

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