For thirty years Marmaduke Irksome pursued a distinguished career, talking crap in the House of Commons as the MP for Pontefract West. During his many years of public service he delivered a staggering number of lengthy discourses concerning all manner of bullshit, bollocks and general verbal garbage. Today, aged 446, Lord Irksome sits in the House of Lords where he remains the foremost authority on inanity and bluster. Indeed, he still regularly annoys his fellow peers by ripping off their iPods and spouting another load of utter shit until they wake up.
But what makes a man like this so exceptional? What is it that enables one individual to be such a prolific fountain of gibberish and drivel? He stands apart from his generation - a giant of a man, the likes of which is rarely seen these days. In 1979 he delivered a now legendary speech on rice pudding consumption in the EEC, and managed to speak for over six hours without actually saying anything of interest whatsoever - a feat that has so far been unequalled.
I had the great pleasure earlier this year of interviewing the man himself at his Budapest home. When I asked him how he felt about his formidable talents, Lord Irksome - like the true professional he is - waffled on about putty for the next hour and a half, without letting me get a word in edgewise.
So let us look at the life and career of this amazing politician and see if we might not shed some light on his outstanding genius. Documents recently released by the KGB record that Marmaduke Irksome was born in Warsaw, in Poland, in 1934, in an inn. His mother was an unemployed ostrich wrangler of Czechoslovakian extraction; his father was from Glasgow and made sandwiches for the Allies during the Second World War. Irksome left his native Warsaw in 1949, in a car, in a hurry, and came to England to seek his fortune - which he subsequently discovered wedged behind a pipe in a ladies' washroom.
"I suppose what really impressed me at the time," said Lord Irksome, speaking from his Budapest kitchen, "is the amount of rubbish that was being spoken in this country. Being from a somewhat impoverished background myself, our topics of conversation were mostly limited to potatoes and death. I remember one of my sixteen brothers once told me a wild story about some dead potatoes, but aside from that our intercourse was quite mundane. In England people were talking rubbish about everything from the stock market to the artificial insemination of pigs, and it was most exhilarating."
Irksome put his new found wealth to good use, investing chiefly in drinking establishments and large breasted women, and it was from just such a woman that he first heard about the Shaggy Coated Gumbuck of Peru. As a boy Irksome had been fascinated by tales of mystery and adventure, so he was enthralled as he listened to the story of this strange, prehistoric creature. Distinguished by its two prominent front teeth, powerful hind legs and an innate ability to play the banjo, the Shaggy Coated Gumbuck was thought to have subsisted on a diet of marzipan and treacle. It was popularly believed to have died out completely some two million years ago, although there were many rumours of just such a creature surviving in the jungles of South America.
Irksome was prompted to investigate further, delving into the oral traditions and legends of the indigenous people of the area. Local tribesmen spoke of a mighty, furred sloth that came screaming out of the jungle to carry away small children, shrieking horribly, and accompanying itself on a small stringed instrument. In conjunction with the celebrated explorer Sir Gordon Mackewly, a tall man who smelt of fish, Irksome mounted an expedition to capture the beast. After many months spent tracking it through the hostile jungle, they finally cornered one of these extraordinary animals and shot it up the Amazon, although Irksome has never been able to substantiate this claim.
Returning to England in 1958, despondent, destitute, and desperately in need of a bath, Marmaduke Irksome found himself turning to the skills he had learnt from South American witch doctors in order to earn his living. He opened an 'alternative' clinic in Yorkshire and had much success with a revolutionary new technique for treating the chronically ill, using a variety of traditional herbal medicines. However, when a police raid revealed that many of his 'herbal remedies' had a street value of £200 an ounce, he was forced to close the clinic down.
It was shortly after this that Irksome first hit upon the notion of entering politics. After all, what other vocation could offer him the chance to repay his debt to society, to apply his talents to the betterment of his fellow man and to make a huge stack of cash for himself?
"I had always admired politicians," he told me, from the comfort of his Budapest out-house. "It hadn't escaped my attention that most of the really interesting bullshit was flying around the House of Commons. This, I felt, was my real calling."
Irksome's criminal record proved to be an invaluable qualification, and in 1964 he represented the Slightly Liberal Party in the Pontefract West by-election, standing chiefly on a platform of civil rights for buffalo, and lowering the ceilings in doctor's waiting rooms. At this time Pontefract West was one of the smallest constituencies in Great Britain, consisting of just two sheet metal workers and a pig. In the end it was the pig who swung the vote in his favour, and by way of celebration Irksome invited everyone to a pork roast the following week.
"One of the most interesting things about Mexicans," said Lord Irksome, speaking from his Budapest utility room, "is their extraordinary ability to juggle mushrooms. Would you like to see my bottom?"
Sadly, Lord Irksome died in 1993 of irreversible buboes, but, as the old saying goes, it's impossible to keep a good man down. Since his death, Irksome has been busier than ever. He regularly undertakes lecture tours, visiting universities, libraries and theatres all over the British Isles to talk about jam and knitting. He has a weekly column in The Guardian, he's a frequent guest on Radio 4 and every Thursday, without fail, he can be found calling the bingo numbers at The Ritzy in Dagenham. Furthermore, this January saw the publication of his first novel, King Solomon's Lump. The book, which has already been nominated for the Backhander Award for Excessive Publicity, challenges some of the typically reactionary attitudes to classic literature, whilst at the same time underlining the more neglected points raised by positivism - which, when you think about it, isn't at all bad for a dead bloke.
"I remember a statue of a naked boy in the park that had had its knob broken off," said Lord Irksome, speaking from his Budapest bathroom. "But this is probably irrelevant. Is there any more of that delicious Velcro left?"
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