Give piece a chance: The jigsaw party completes the picture


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Tired of the same old political parties? Having second thoughts about your membership of the Greens? Ladies and gentlemen, it is this column’s proud duty to announce the launch of a new political force whose very presence will, in time, shake up the old order into a thousand pieces. I give you Dave Wasgij and the Wasgij Party, which will announce its arrival at a night called Stand Up for Comedy at the Comedy Pub in Piccadilly, central London, on 19 March.

“I was watching Question Time one night,” the comedian Dave Gibson tells me, “when someone said something about not fitting in and another person used the phrase ‘we need to see the big picture’. As a keen puzzler, I realised that this was the right time for a political party based on my love of jigsaws. I mean, Farage, the Pub Landlord, Russell Brand… they’re all comedy characters and if they’re having their say, why shouldn’t I?”

The Wasgij Party manifesto contains the following promises to the electorate: every house in Britain to have an active jigsaw table which anyone can help with at any time; free jigsaws for OAPs plus a winter jigsaw allowance; the art of jigsawing to be added to the National Curriculum; and, of course, world piece.

Is there a serious point to this? Probably not, but Gibson’s alter-ego Dave Wasgij is hoping to run in his home constituency of Fylde, Lancashire. “That’s where my mum, dad and siblings live,” Wasgij says, “so that’s five votes right there.”

Mocha the week

Starbucks, Costa, Nero, AMT, Aroma, Harris & Hoole… latte, flat white, Americano, machiato, skinny and so on. Buying a cup of coffee can be a confusing business these days. But worry not because an unlikely high-street establishment is about to change everything and, though you might not believe it now, this summer we will all be popping into KFC for our coffee fix.

The reason is the Scoff-ee, an edible cup made of biscuit and white chocolate which is the brainchild of The Robin Collective, the “food futurologists” whose previous ideas include a martini made with moisture from the walls of Winston Churchill’s War Room (this is starting to sound like Derek and Clive now).

Brandy Wright, the 29-year-old designer of the Scoff-ee, tells me: “We get approached by all sorts of brands and we’re not afraid to work with anyone.” But doesn’t KFC and food futurology seem like a strange alliance? “Not at all,” Wright insists. “We like the fast-food culture.”

Is there a chance that Scoff-ees might go on general sale? “That’s not up to us,” Wright says. “We just come up with the ideas and walk away. This does seem to have hit a nerve, though. We had CNN call us yesterday; it’s all gone a bit crazy.” Not surprising. An edible coffee cup does seem like a finger lickin’ good idea.

A sign of the times

If you were walking around east London (where else?) last week, there’s a chance that you might have seen a large yellow signpost that read simply: “07580491887”. Should you have then felt impelled to call that number, you would have heard a message that said: “Hello, you’ve reached a signpost. I’m very busy at the moment and I’m really sorry I can’t answer the phone right now, but if you’d like to leave a message….” People who left messages could then opt to receive a text reply and, well, let’s just leave it at that.

The whole thing was, of course, an art project called “The Number” by m.obster, a street artist who specialises in “giving a voice to urban objects”. And before you call it, the number has now been disconnected while the signpost has, perhaps, moved on to saying something useful. 

Seat of learning

Last year, it was all about the upright desk, with sitting down at work being blamed for everything from our sedentary lifestyles to an increase in certain cancers. Thankfully, we can all now take a seat again because the German company, Aeris, has created something called the Active Swopper chair.

The Active Swopper looks like a toadstool on a spring and, according to Professor Wolfgang Schöllhorn who conducted a series of tests at the Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, “Working on the chair has a positive impact on the ability to concentrate and on brain activity.” The professor knows this because he attached electrodes to 45 subjects and concluded that sitting on the Swopper produced a significant increase in the alpha, beta and theta brain waves, related to alertness.”

So if this column is not up to scratch, blame my chair.

No rhyme or reason

Another in a regular series of limericks based on recent events:

If you quit while you’re still at the top,

There’s no way you ever can drop,

But if you’re Madonna,

You crack on with honour,

That’s why she’s the Queen (mum) of Pop.