The Man Who Was Nearly a Beatle (Updated: 23/06/15)

Consider, please, the following famous quote:

“Ringo isn’t the best drummer in the world. He isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.”

Let’s cut to the chase here. I think there’s a good chance the above was written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. I have no proof. There is no great statement at the end of this article revealing all. This is all just musings… and possibly a first step in finding out for sure.

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History of a Joke

Cliché, Episode 2
(TX: 23rd March 1981, Radio 4)

Out of tune bleeps and bloops, like Wendy Carlos on an off-day.

PRESENTER: The final cadences of the last symphony of the Spanish composer Don Dimitri, who died early this morning at the age of 86. Cliché now pays its own special tribute to Don Dimitri – one of the true musical innovators of this century. Don Dimitri’s life was characterised by his refusal to accept the conventions and mores of the society in which he lived. In 1926, he went to the Sorbonne to study music. Rapidly, it became apparent he could not reconcile his own ideas with those of the establishment, and after three hours at the university, he left to set up his own school of musical thought. Professor Blakehust takes up the story.

BLAKEHURST: Don Dimitri’s biggest contribution to musical theory was the decative. Instead of the conventional eight note scale the octave, he initiated the ten note scale – the decative. He invented two new notes: H and J. Instead of ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, ti, doh’, the decative would run ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, woh, boh, lah, ti, doh’. And in reverse: ‘doh, ti, lah, boh, woh, soh, fah, me, ray, doh’.

PRESENTER: And he wrote all his symphonies using this scale?

BLAKEHURST: Indeed. And the instruments in his orchestra had to be adapted accordingly. Pianos were fitted with extra black keys; flutes now came in four sections instead of three; and accordions were scrapped, as the decative made them far too long for human beings to play. Trombones ceased to be a musical instrument, and now became a lethal weapon. And the lengthening of bassoons and saxophones extended the mouthpiece into the region of the lower intestine. Incidentally, in Don Dimitri’s orchestra, women were banned from playing the cello.

PRESENTER: What other significant changes were inspired by the decative?

BLAKEHURST: Time signatures were changed. Instead of 3/4 time it was now 0.75 time. 7/8 time became 0.875 time, and common time – or 4/4 time – was now simply… 1. Don Dimitri’s quartets comprised of five players, and his triangles had two sides – neither of them connected.

PRESENTER: And now, the last note of the last chord of the last cadence is written. At the grand old age of 86, Don Dimitri passed away this morning. Never one to do things in a conventional way, he died in a manner he would probably have appreciated – trying to suck a kazoo instead of blowing it. He inhaled the kazoo, it became lodged in his throat, and he died to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy. We leave you now with the strains of what is universally acknowledged as his masterwork: quintet for seven instruments in H minor. The only work he ever wrote in 0.333 recurring time, a time signature which never actually allows you to reach the end of the first bar. Hence it’s popular title: Dom Dimiti’s Unfinished Symph. Goodnight.

A warped version of I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside plays, with accompanying bleeps and bloops.

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The $64,000 Question

CGVapR6WcAEODEO “When I kiss a girl she knows she’s been kissed, you know. I leave a note.”

Currently running on Gold, Wednesdays at 9pm is Bob Monkhouse: Million Joke Man – a series looking at Bob Monkhouse’s life and career. It’s a lovely programme, though for a show which celebrates Bob’s incredible archive, zooming and cropping that archive to 16:9 so the picture quality goes to absolute shit is a bizarre way of showing respect for it. And whilst the second half of the first episode settled down somewhat, the first half was full of entirely pointless talking heads. Just what is Ricky Grover actually doing there? And get your greasy mitts off Bob’s joke books.

As part of promotion for the series, Mail Online ran this article, which I’m linking to out of a sense of obligation, but please feel free not to give them any more hits. And here’s where we get to the relevance of G&T to all this – Tom Worsley pointed us towards a very interesting image from that article from one of those famed joke books. Here’s a transcript:

There are many things men are hard put to explain: “How were the pyramids built?”…”What is that panty girdle doing on the back seat of your car?” “The Bermuda Triangle… why is it that so many writers have mysteriously made so much money from this small stretch of ocean? Was God an astronaut – and if so, did he have a crewcut? (SON OF CLICHÉ)

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Father of Dwarf

Every single Red Dwarf fan ever knows that Red Dwarf was based on the Dave Hollins: Space Cadet sketches from Son of Cliché. But that’s not the full story. Early versions of many famous scenes and concepts, particularly from the early series, can be found in this sketch show, and this document lists the vast […]

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