Though the western world is collectively saying its safe word and waiting for the whole Fifty Shades… thing to stop, I beg your patience for one more crack of the whip because this column has the story they all wanted – an exclusive interview with Elsie Steel, the entirely fictitious octogenarian behind the blog-novel and Twitter account Fifty Shades of Gran.
It began at the end of last month with a tweet that read: “She slowly licked her lips, slowly undid the buttons of her blouse and slowly lay back on the bed. She did everything slowly, she was 86,” and it has got better since then. With nearly 24,000 followers and chapter two out today, “Elsie” took time out from her busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Have you seen the film yet, Elsie? “Yes. I saw it with my best friend Jean the other morning at a special pensioners’ preview. I’ve never seen so much gratuitous nudity and lewd behaviour in all my life. And the film wasn’t much better.”
Did you know about S&M before this phenomenon? “In my younger days, it was the place I bought my big pants,” she says. “But now I know it means sciatica and Midsomer Murders.”
Who would be your dream Christian Grey? “Well I’m partial to a younger gentleman, so somebody like Bruce Forsyth.”
The second chapter of your book is published today, how many are you planning and how does it feel to find fame in your eighties? “At my age, every paragraph is a bonus. But I must say all this attention is rather nice. As Andy Williams said: ‘One day everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.’ I only hope I last that long.”
Name that tuna
It started last month when Zoe Butler, a 28-year-old woman from Nottingham, opened up a can of Prince’s tuna chunks and found a tiny purple thing with black beady eyes looking back at her.
As the photograph of Butler’s discovery started doing the rounds, the incident became known on social media as #tunagate and before long everyone had a theory on what the creature actually was.
An expert enlisted by The Daily Telegraph claimed that the head belonged to Cymothoa exigua, a parasite that attaches itself to the fish’s tongue. Prince’s own investigation concluded that it was likely to be a megalopa, a small, immature crab that posed no food safety risk.
Last week, new evidence emerged and it is left to this column to conclusively reveal the shocking truth behind Butler’s discovery. That piercing stare, that perfect skin… clearly, it was none other that Helenea Bonhamua Carterea.
Science has got it licked
And talking of exciting food discoveries, two just-published scientific studies have answered the questions that everyone wanted answered: namely, why popcorn pops and, more crucially, how many licks it takes to get to the end of a lollipop.
I kid you not. Last Wednesday, French “investigative engineers” Emmanuel Virot and Alexandre Ponomarenko published their incredible finding that when the temperature gauge hits 100 degrees Celsius, some of the moisture inside the corn starts to turn into steam and, well, the outer shell can then no longer stand the pressure. So pop!
Researchers from New York University and Florida State University, meanwhile, formulated a theory for how flows cause dissolving and shrinking, and calculated that a lollipop would take, on average, “about 1,000 licks” to finish.
There was, of course, a wider point to both studies. But is this further evidence that even science has fallen foul of the clickbait headline?
Allison Williams is best known as Marnie in Lena Dunham’s comedy-drama Girls. But while that role has seen Williams engage in some, let’s say interesting activities, it seems the actress now has her heart set on a “choice position” of a different nature.
According to the feminist pop-culture website Jezebel, Williams has been dropping hints about wanting to star in a remake of Mary Poppins for a number of years and her answer to the (somewhat strange) New York magazine question “What is your favourite medication?” was “I usually go straight to the spoonful of sugar”.
Williams could also be seen practising her plummy British accent in the roundly panned US television spectacular Peter Pan Live! last year and is, it must be noted, the daughter of the disgraced NBC news anchor Brian. Which led one Twitter wag to comment: “It’s hard to believe that Peter Pan Live! isn’t the lowest professional point for the Williams family this year.”
No rhyme or reason
Another in a regular series of limericks based on recent events:
Though intended to make us all think,
It created a bit of a stink,
So to kick up a fuss,
Say your van is a bus,
And paint it a bright shade of pink.