20 February 2020

How Long is a Piece of String?

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18 February 2020

The Beaufort Scale

Invented in 1805 by Frank 'Gusty' Beaufort to help prevent sailors from blowing off unexpectedly during perilous sea voyages, the Beaufort Scale remains the most widely used measure of wind speed and is still employed by professional windologists today. Its simple numerical scale can be understood by even those of moderate intelligence, who, if they stop dribbling on their shoes for long enough and concentrate, will grasp that the higher the force number, the windier the wind. However, if anyone should find the concept of numbers far too confusing, the scale also includes descriptions of everyday, relatable conditions, which will leave no one in any doubt about whether it's advisable to hang their washing out.

For reference, then, here is the Beaufort scale in full. You might want to jot this down; you never know when it might come in handy.


Force NumberDescriptionConditions
0RigidNo wind. The air is static, almost solid, like thick gravy or a melting Cornetto.
1Slight WaftThe feeling you might get if, say, a beetle ran over your foot or the nape or your neck was gently brushed by a pervert.
2Uninvited PumpA sudden unexpected parp of warm air. You don't know where it came from, you don't know where it's going to, and by the time you realise you felt it, it's already gone.
3Draughty BurbleA gentle but steady breeze, enough to rustle a newspaper but without turning over the page when you're trying to read the TV guide. Akin to the steady escape of air you get when you over-inflate an amphibian.
4Flappy ThrobberA pulsing series of gusts which can interfere with headwear and cause the wing mirrors on a 2007 Nissan Micra to rotate.
5Montrous BlastA sizeable gust, usually sufficient to dislodge a small rodent from a drainpipe or to inconvenience an unwary cow.
6Sustained BuffetingA continuous stream of fast moving air that can strip the veneer from a dining room table, dislodge street furniture or spontaneously redirect traffic. It is not unlikely that you could look out of your front window during a sustained buffeting and see your neighbour cartwheeling down the street.
7Squally ChuffCan blast all the wax out of your ears in two minutes flat. This type of wind can also go round corners without slowing down, so sadly there's no escaping it.
8Wild QuiveringCan uproot large trees and replant them in new locations. Under certain conditions, a bout of wild quivering has been known to rearrange all the vehicles in an underground car park.
9Severe TrembleStrong enough to blow all the words out of books, magazines and other printed matter, leaving just blank pages in its wake.
10Thunderous ClatteringWinds powerful enough to drive clouds into the sides of tall office buildings, causing substantial structural damage and making it difficult to reach the coffee machine.
11Exceptional Vicious GustinessDeliberately malicious winds that will trash your garden, upend you dustbin and carry off your greenhouse, usually while you're out.
12Spontaneous Directional TempestTheoretically, this weather phenomenon is strong enough and precise enough to pick out an individual in a crowd and remove a single item of clothing in one concentrated blast. Although it has proven to be mathematically possible, it has never been observed in nature. One man did claim to be a victim when he was discovered wandering around Trafalgar Square without his trousers, although the judge who subsequently found him guilty of indecent exposure said he wasn't fooling anyone.

17 December 2019

We're Recruiting...

The shortlist so far:

Please tell us about your current or most recent role

Company: Boogaboo International Ltd.

Job Title: Head of Fluffy Niceness

Main Duties: I am currently the national lead for the company's 'fluffy niceness' initiative, ensuring that all employees are overflowing with happy goodness and that no one is a grumpy old sourpuss. As part of the company's policy of keeping everyone distracted so that they don't question their pay or conditions, I organise meetings - many meetings - in which myself and my specially chosen fluffy niceness champions explore ways we can improve the morale of staff. We hope that one day we may be able to put one of our ideas into practice, but in the meantime the pay is good and we try to keep ourselves busy putting up jolly motivational notices around the office, and posting wacky videos of ourselves on YouTube. It doesn't half wind people up.

Oh, and also I'm the fire marshal.

Reason for Leaving: I'm not very happy.

What qualities do you think you could bring to your new role?

Although I have no direct experience of whatever you said the job is, I feel that I can be a bouncy ray of sunshine who will spread joy and loveliness throughout the company and not get on anyone's nerves at all.


Please tell us about your current or most recent role

Company: Amalgamated Planks

Job Title: Senior Buyer (Novelties)

Main Duties: I am the senior buyer of branded pens, trolley tokens and baseball caps. In my role I assist the Advertising and Promotion department by sourcing and purchasing branded pens, trolley tokens and baseball caps. I also contribute to the smooth running of the Human Resources department by ensuring they have sufficient supplies of branded pens, trolley tokens and baseball caps, and provide an invaluable service to the finance team by supplying their branded pens, trolley tokens and baseball caps. I have also played a key role in the company's data protection reference group, ensuring compliance with current legislation, helping to encourage best practice, raising awareness of staff responsibilities and influencing policy, largely through the supply of branded pens, trolley tokens and baseball caps.

Reason for Leaving: I am hoping to secure a more varied and interesting role.

What qualities do you think you could bring to your new role?

Whatever the industry, to compete successfully in the modern marketplace it is vital for any business to have a steady and reliable supply of branded pens, trolley tokens and baseball caps. With more than twenty years' experience in the field of securing essential novelty items for major international companies, I believe I am the obvious choice to help your company build on its current success, expand its portfolio and capture new markets by ensuring the availability of branded pens, trolley tokens and baseball caps.


Please tell us about your current or most recent role

Company: Frisbee Digitally Tracked Logistical Interface Solutions

Job Title: Executive Associate for Corporate Congruity

Main Duties: My role is both focussed and wide-ranging, responsible as I am for ensuring that the reciprocal intermutually of stratified modular vector analyses are consistent with current projected bipartisan flexibility nodes. Compliance is key, of course, which is why I take daily ownership on both a projected and pre-coordinated basis of all dual-mode consolidated trajectories. I'm sure I have no need to point out the dangers of allowing federated public collaborations to proceed in a quasi-affiliated state, without rudimentary limiters being applied sequentially. This is why my strategy incorporates modal feedback pathways.

Reason for Leaving: This is boring. I want to drive a forklift truck.

What qualities do you think you could bring to your new role?

I already have my own hat. Please let me drive a forklift truck.


Please tell us about your current or most recent role

Company: International Stuff Incorporated

Job Title: Operations Manager.

Main Duties: I am ultimately responsible for the management and effective deployment of staff, ensuring that all company processes and operations run smoothly and resolving any difficulties and disputes that may interfere with or impede the business of the company. Well, clearly that's impossible! How can anybody possibly be expected to deal with all that? People are constantly coming to me with their problems: personnel issues, supply problems, equipment failures, policy decisions. Why can't they just go and sort it out for themselves? I mean, it's too much, just too much! That's why I spend as much time as I possibly can shut away in my office, refusing to speak to anyone.

Reason for Leaving: I would like something that pays me the same money, provides me with the same perks but isn't anything like as demanding.

What qualities do you think you could bring to your new role?

You'll hardly know I'm there. Honestly, I'll be no bother. I'll just sit in my office - I'd like a big office please - and I'll keep myself amused. I certainly won't interfere with the running of the company, or try to make any decisions or anything like that. And I definitely won't attempt to actually manage anyone, promise.


Please tell us about your current or most recent role

Job Title: Office Joker.

Main Duties: Most of my working day is spent is spent larking about, winding people up and having a right old laugh. If anybody is to be found wearing a silly hat, playing football in the stockroom or photocopying their backside, then it's me. I specialise in pranks, particularly messy ones that result in extreme embarrassment for the victim and usually some element of physical pain. You probably won't be surprised to learn that many people think of me as a tosser but thankfully I take my job seriously enough to recognise this as a compliment.

Reason for Leaving: The incident with the finance director's wife and the peanut butter. You may have read about it in the paper.

What qualities do you think you could bring to your new role?

I'm looking for a role in which I can stretch myself and take my pranking to the next level. I am particularly interested in working with dangerous and banned substances and have for a long time nurtured an ambition to carry out the ultimate prank - one which may or may not involve melting someone's face off.


Please tell us about your current or most recent role

Company: It's that big place at the end of Market Street - can't remember the name

Job Title: Dead weight.

Main Duties: I suppose the best way to describe my role is as a constant burden to my colleagues and the company in general. Of course, I have my specific duties and responsibilities but I find that if I just ignore them then someone else will cover it for me. Over the years I have managed to duck out of most tasks by claiming that they are not part of my job description and nobody has really had the nerve to challenge me. It has now got to the point where no one even bothers to ask me anymore and I can usually spend most of my working day sitting in a corner playing on my phone. In fact, in recent months I haven't actually turned up at all and on the few occasions that anyone has asked me where I am, I say I'm 'working from home'.

Reason for Leaving: Don't know.

It's not for me to say. Can't you ask someone else?


Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

16 December 2019

Situations Vacant

FTSE 100 Company requires Pudding Scraper

Must have previous pudding scraping experience. Aunt Myrtle's Premium Puddings is a small family business that currently has factories in over 40 countries. We provide bespoke pudding services and a vacancy has arisen for a fully qualified pudding scraper. The successful candidate will have a natural affinity for custard and a strong sense of trifle.

Are you looking for an exciting new role that will give you the opportunity to spend up to eight hours a day sitting in a tank full of live fish? Our client currently has an opening for someone to spend up to eight hours a day sitting in a tank full of live fish. If you think you're the sort of person who can see themselves spending up to eight hours a day sitting in a tank full of live fish, then give us a call.

Bland Person Required

A vacancy has arisen for a dull, nondescript and inconsequential person in our out-of-town manufacturing facility. You will have access to a plastic chair and a small square of carpet, and your duties will include sitting in a corner quietly and not bothering anyone. May require some night work.

Talky phone person needed to do some of the old chin-wagging on the dog and bone. Must be capable of giving it some real welly and be all over that shit like a proper boss. Give us a bell, yeah?

We are recruiting for a Senior String Polisher. You will be a fully qualified string polisher with at least five years' experience in the industry and a Level 3 qualification in string polishing. You will be resourceful and reliable, with a keen eye for detail and an innovative approach to string polishing. You will also be a Capricorn, have a fondness for small dogs, be interested in local history and enjoy canal boating holidays. Additionally, you will be called Bernie Pamphlet, be aged 46 and live in Dudley. Hello Bernie.

Tour guide wanted for our new 'Tales of the Pharaohs' exhibit. Must be capable of walking like an Egyptian. A working knowledge of all the old paintings on the tombs and the ability to do the sand dance would be an advantage, don't you know, but is not essential.

Domestic Puddle Collector

Commercial Puddle Collector

Two roles available in our puddle collection division.

As a domestic puddle collector you will ensure that all domestic puddles are collected and deposited in our dedicated puddle storage facility. You will be provided with a bucket.

As a commercial puddle collector your role will be substantially the same as a domestic puddle collector, but your working hours will be limited to regular business hours and you will be given a bigger bucket.

PA to the Assistant Head of Stationery

Must have sound working knowledge of paperclips, staples, hole punches and those little string things that they use to bundle paper together.

Semi-articulate Waggon Shunter

Our client is looking for a semi-articulate waggon shunter. Must be able to grunt basic information. Ability to communicate using hand signals would be desirable. Must have a reasonable grasp of nouns and common verbs, but adjectives, adverbs and more complex sentence structures such as similes and metaphors are not required. Must have a history of using the past tense and be willing to learn the correct use of the future tense in the future, although this is not required for the present.


Spodung Acquisitions are looking for a buyer to sit around, phone people up and buy stuff: things like spoons, balloons, boots, suits, air fresheners , flea collars, coffee whitener and pencils. Experience desired but would be willing to provide training to the right candidate. Hot drinks and snacks will be provided, so give us a call if you're interested in a career buying stuff like ladders, donkey jackets, space hoppers, inkjet cartridges, fish, teeth, wardrobes, model spaceships, phone chargers, notepads, gearboxes, individually wrapped cheese slices, plastic dinosaurs, old Beatles records, antique castanets and seat covers.


Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

11 December 2019
The History of Rock

Ricky Stratocaster's Forgotten Heroes

Not everyone makes it into the hallowed halls of rock and roll fame, but a few have their brief fifteen minutes. Here we take a moment to remember some of those who have been forgotten along the way.

Roy Pannick
Lead singer with The Flying Trifles

The Flying Trifles poster

If you were around in Sheffield in March 1965, you'll know all about The Flying Trifles. They were everywhere: every newspaper, every club, every radio station. They were even guests of honour at the opening of a new branch of Wimpy. According to industry insiders, The Trifles were considered the next Beatles, but then this was the '60s and every group was considered the next Beatles at some point. It was inevitable, therefore, that by the following month they had been completely forgotten.

The band struggled on for another couple of years in the face of mounting apathy before they decided to call it a day. Lead singer Roy Pannick continued as a solo performer for a little while, becoming the warm up act for the likes of the Kinks and Herman's Hermits and driving the crowds wild as he stood in front of the microphone and went 'One, two. One, two. One, one, one. Two, two. One two'. One Two was even released as a single and became a minor hit, but the follow-up, Three Four, failed to chart.

These days you will find Roy working the afternoon shift and the EasySaver Megamart, near Sheffield bus terminus, where he is quite happy to take a break from stacking shelves to chat, reminisce about the old days and sign the occasional packet of Cornflakes.

Sim Rekrap
One-fingered keyboard player with synth-pop outfit Toasted Arcade

In describing Sim Rekrap as a one-fingered keyboard player, I am of course referring to the fact that he played the instrument with one finger, not that he only had one finger to play it with. According to a 1983 interview published in Smash Hits, his signature playing style meant that it left his remaining fingers free to do other things during a performance. Sim did not elaborate on what those other things were.

In the same interview, Sim revealed that his real name was Simon Parker, and that he had cleverly devised his stage name by reversing the letters of his surname. How he came up with the name for the band is less easily explained and the origins of 'Toasted Arcade' remain a mystery to this day. In fact, these days Sim is reluctant to talk about his former life as a pop star at all. He currently scrapes a living as a taxi driver in Nottingham, where you will most likely find him working Friday and Saturday nights. He may not be particularly chatty, but you will be pleased to know that he still has the mullet.

Davy Bottles
Seventies Teen Idol

Glitterball Gangshow poster

Davy Bottles might be a name that is familiar to you, since he has had two bites of the fame cherry. As a seventies teen idol he had a run of hits including Girl, Let Me Carry Your Satchel, Schoolyard Romance and Peppermint Kiss. His wholesome, boy-next-door good looks and his cheeky smile ensured he was always in the pages of teen magazines and his posters were on every young girl's bedroom wall. He even made movies, including Glitterball Gangshow in which he played a teen pop star, Spangled Dreamland in which he played a teen pop star, and Ballroom Berserkers in which he played a fish porter, who wanted to be a teen pop star.

But by 1976 the bubble had burst, the records had stopped selling and Davy filed for bankruptcy. He disappeared from view but re-emerged into the public eye in 1996 when, now pursuing a career as a full time actor, he appeared as a regular in EastEnders, playing a fat, balding pornographer. He had a successful eight-month run in the show, but his career stalled once again after he left.

These days you can still find him performing in small theatres and holiday resorts as part of seventies nostalgia shows, but the image of the fat, balding pornographer from EastEnders performing sugary pop ballads like Schoolyard Romance is one that audiences find difficulty in acclimatising to.

Seymour Tonker
Britpop banjo

You've probably heard of Blur. What you probably don't know is that one of their founding members was Seymour Tonker and that their music was originally considerably more 'banjo-y'. It was the combination of Seymour's hectic plucking style and Damian Albarn's soulful accordion work that first brought them to the attention of audiences.

Nevertheless, the band's first record deal only came about on the understanding that Seymour left the instrument at home. Seymour resisted and record company boss Milton P Wodehouse pressured the band into firing him. (Wodehouse, you may recall, is the same man who got rid of the glockenspiel player from Keane.)

So Seymour Tonker was out of the band and Britpop took a very different course as a result - being a mainly guitar-based movement with minimal banjo input. Seymour himself is quite philosophical about it. These days he runs a pub in Chester but if you ask him nicely he's more than happy to whip his banjo out for a quick pluck.

Carole Parsons
Disco sensation

Boogie Oogie Woogie lp

Or rather, Dr Carole Parsons. Little did Carole know, back in 1978 when she released her first single Bip Bip Bip Bippity Bop, that she would one day become a highly respected psychoanalyst whose extremely expensive services would be sought by film stars, celebrities and many of the performers she once shared the charts with.

That first single was a huge hit and was quickly followed by other notable, if lyrically stunted, successes, including Rubba-Dubba Doo Doo, Wim Bam You're the Man and Oopsy Doop (Slight Return). Dr Parsons has dismissed any suggestion that she is embarrassed by the seemingly juvenile output of her former career. Those songs are classic expressions of our inner child, untainted by societal norms, and as such they provide a vital link to the deepest parts of our subconscious and allow for a cathartic re-evaluation of our neuroses.

That's what she says, anyway, and she's got the certificates so who am I to argue?

Jeremy Bellowes-Harpic
Reality TV Star

Two years ago, Jeremy Bellowes-Harpic was everywhere, following his appearances in the popular constructed reality show Posh Wankers in Chester. Basking in the glow of all this media attention, it was only a matter of time before the gormless simpleton decided that there was no way that an acute lack of talent was going to prevent him from realising his dream of becoming a pop star.

His one and only release was both immediately forgettable and an instant hit, and was enough to give him another two years of appearing on cooking programmes, game shows and mid-morning magazine shows. He can still occasionally be found doing nightclub appearances and opening car showrooms, and most people's reaction when he is announced is, quite rightly, "Who?"

Mr Piggles
Fluffy pink one hit wonder

Freddies Family Fun Time

I'm sure we can all remember the naughty pink sock puppet from the popular Saturday evening show Uncle Freddie's Family Fun Time. Laughs aplenty. And you must remember the novelty hit The Piggle Song. Of course you do, it was number one for five weeks in 1987 and no one could get the bloody thing out of their heads.

But did you ever stop to wonder what happened to Mr Piggles when Uncle Freddie was thrown in prison as a result of Operation Yewtree? Well the people who bought Uncle Freddie's house, after the police had finished with it, found the puppet stuffed down the back of a radiator. They cleaned it up, thoroughly, then put it up for auction on eBay.

Now, I know what you're thinking: who would want to buy a creepy, threadbare puppet from an embarrassingly awful 1980s light entertainment show? Well, nobody - nobody would, which is why the people who found just stuffed it back down behind the radiator again.

Fred Forelock
The oldest rocker on the block

In 1981 Fred Forelock was a 72-year-old ex-miner who had a novelty hit with The Oldest Rocker on the Block. Today he is a 23-year-old insurance broker from Brighton. Go figure.

Caveat Emptor
Rock and roll royalty

If I were to ask you where legendary rock band Caveat Emptor are now, then your answer would probably be that they're still going strong and about to embark on yet another farewell tour. You're right, of course: the group, which started in the late sixties, is still rocking out today. But people often wonder what happened to the original line up.

Caveat Emptor's founding members were Rob Rhomboid, Daryl Spike, Lionel Carpets and Colin Findus. This version of the band lasted until 1976 when Rob Rhomboid left due to molecular differences. He was replaced by Jimmy Piccalilli. Colin Findus left the following year and was replaced by Timothy Spall (not the actor). This iteration of the group remained stable until 1988 when both Jimmy Piccalilli and Lionel Carpets decided to ship out, following separate but entirely unrelated pogo stick accidents. They were replaced by Hugo Truffaut and Sir Maurice Crumple respectively.

It soon became apparent that Truffaut and Daryl Spike really didn't get on and both announced their departure, each unaware that the other had also quit the band. Truffaut was replaced by Rob Rhomboid. Remember him? Yep, he'd been there at the start, as had Colin Findus, who also returned to the fold.

In 1998, Timothy Spall (not the actor) departed after, ironically, landing his first acting job. He was replaced by Davy Bottles, former teen heartthrob. Then, in 2001, Sir Maurice Crumple, now Lord Crumple of Windermere, left to take up a seat in the House of Lords. He was initially replaced by Colin Findus, but this was problematic since Findus was already in the band. However, following a chance encounter in Burger King, the band's manager learnt that Daryl Spike was once more available. After leaving Caveat Emptor he and Hugo Truffaut had unwittingly joined the same band once more, and both had promptly left again. Daryl accepted Caveat Emptor's invitation to return.

Finally, in 2004, Davy Bottles quit the band in order to spend more time with his tortoise, and was replaced by original member Lionel Carpets.

So, in summary, if you want to know where the original line up of Caveat Emptor are today, the answer is pretty much back where they started.

Freddies Family Fun Time


Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download

Annual 2020

Blog Index

Archive 1

February 2001
- July 2003

Lillywhite Lenny

"They get awful jiggy, some of these horses..."

Puzzle Page

"Wrap your brains around these fiendish puzzles..."

Donald Fact's Fact Spanner

"No. 128: Chinese Shelves..."

Not Funny

"Comedy is something that occurs at a sub-atomic level..."




Invitation to a Monks' Tea Party

"...dedicated to St Jemima of the Holy Rock, the patron saint of gravel..."


"Could you support a helpless pirate?"

Speed Dating

"Dating at 150mph..."

Optimum Leaning Angles

"It's always best to rest against something solid, such as a small horse..."


Unconventional Weapons

Was itching powder used in Vietnam?

The Sandwich Advisor

The National Sandwich Hotline

Surrealist Muggings

Man robbed by colour blue.

A Law Unto Herself

A gobby woman

Springboard to the Stars

Project Pogo

Monetising Misery

Making poverty pay

  Echo... Echo

Meanwhile in Yorkshire

UK Citizenship Test

How to be a great Briton

World of Holes

Holes for every occasion


Reverse the 412 signs of aging

Jehovahs Cleaners
Arty Tomatoes
Kicking and Screaming

Prologue: Peanuts

You Don't Have to be Mad to Work Here...

Machiavelli Management Solutions

The Bleeding Obvious

Exploding Dogs

Baby's First Swear

Scrufty's Magic Juju Shop


Empire of the Flowers


Mrs Wilberforce and the River

Epilogue: Persons Unknown

Golfing bird
The Hedgehog King Board Meeting Goldilocks and the Free Bears Death Doom and Disaster Tall Story in a Short Glass Venus by Catapult Barry Buys a Broom
The History of Rock
Standard British NunsTeaching Carrots to FlyStandard British NunsExtreme Dinosaurs
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All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2020, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.


The UBO Annual 2020

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The UBO Annual 2018 The UBO Annual 2017 The UBO Annual 2016 The UBO Annual 2015 The History of Rock The Bongo Lectures Kicking and Screaming Dead Peasants Recalled to Life UBO Volume 1 UBO Volume 2 Death Doom and Disaster Goldilocks and the Free Bears Find out more...