background
13 January 2021

Welcome to Little Mungford

Welcome to Little Mungford

Anyone visiting the small and relatively obscure settlement of Little Mungford is in for a treat. The village boasts many attractions and wonders, including a theme park, museum, waxworks, medieval castle, the Eifel Tower, a valley of pyramids with two sphinxes and the Taj Mahal. Or at least is does according to the village's official website. Intrigued, we found the contact details for Little Mungford's chief tourism officer, Ian Balls, and decided to pay him a visit.

Mr Balls lives in a bungalow at the edge of the village and, if the signs displayed at his property and on the various vehicles parked outside are accurate, his main business is skip hire. He is a man in his fifties, impressively well-balanced for a gentleman of his excessive size. The top of his head is an arid plain on which little has grown for the past twenty years, but he compensates for this with a grey ponytail and a long goatee, this latter feature dripping with gravy as he opens his front door to us. He is part way through devouring a sausage speared on a fork clutched tightly in his pudgy hand, but he is no less welcoming for having his dinner interrupted. In fact, he generously offers us a nibble, which we politely decline.

"There's big money in skips," he tells us as he urges us to take a seat and hands us a beer. He resumes his dinner, but is talented enough to continue speaking whilst simultaneously pushing chips into his face. "Although, a lot of people in the village didn't really approve," he dribbles. "They thought my line of business lowered the tone. They also didn't really like me very much - I wasn't their type, you see. A self-made man, me, not one of those snooty Oxbridge commuter-belt types. So, anyway, I had quite a bit of money to invest so I started buying up property and moving them all out. That's when I hit upon my idea."

Sign to Taj Mahal

Mr Balls' big scheme was to turn Little Mungford into a major tourist attraction. The village, we gather, already had a number of natural features and structures of historical interest to recommend it. Mr Balls invested in a programme of restoration and improvement. He also sought to expand the appeal of the village by purchasing new attractions from around the world, including, as we mentioned earlier, the Taj Mahal. This puzzles us since, as far as we are aware, the Taj Mahal is still in India.

"Well it wasn't easy," Mr Balls acknowledges as he ploughs through a steak and kidney pie like a ripsaw slicing through a tree trunk. "But I know a bloke. If you've got the right contacts and you're prepared to bung 'em a few quid, you can get pretty much anything you want. The one in India is just a copy made out of plasterboard and chicken wire. We've got the real thing here."

He wipes his grease-stained fingers on the tablecloth, reaches into his back pocket and hands us a small damp square of paper. We unfold it gingerly and find it is an illustrated brochure and map of the village, showing the many and varied attractions on offer.

"You can have that. For free," he says with a wink.

"Thanks," we reply with a reasonably convincing show of gratitude. "It says here," we say, after studying it for a moment, "that we can visit the Grand Canyon on the edge of the village."

"A Grand Canyon, not the Grand Canyon," Mr Balls corrects us. He rises and goes to the kitchen, returning moments later with a loaf of bread and a large tub of what appears to be lard. "I did express an interest in the original but moving a canyon presents certain logistical problems. Luckily, Little Mungford already had a canyon of its own."

We express surprise at this. Mr Balls acknowledges our reaction as he tears off a chunk of bread, dips it into the lard and explains.

"Well, I say 'canyon' but then one man's canyon is very much another man's trench. Anyhow, after a couple of day's work with a JCB, I reckon we've got a chasm that can rival anything you're likely to see in Arizona."

There is a sharp rap at the front door and Mr Balls springs to his feet. There is a gleam in his eye that looks very much like lust and the way that his tongue is hanging out is disturbing. "That must be the curry that I ordered," he drools. "Listen, it looks like I may be busy for some time. Why don't you take that map and go and look around the place for yourselves. I guarantee you won't be disappointed."

This seeming like an excellent idea, we leave Mr Balls to deal with his curry - and the four other takeaway deliveries that are standing in line at his front door - and proceed to the centre of the village, where the map tells us that we will find the Eifel Tower. Presumably the one in Paris is just a crude facsimile made out of pipe cleaners and Blu Tack. We can find no trace of it, which is a puzzle since our understanding is that it is really quite big and difficult to miss.

Sign to Giant Monkey

In search of answers, we step into a nearby pub. The place is empty and the bar is unattended. We rap politely on the counter and in response to our call the barman springs forth. To our surprise, he is immediately familiar.

"Mr Balls!"

"Who sir? Me sir? No sir, my name is Jenkins," says the barman. "Sidney Jenkins. Although one or two people have noted that I do seem to share a slight resemblance with Mr Balls."

More than slight, we'd say: the ponytail, the goatee, the sausage roll held securely in his fist, even the fact that his girth means that he is wedged so tightly behind the bar that he is unable to turn round - it all seems to point to Mr Balls. However, we take 'Mr Jenkins' at his word and ask him where the Eifel Tower has got to.

"The Tower sir? Why, it hasn't gone anywhere, sir. There it is sir." He points out of the window. We tell him we can see no sign of it, but he insists and suddenly it dawns on us that he is indicating an electricity pylon. Clearly he's very proud of the structure and we don't want to upset him, so we humour him, 'ooh-ing' and 'ahh-ing' appreciatively.

Aware that time is pressing, we study the map and decide our next visit will be to Great Mungford Falls, which - according to the description we have been given - 'cascade majestically into the sparkling azure pool of Mungford Water'. We check our directions with the barman and, this being nearly lunchtime, our thoughts turn to whether we can get some food to take with us. Sandwiches, perhaps?

"Oh yes, sir. Of course, sir," says the barman. "We do sandwiches, sir. What kind of sandwiches did you have in mind?"

"Ham?" we venture.

"All out of ham sir," the barman says. "But I'm sure we can find something for you?"

"Cheese, maybe?" we ask. "Tuna fish? Beef?"

"Sorry sir, all out?" says the barman. "If only you'd been here earlier."

"How about pork, or even... "

"Actually, I've just remembered, we're all out of sandwiches," the barman says. "All gone. Yum yum."

"A sausage roll, then? Or a pasty?"

"No pasties, sir," says the barman. "And I've just eaten the last of the sausage rolls. I've got a packet of salt and vinegar crisps."

"Well that will have to do," we tell him.

Sign to Pyramids

The barman opens the packet, tips the contents down his throat, scrunches up the bag and throws it over his shoulder. "Sorry sir, all gone."

We tell him not to worry. He isn't worried. He thanks us for our custom, such as it was, and we depart on our way to the Great Falls. The path takes us round the back of a row of semi-detached houses, across some scrubland littered with builders' rubble and though a scraggy copse of rotting trees. Where Mungford Water ought to be, there is a muddy pond surrounded by rusted barbed wire, on which there floats a solitary duck that fixes us with one evil eye and issues a single, contemptuous quack.

There is a fellow lying on the bank with his hat over his eyes, and from the noises he's making he's either snoring or having an asthma attack. We attract his attention and he lazily removes the hat and props himself up on his elbows, revealing himself to be either Mr Balls or somebody else who looks remarkably like him. The noise we had heard had been the sound of him gnawing on a chicken leg.

"How do, my dearies," he says, spitting out a lump of gristle.

"Sorry to disturb you, Mr... Balls?"

"Ah, now then, many folk makes that there mistake, my dearies," he responds. "People do tell as I look remarkably like that there Mr Balls. I couldn't rightly tell you whether they is right or wrong about that, but what I can say is that my name is Isaac Wurzel, so it is."

"Please beg our pardon," we entreat him. "Well, Mr Wurzel, we were - "

"Yes, I is a Wurzel, just like my pa was a Wurzel, and his pa before him, right back to Gascoigne de Wurzel, who came over with William the Conqueror - although people do say as how that was a mistake, and that he only got on the boat because he thought it was a day trip to Boulogne."

"Ah, right. Well, we came to see - "

"Of course, I be a Wurzel on my pa's side. T'other side of my family are Murgatroyds. You ever heard of the Lincolnshire, Murgatroyds? No, neither have I, I don't know why I brought them up. Now, the Murgatroyds was once very big in beetroots. There was a time, not so very long ago, my dearies, when t'other side of the hill was all beetroots right down to the river. Course, it's a shopping centre now. You can get all sorts of stuff there: televisions, carpets, picture frames, packets of fruit gums... You can probably get beetroot, as well. You wanted to ask me something, dearies?"

Sign to Grand Canyon

He suddenly falls silent and it takes us by surprise. We quickly gather our wits and ask him where we can find Mungford Water. We'd found it, he tells us. And the Great Mungford Falls? He points to a trickle of rusty brown water dribbling from a pipe, and we realise with a sigh that we should have expected something like that.

"Course, what you should really be interested in is the monster!" he informs us in a hushed voice. Monster, we ask? "Oh yes, my dearies," he continues. "It lives in the deep dark depths, rising to the surface only occasionally. They've had all sorts of scientific people here, hunting for it, but it's eluded them, so it has. They reckon as how it's some ancient prehistoric beastie."

He suddenly jumps up and points excitedly. "Look! Look! There it is! You're in luck - few people have ever seen it. See how it rises majestically from the waters, the spray cascading from it scaly back, before it crashes back into the foam, and dives down, down, down into the obsidian blackness of its underwater lair."

He is pointing at the duck. We leave him to it. Consulting the map once more we set off to find the Taj Mahal. Mr Balls had assured us that it was the real thing. We didn't believe this for a moment, but we hoped at least that he'd made an effort. We discover that the building is surrounded by a high fence and that we have to pay a small charge for entry. Fumbling in our pockets for change, we approach the ticket booth and find it occupied by a large middle-aged woman with platinum blond hair, long gaudily-coloured earrings and plastered in so much makeup that it appears to form some sort of protective shell. 'She' also has a long goatee beard, is struggling gamely to chomp her way through a giant Toblerone and is clearly Mr Balls in drag.

"I'm not Mr Balls," is the first thing she says to us.

"We never said you were," we reply wearily.

"My name is Patty Grinder, and I'll have you know I'm a respectable woman, so none of your coarse language and nonsense."

We have no idea what nonsense she is referring to and we haven't used any coarse language - although by now our patience is wearing thin and there is every chance that we might let rip at any second. We hold our tongues long enough to purchase our tickets, and are told that they also allow us entry to see the Giant Monkey. We start to ask about the Giant Monkey, realise that there is probably no percentage in it, and silently pass through the turnstile.

The Taj Mahal turns out to be a shed. An actual shed. They haven't even bothered painting it. We turn around, walk straight out and keep going until we reach our car. It's time to call it a day, but Little Mungford does have a final treat for us. On the way out of the village we pass a sign for the Giant Monkey, and since we have the tickets we decide to stop off and have a look. And we're glad that we have, since the Giant Monkey is a twenty-foot high animatronic gorilla that dances whilst performing a surprisingly emotional version of Elvis Presley's 'All Shook Up'. It is easily the most impressive thing we've seen all day and for this reason and this reason only we heartily recommend that you consider paying Little Mungford a visit.

Map of Little Mungford

 

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021

Buy from Amazon UK.

Buy from Amazon US.

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021


23 December 2020

Very Disappointing. Avoid.

Because he knows how important it is that the world has access to his opinions, Garth Vazio has invested a great deal of time in posting reviews of pretty much everything online. All his reviews are negative, naturally, because Garth is a fellow of exacting standards and therefore extremely difficult to please...

Shepton Bassett Memorial Gardens

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

Go to Shepton Bassett Memorial Gardens and you will find a big stone obelisk with a plaque attached. And I hope you're a big fan of big stone obelisks, because you'll find precious little else to amuse you. Big stone obelisks do nothing for me, I'm afraid, and neither do flowerbeds and oddly shaped patches of turf. I even failed be amused by the park benches, which is unusual because outdoor seating is something I usually take an inordinately keen interest in. There were some ducks, but they didn't do anything interesting - just sat and looked at me with beady eyes, smug grins all over their smarmy beaks. I suppose if you're really into grass then this is the place for you, but I won't be returning. Very disappointing. Avoid.

500g Pack of Munchy Flakes Breakfast Cereal

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

I was really looking forward to receiving these and when they arrived I couldn't wait to open the parcel. But, oh dear, what a let-down. Let's start with the packaging: drab cardboard with a photo of a bowl of Munchy Flakes on the front. Very imaginative, I don't think! Come on Munchy Flakes, how about making an effort? Perhaps a gatefold front with a cut-out window, or a lenticular 3d image, or, I don't know, a hologram or something?

Never mind, I was sure the real treat would be waiting for me inside the pack. I had to tear open the top to get in - not very clever. What if I wanted to send them back? Anyway, I tipped the contents onto the table in front of me and spread them out, looking for the free gift. Nothing! No little plastic toy, no collector's cards, no stickers - it was just the Munchy Flakes. And they were nothing special either, just cheap knock-off cornflakes. Very disappointing. Avoid.

Dr K Scapula, River Walk Surgery

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

Suspecting that I was suffering from a bad case of repetitive strain injury following a heavy evening writing reviews, I visited my local GP surgery. It had been a while since I last visited my doctor, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. The first shock came when I was told by the grumpy receptionist that, because I didn't have an appointment, I might have to wait for up to ten minutes. Ten minutes! Is this what our health service has come to?

What made it worse was that the waiting room was very poorly equipped. There were no video games, the only TV was showing a programme about washing your hands and when I tried to order a coffee from the receptionist she gave me a very sour look. In the end I was only kept waiting for six minutes, but it was six minutes of sheer hell.

Anyway, eventually I got to see the doctor. She seemed very nice, but clearly she wasn't properly qualified. I told her all about my symptoms and gave her my diagnosis, carefully researched on the internet, and instructed her to write me a prescription for antibiotics, painkillers and, just to be on the safe side, an inhaler. She refused. Can you believe it? I thought the customer was always right. All she did was smile politely, examine my hands and tell me there was nothing to worry about.

So, all in all, it was a completely wasted trip and I came out with nothing. Very disappointing. Avoid.

The Mopey Ricards Maxi-Press 4000 Steam Iron

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

I'm quite a gadget buff and I had high hopes for this item, having read some of the previous reviews. But guess what - it really doesn't live up to the hype. Granted, the Maxi-Press 4000 makes a decent enough job of flattening clothes but that's all it does. It can't handle mowing the lawn, it makes a right hash of toasting bread and you can't get the internet on it. Hardly 'a fantastic little stream iron that helps make your daily chores a joy' as one reviewer wrote. Very disappointing. Avoid.

Geoff Pickles: My Story, The Autobiography

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

I've been a big fan of Geoff Pickles for many years. I have all his records, seen every film he's made and was lucky enough to watch him score three goals for Arsenal when they played Sheffield Wednesday in the 1989 quarter finals. I even met the great man in person, in a chip shop in Bolton in 2002, and still have the scar from when he threw a chair at me and told me to piss off. Gets a bit touchy when you try to pinch his chips, does Geoff, but we love him all the same.

Anyhow, it was inevitable that I would rush out and get this book as soon as it was published, but oh dear - just because people are writing about themselves, is it really any reason to be so self-obsessed? Geoff just goes on and on about stuff that he did and stuff that happened to him: in 1978 I did this, then in 1982 I did that, in 1988 this happened to me, then in 1996 someone gave me an award for doing this that and the other. Give it a rest mate! Couldn't we have a few car chases, a bit of intrigue, maybe a daring escape from a perilous situation? I gather he is currently writing a second volume covering the last twenty years. Well, I hope he bucks his ideas up and makes his life story a bit more exciting, that's all I can say. Very disappointing. Avoid.

Gravity

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

Gravity is one of the four fundamental forces of nature and has been with us since the beginning of the universe. Now, I'm as keen as the next reviewer to respect tradition, but I do think there is a case to be made for modernisation. And, as we all know, gravity if far from perfect. Sure, it's great for keeping things on the ground. I for one certainly wouldn't want to go floating off into space, but then the same force that keeps me rooted to the spot is also responsible for making things fall off the top of my wardrobe. Surely with all the modern technology at our disposal we could have gravity that was a little more discriminating? So, sorry, but it's a big thumbs down for gravity. Very disappointing, avoid.

The Merchant of Venice, RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

Nice ice cream, but the scoops are very, very small and two scoops in a pot for £3.75 is expensive. Scoops need to be bigger. Very disappointing, avoid.

The River Bassett, Herbickshire

Reviewed by Garth Vazio

Stars 1 ½ Stars

Well, what you get here, of course, is your standard river - not too big, not too small. Personally I found it a little too wet - I know some people like that in a river but I don't think I'm being unreasonable if I say that, in this day and age, we should be offered a choice about how wet or dry we want our rivers to be. I mean, this isn't the dark ages!

The River Bassett has some nice meanders, there's the odd bridge to lighten the mood but the local fish are very unhelpful and standoffish. In conclusion, very disappointing. Avoid.

...But Garth has recently had something of a shock. He has discovered that he himself is the subject of numerous reviews, and has been alarmed to read some less than glowing comments about his petty and unfounded criticisms, his lack of knowledge of his subject matter and his misplaced and moronic verdicts...

Garth Vazio, Reviewer

Reviewed by Peter Shepherd

Stars 1 ½ Stars

I've been a keen follower of Garth's reviews for some time now. In an age when we all need a little help to decide what we really feel about stuff, Garth's pithy unsolicited views about everything and anything give us a welcome respite from the demanding business of having to form our own opinions. Additionally, the fact that he is overwhelmingly negative about everything is both comforting and reassuring.

However, I have noticed that some of Garth's recent reviews have lost their edge. Gone is the sharp wit and spikey commentary and instead we get the same familiar, plodding parade of regurgitated clichés. I'm sorry, but I'm afraid Mr Vazio just doesn't do it for me anymore. Disappointing, avoid.

...Garth currently has an average rating of 'Poor', the same score as a mini golf course in Norfolk.

 

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021

Buy from Amazon UK.

Buy from Amazon US.

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021


22 December 2020

The Yeovil Centre for Sharp Practice

 

The Yeovil Centre for Sharp Practice

That great industrialist Henry Ford once said that no one could ever hope to succeed in business without the right qualifications. In fact, he said no such thing, but falsely attributing made-up quotations to notable business leaders can help you to carve out a successful career path and is, incidentally, just one of the many courses we offer here at Yeovil.

It is most certainly the case that employers seek and reward skills, experience and accomplishment, and by exhibiting these qualities you can climb the corporate ladder. But getting to the top is a lengthy process and takes a great deal of hard work. Demonstrating that you have the aptitude and ability is the long way round - far better to have a certificate which says, quite clearly, in black and white, that you've got what it takes. Why spend years persuading your employer that you are reliable and capable when you could have a recognised qualification in Reliability and Capability that will fast-track you straight to the boardroom?

And that's where we can help.

Here at the Yeovil Centre for Sharp Practice, we offer a complete range of courses tailored to the requirements of today's budding managers, executives and high-performing deal-makers. Concerned that you don't have the academic aptitude to complete the course? There's no need to worry. If you're paying for a certificate, we don't expect you to have to earn it. As long as all fees have been settled, then a pass is guaranteed. If you do find that you're struggling, have a quiet word with one of our highly trained team of cashiers and we're sure we'll be able to sort something out.

These are just some of the most popular courses available for the current academic year.

Modules LM301-303

Levels 1-3 Infiltration and Entrenchment

This course shows you how to guarantee job security by becoming an irreplaceable member of the team. In Level 1, we teach you how to ensure that you are the only person with the passwords for social media accounts and essential corporate software. We also explore techniques to monopolise lines of communication between major suppliers, customers and other key contacts.

Level 2 deals with the development of complex systems and processes that only you will be able to understand, making it impossible for any other member of staff to effectively operate in these areas, and ensuring that all decisions and requests must be referred to you.

Level 3 takes you into the area of advanced blackmail techniques. We show you how you can obtain sensitive and embarrassing information about senior members of the company, and how best you can leverage this intelligence to advance your interests.

Module LQ105

Legal Compliance

All companies, large or small, have certain legal obligations that must be met. These are many, varied and often complex, and it is difficult for one individual to maintain a comprehensive understanding. However, the key to successfully manipulating a company's legal obligations is realising that you don't have to know everything - you only have to know, or appear to know, more than anybody else.

In this course you will learn to quote the names of a number of intimidating regulations and statutes, and bluff your way through their major implications without anyone suspecting that you haven't got a clue what you're talking about. Many graduates who successfully completed this course have gone on to land cushy jobs such as 'Equality Lead', 'Head of Environmental Compliance' and 'Wellbeing Officer' on the strength of misinterpreting and misrepresenting the requirements of various Acts of Parliament.

Module LQ130

Social Media and Digital Marketing

Social media has become a major factor in building corporate identity, and it offers a unique advancement opportunity for employees. We show you how to use your personal social media to wheedle your way into your boss's' good books by adopting the company branding, endorsing all its self-congratulatory posts and gushing unrelentingly about what a wonderful organisation it is to work for. You will learn how to post messages about 'how great it was to meet so-and-so' or 'how wonderful it was to attend such-and-such a meeting' without sounding like you're being sarcastic. By the end of this course you will understand exactly what it takes to give the impression that you are on message, and be able to effectively utilise your social media presence to brown-nose your way to the top.

Module L010

Effective Management

There are two schools of thought when it comes to management. The first is that it is necessary for a manager to be able to do the jobs of all the people they manage, or at least to have enough of an understanding to recognise the requirements and challenges. The second is that it isn't. We very much subscribe to this second line of thought.

Indeed, having no understanding of the work and responsibilities of employees being managed is key to our approach. We believe that the real skill of management lies in being able to allow other people to shoulder the burden when things are going well, and for those same people to take the blame when it goes wrong. In this course we show you how to ensure that you remain strictly hands-off, remaining visible and available when you aren't actually required, but able to recognise when the shit is about to hit the fan so that you can make yourself scarce when you need to.

Module L095

Basic Business Communication

If we were to say that this course will help you to modify your output expectations through the prism of a person-focussed approach to phased individualisation vectors, would you know what we meant? We guarantee that after completing this course, you still won't know what it means, but you will find it far less intimidating.

Becoming fluent in business speak is really about mastering the art of obfuscation. It's a sleight of hand technique where the quickness of the tongue deceives the mind of the listener. If you were to report that you had failed to meet your monthly targets, you are inevitably creating an unfavourable impression. However, if you were to report that a programme of systematic assessment had determined that due to an unforeseen combination of market, environmental and regulatory factors, the accomplishment threshold had been fixed at a level in excess of the maximum real-world achievement plateau, then everyone would be so glad by the time you reached the end of the sentence that they would completely fail to notice that you'd missed your targets again.

Module LG400

Advanced Embezzlement

Truly successful people know that day one in any job is just the first step that will ultimately take them to the upper reaches of senior management. Really truly successful people know that upper management is just the first step in squirreling away stolen cash for their retirement.

Once you get a say in how the company spends its money, you will finally get an opportunity to make sure some of it comes your way. This course covers all the basic techniques: kickbacks, handing out contracts to friends and families, and setting up phony companies and schemes. We'll also show you how to make sure you have a scapegoat in place, so that if things turn sour you can be sure that some other poor bastard ends up doing time while you're sailing round the Mediterranean in your shiny new yacht.

 

A satisfied customer writes:

 

"I am happy to admit that I am a know-nothing dipshit who can't even open a door without smacking myself in the face. And yet, here I am holding down a senior position with a highly successful company. I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing, but whatever it is I am paid a ridiculous amount of money to do it. None of this would have been possible were it not for a qualification from the Yeovil Centre for Sharp Practice. And the certificate looks really fancy, as well."

Horace Clump
Senior Head of Retrogressive Statistical Acquiescence
Frisbee Digitally Tracked Logistical Interface Solutions

 

Membership logo

The Yeovil Centre for Sharp Practice

683 Station Road
Yeovil
BA20 1SW

Dir. Dr A Bongo. All fees are non-refundable

 

 

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021

Buy from Amazon UK.

Buy from Amazon US.

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021


21 December 2020

An Open Letter to Shepton Bassett Park & Zoo

 

Barcode donkey

Mr Alan Plantagenet
Shepton Bassett Park & Zoo
Shepton Bassett

 

Dear Mr Plantagenet

Or should I call you Alan? Perhaps not, under the circumstances. The last time we spoke I recall that you were extremely red-faced and shouty, and your parting words to me were something along the lines of ripping my spleen out through my bumhole if you ever laid eyes on me again. Since this would likely be an unpleasant and messy experience for both of us, I have decided to write to you rather than approach you in person. This way I will be spared the discomfort and you will avoid the cleaning bill for your office carpet.

I expect that this letter may come as surprise to you, as you were most probably thinking that you would never hear from me again. After all, you were quite clear when you dismissed me from your employment last Tuesday that you no longer required my services as a junior zoo keeper at the Shepton Bassett Park and Zoo. In fact, you were extremely vocal about my lack of fitness for the role and my shortcomings as a human being in general. Many people may have been offended and upset by the personal remarks you made, but I would like to assure you that I am made of sterner stuff. Besides, you said nothing that I haven't heard before from previous employers, casual acquaintances and even members of my own family. However, I am now hopeful that you will have had time to calm down and review the circumstances in a more even-tempered frame of mind and so I am writing to you today to ask you to reconsider your decision.

Let me make one thing clear from the outset: I make no attempt to deny that mistakes were made. You will recall that I owned up to it straight away when I ran over that big stripy cat thing in the Land Rover. Also the armoured horse - the rhino? The rhino is the one with the horn, yes? Well, when I accidentally let it out of its enclosure and it rampaged through the gift shop, who was the first to tell you what had happened? My line manager? The emergency services? The relatives of the deceased? No, it was me - I came straight to your office to let you know what had transpired and that I was completely to blame. Didn't try to pin the guilt on someone else; didn't try to justify my error. I just came straight out and said I'd done a bad thing and that I was very sorry and that it would never happen again. And it wasn't just because it was my first day and I wanted to create a good impression - it was because I am a scrupulously honest person and I take my responsibilities very seriously.

That said, I do want to impress upon you that there are mitigating circumstances. I am not trying to make excuses but that fact is that the training I was given was hardly adequate. For example, when I was told to make sure the elephant had plenty of water, how was I to know that it was inadvisable to connect that hose thing on its face directly to the cold water tap? I mean, what else is it for? Any reasonable person would have done the same and I was astonished when I was told that this was the only recorded instance of an elephant drowning in captivity. You would have thought this sort of thing happened all the time.

And then there were the long-necked cows - those big tall spotty ones. All they told me was to feed them - nobody explained the correct procedure. How are you supposed to give something its dinner when it's got its head in the trees? It wouldn't have been so bad if they had provided me with a ladder. In the circumstances, I thought my solution of using a catapult to fire sausages up at them was quite novel. Ok, so one of them got blinded by an unexpected saveloy, but I can hardly be blamed if the dumb animal wasn't paying proper attention, now can I?

Now then - the stick insects. Well, the clue is in the name, isn't it? They look like sticks, they're named after sticks and, to even the most professional eye, they act like sticks. I was asked to clean out their tank and that's exactly what I did. This, I'm afraid, is nature at its most cruel - if an animal is going to disguise itself as what is essentially garden waste, then it's going to be treated as such and I can hardly be blamed for throwing your entire collection on a bonfire. You will recall that I did my very best to make amends as soon as my blunder was pointed to me and, if it's any consolation, the bag of Twiglets that I put in there to replace them was just as big a hit with visitors as the real thing.

Of course, I do appreciate that during my interview I may have given the impression that I was rather more experienced than is actually the case. That said, I would have thought you would have realised that this was an exaggeration - everyone lies in interviews, don't they? When I said that I had extensive experience working with animals what I actually meant was that I had done a week's work experience in a small pet shop in my local town centre. They mostly sold pet food, cat toys and other accessories, and these rarely gave me any trouble. A twelve kilo bag of premium dog biscuits requires very little exercise and has never been known to bite. The shop did sell animals as well - hamsters, goldfish and suchlike - but these really weren't in the same league as your lions, hippos and those black and white barcode donkeys that you have. Rounding up a herd of gerbils is nothing like as challenging as managing a flock of bison, and when they do stampede it's not nearly as scary. It may surprise you to learn that no one has ever been trampled to death by rodents. Not on my watch, in any case.

I want to conclude by pointing out that everyone makes mistakes. Even you, Mr Plantagenet, must surely make the odd slip-up now and then: going to the wrong meeting, forgetting to sign an important document, releasing a panther - that kind of thing. Granted, some people make mistakes that are more... I don't want to say 'catastrophic'... let's say more 'significant' than others. But it's all too easy to concentrate on the negatives and blind oneself to someone's more positive qualities. For example, in the three months that I worked for you, not a day went by when I didn't feed the red shiny tube creatures. Obviously, I now realise that the red shiny tube creatures were actually fire extinguishers, but let's not allow that to overshadow my dedication and diligence. I would also like to mention Tuesday 28th April - a red letter day indeed since this was the one day during my time at the zoo when none of the visitors died. I think that's worth celebrating, don't you. Perhaps it could be an annual event? And finally, I think it is only fair to note that by the time I left, you still had a third of the animals that you started out with. That's not a bad survival rate, now is it?

So Mr Plantagenet - Alan - if you could find it in your heart to reverse your decision, I would be really most grateful. I have some very fond memories of my time at the zoo and loved every minute - right from the morning I arrived and the hairy thing with the banana fixation flung its poo at me, right up to the moment when you chased me off the premises with a pitchfork. I really got to love the animals - those big chickens in the aviary, the funny things with the coat racks on their heads and even the scaly snappy thing that used to eat children. And you can be certain that there would be no repeat of those unfortunate incidents that dogged my time with you. I pride myself that I am someone who can learn from his mistakes and is guaranteed not to repeat them. No sir. Invite me back and I can assure you that all my mistakes will be new ones.

Armoured horse thing

 

Yours Sincerely

Simon Plunger

 

 

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021

Buy from Amazon UK.

Buy from Amazon US.

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021


08 December 2020

Topping Talent

Topping Talent

Providing some of the best entertainment acts currently on the circuit. Whether you're planning a variety gala, a corporate event or a community celebration, Topping Talent will have the right act for you.

Take a look at a few of our most popular performers.

The Brainiac Twins

The Brainiac Twins

Marjorie and Magdalene Brainiac will treat you to an evening of extraordinary mentalism. They regularly astonish audiences with their legendary mind-reading abilities, their psychic levitation techniques and their faultless displays of coordinated bigotry. In addition, Magdalene can fire thunderbolts out of her arse, a skill rarely mastered by someone of her young age.

"My wife and I were astounded by the Brainiac Twins' proficiency in the hypnotic arts. Following the performance my wife firmly believed herself to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. I should point out that she also thought she was the Archbishop of Canterbury before the show. What I'm trying to say is that this show is ideal for everybody, even the Archbishop of Canterbury. She loved it."

Major FP Featherstonehaugh

Major FP Featherstonehaugh

Major Featherstonehaugh, a veteran of countless military campaigns, presents an expert showcase of coordinated stabbing. You will be in awe of the Major's legendary swordsmanship as he demonstrates a wide range of chopping, slicing, swiping, hacking and stabbing techniques with the help of terrified members of the audience. It is testament to Major Featherstonehaugh's talent that he has never been given a bad review. Not by anyone who's still in one piece, anyway.

"I'd highly recommend this show to anyone who is interested in sharp pointy things. Just don't sit on the front row, that's all."

Garth Spanners and the Spanner Family

Garth Spanners

Quite possibly one of the finest ventriloquists in the business. The Spanner family are three life-sized and incredibly lifelike dolls that Garth brings to life using his remarkable voice-throwing skills. They sing! They dance! They recite the alphabet while Garth drinks a glass of water. It is a closely guarded secret how Garth manages to manipulate all three dolls at the same time - especially the middle one. Perhaps we'll never know? Perhaps we really don't want to?

"I was very fortunate to catch Garth's show last month. He does this routine where the dolls all revolve their heads 360 degrees while singing Rule Britannia. It's very funny, but it finishes with Garth spinning his own head round in a complete circle, which is a bit sickening, to be honest.

Mickey's Magic Mangle

Mickey's Mangle

Mickey's Magic Mangle is a kid's show like no other. Join Mickey on his magical journey through Mangleland and watch spellbound as his wonderful adventures unfold. Many people have made the mistake of assuming that Mickey is just some old bloke who stands on stage, looking bored and cranking an old mangle for an hour and a half, but seriously, your kids will love it.

"Brilliant. Dropped the kids of while we went and got a bite to eat. When we picked them up they were in a perfect stupor of boredom and were quiet for the next two weeks. It was bliss."

Mrs Tranmere's Rock 'n' Roll Organ Show

Mrs Tranmere

Would you be astonished to hear that Mrs Tranmere has never had an organ lesson in her life? Not if you'd heard her play, you wouldn't. She plays the hits like you've never heard them before - which is why people rarely recognise them. She has now become so infamous that audiences attend her shows purely to guess the tunes, with teams from all around the world competing to identify the melodies. Many have tried to emulate her style - by playing blindfold, wearing boxing gloves or smashing the keys randomly with a hammer - but few have come close.

"As a professional tune-spotter I have been attending Mrs Tranmere's recitals for many years and even after all this time she can still surprise me. Just last week her honky-tonk version of Bridge Over Troubled Water was a revelation, and I would defy anyone to successfully identify which of those cacophonous melees of random chords was supposed to be Sympathy for the Devil.

The Great Escapo

The Great Escapo

The Great Escapo is an escapologist with a difference. Whereas some escape artists demonstrate the art of escaping from chains, padlocks and handcuffs, the Great Escapo has mastered the much more difficult discipline of escaping from contracts and service agreements. Gasp in wonder as he cancels his broadband contract at a moment's notice, reel in shock as he frees himself of his cable agreement without having to have a long-winded conversation with a call centre worker. How does he do it? When, for an encore, you see him deftly terminate an Amazon Prime contract, you'll swear that it's witchcraft.

"I've been trying to end a boiler maintenance contract for years - ever since the boiler blew up, in fact. I've been getting nowhere and I was on the verge of giving up, but after witnessing the Great Escapo I am filled with a fresh sense of determination. It can be done! I'm going to go home now, phone up the service centre and then, after waiting for eight hours to get through to someone, I'm going to damn well give them a piece of my mind."

The Barker Family

The Barker Family

Three generations of Barkers make up this unique and enchanting act. Mr Barker juggles live toads whilst Mrs Barker demonstrates the key elements of successful bicycle repair. Meanwhile Old Ma Barker attempts to raise the dead, with the talented Baby Barker sitting at her feet, playing the trombone. If that doesn't grab you, then you'll be pleased to know that it usually ends in a fight, with three of the Barkers hospitalised and the remaining member of the family emerging as the blood-soaked but triumphant victor. The smart money is usually on the baby.

"An extremely varied act with something for everybody. I personally enjoyed the trombone, and can only lament the fact that young Baby Barker does not have a sibling who can join him on the tuba."

The Marvellous Undersea Kingdom of Colin Chocolate

Colin Chocolate

Join professional diver and underwater photographer Colin Chocolate for a fascinating four hour lecture on the flora and fauna of the world below the waves. Colin talks at great length about the weird and wonderful creatures that he has encountered during his damp adventures, accompanied by an extensive slide show. Be warned that, for the sake of authenticity, Colin performs his talk wearing a full deep sea diving suit, complete with helmet, so it is unlikely that you will be able to make out much of what he's saying. You might want to take a book.

"I sat through a talk that seemed to go on for days, in which all I could hear was some indistinct mumbling, and all I could see was a series of blurred pictures of things that may or may not have been marine life, some of which appeared to have been taken at the fresh fish counter in my local supermarket. Still, it was either this or going to see Les Mis again, so I think I got off lightly."

Emmeline 'The Thrasher' Wilson

The Thrasher

Ten year-old Emmeline may not look much, but she's got a vicious right hook and she knows when to put the boot in without the ref seeing. Fresh from her prize-winning pummelling of Janice 'Slasher' Pickering, Emmeline is touring the country giving a series of exhibition performances. You will also get the chance to step into the ring and take on The Thrasher yourself, although the management make it clear that they will in no way be responsible for any subsequent medical costs.

"I remember thinking that she doesn't look like much, so she shouldn't present too much of a problem. That was just before I ducked under the ropes. The next thing I knew, I was sailing backwards in a horizontal position over the heads of the crowd, coming to rest in a crumpled heap next to the fire exit. It was a painful and humiliating experience. I'm going back next Tuesday."

The Blaupunkt Sisters

The Blaupunkt Sisters

The Blaupunkt Sisters died over fifty years ago, but that hasn't stopped them touring. State of the art hologram techniques have meant that many of our best loved acts are still wowing audiences around the world, and the Blaupunkt Sisters are no exception. In this case, budgetary restrictions have meant that the technology involved is rather more rudimentary, but it is nevertheless remarkable what can be achieved with such an ingenious system of ropes and pulleys.

"I first saw the Blaupunkt Sisters in 1952. I saw them again last year and I have to say that they are as good now as they ever were. Being dead certainly hasn't slowed them down, although Mary Blaupunkt did spend most of the second half drooping at an awkward angle after one of her ropes snapped."

 

 

Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021

Buy from Amazon UK.

Buy from Amazon US.

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021


Blog Index

Archive 1

February 2001
- July 2003

Whip-it-Round Parcel Delivery Services

"I'd feel exactly the same way in your situation..."

The Domesday Clipboard

"The original clipboard was used to compile the Domesday Book..."


Operation Mutton

"Eugene Rumbold and his camouflaged sheep..."

Ken's News and Fags

"The last independently-owned shop in the UK..."

more...

 

 

Navy Seeks Refund for Submarine

"The Royal Navy are sending their latest submarine back to the shipyard..."


Evening Classes

"Get a certificate in a made up courses..."

Your Staff Feedback

"Everybody thinks you're fantastic..."

Clown Hitman

"Clown Hitman Behind Bars..."

more...

Linguiniphone

Learn to speak fluent Pasta.

Archeologists Dig Up Roman Hole

Discovery follows six month dig.

Slugbond

Because an inflated slug is a happy slug

Unconventional Weapons

Was itching powder used in Vietnam?

Vapid

Procrastination software for business

Quickfire Questions

We quiz a famous celebrity

  Did Dinosaurs Wear Trousers?

Prehistoric pants

Gin

Gin! Gin! Gin!

Dark Batter

Wendy Miller's new theory

New Improved Bullshit

I wouldn't settle for anything less

More...
Animals
Professional Scarer
Arty Tomatoes
more
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

Pigmongering

Empire of the Flowers

Scumm

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
Extreme DinosaursTeaching Carrots to FlyStandard British NunsExtreme Dinosaurs
Instagram   Facebook   Twitter

Site Map

site map

WWW UBO
The Bleeding Obvious Prime Time Gameshow Generator



The University
of the Bleeding Obvious

All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2021, 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.


Contact:
.

Private Bits

Private Bits

This 70-page PDF is packed full of silly stuff you won't find anywhere else.

Download here for just £1.

The UBO Annual 2021

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021

Order via Amazon UK

Order via Amazon US

Stupid Stories

Stupid Stories

Order via Amazon UK

Order via Amazon US

The UBO Annual 2020

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020

Order via Amazon UK

Order via Amazon US

The UBO Annual 2018

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2018

Order via Amazon UK

Order via Amazon US

The UBO Annual 2017

The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2017

Order via Amazon UK

Order via Amazon US