Title: Peeps at Syria
Original Record Date: October 18, 2015
Soundcloud Publication Date: November 25, 2015
Youtube Publication Date: November 25, 2015
Please Welcome a Man
Who might vomit during this podcast. Genuinely might, so keep – if you’re listening on audio, go to the video to watch this. Could be worth it.
I was in that cereal café in Hoxton.
Guest Best Known
As the Narrator of the Dave programme 24 Hours to Go Broke.
Better or Worse than Last Week: N/A
Like or Unlike Wikipedia: N/A
Member Member Note Unnamed shown on RH’s hand-held camera in the front row bearded though beards are now cool, this audience member is still not cool, according to RH
Do you ever get confused with *another person with the same name as guest*.
This is very much the second act of my life. My favourite [of the other JF’s books] is the series of travel guides for children he wrote called Peeps at Many Lands. There’s the title first, so there’s the author first, so it’s John Finnemore Peeps at Many Lands. And in each one it’s called John Finnemore Peeps at Israel. Oh, there it is! And of course what it actually means is John Finnemore is cheerfully and flamboyantly racist about his travels. Because it’s 1880, why not? Or 1910, or something. No, there’s no connection that I know of. I found out about him because my girlfriend at the time gave me a first edition of one of his books and there’s a lovely – one of the school story ones, actually – and it’s one of those lovely ones where, you know, a chap in cricket whites catching a ball on the front that you see in pubs these days, and so I was really tickled with it and loved it. And then when I started to do this as a career, the egotistical part of me, which is quite a lot of me got really pissed off because it means, for instance, on Wikipedia I have to be John Finnemore (writer), and the other guys gets to be John Finnemore (author). I want to be the author! Or I just want to be John Finnemore. There is only one.
Why do elephants have such low rates of cancer?
Well, I’m often asked this. I didn’t know they did. But then again, I obviously knew that dogs and cats get cancer. Do most animals get cancer? *RH advises that the naked mole rat rarely gets cancer.* Does it not? *RH supposes this is because they die quite quickly.* Of embarrassment. Oh God, I’m naked. I’m not jut a mole rat but I’m naked. It’s like every bad dream I’ve ever had. *RH mentions other, clothed mole rats.* In their little three-piece suits. *Mimes monocle.* “Oh dear. Whatever’s happened to you, Terrance?”
Would you consider sex with a ghost as cheating on your partner?
Yes, I think the clue is in the term “having sex with”. I think if you – so obviously I can see what the two questions must have been. If you accept that you can have sex with something, then by doing it you are cheating on the person with whom you promised only to have sex with that person. *RH states he only agreed to have sex with his wife as far as humans go, not other objects.* It’s one of those things that don’t really need to be put into the contract. It’s one of those there’s nowhere here does it say a dog can’t play basketball thing. I just… You know, the test is explaining that act to your wife and seeing if she goes, “Fair enough, I should have put it in the small print.” *RH states that it’s not cheating for the ghost because until death us do part.* Fair enough, I’ll accept that.
Have you ever seen a ghost?
Well. Since you ask me for a ghost story. Sorry, that’s the closest thing I have to a catchphrase. I don’t think I have because I don’t believe in ghosts. However, I have had the experience that people who say they’ve seen ghosts had what is presumably some waking dream. Yes, I saw an old Caribbean woman with a child in her arms one morning. *RH asks if it was just an old Caribbean woman.* There is that possibility. I was on a cycling holiday in Cuba, so I was in the Caribbean. So this leads… I was in my hotel room and I woke up and felt completely awake. And I saw this – so she was… There were two single beds in the room and she was kind of between the two single beds sitting down, rocking slightly, holding her baby. And I wasn’t scared and I just didn’t understand what I was seeing. And I watched it for, I think, about four or five minutes. And then I got up and wrote it down just so, you know, I had some sort of memory of it. And then I kept a careful check on whether I was going to wake up, you know, whether I was going to go through that waking up. And I, as far as I remember, I didn’t. But I think that’s what people who see ghosts must have, some sort of hallucination.
Where do you get your crazy ideas from?
I mean firstly, as you were hinting earlier, my ideas aren’t that crazy. You know, how do I come up with my dull, pedestrian ideas about sketches in shops. Well… No, I – mostly the answer is I mostly just by that being the job and sitting down with a notebooks, on trains often, and trying to come up with ideas very rarely. I can, I mean, I was in a pub garden. is this serious, ’cause I can… No, this is interesting ’cause this is like a three-legged dog that gave me two different sketches. I was in a pub garden trying to think of ideas and three-legged dog runs passed, sat at the bottom of a tree, and sort of quivering with excitement because there was a pigeon on top of a tree, and he was sort of quivering, looking up at – And it just seemed to me he was saying, “If only I had my other leg, I would get you.” So that struck me as funny and so I wrote that down. And then nothing came of it. Because that’s a funny thing to have noticed and maybe if I was a stand up or wrote for a stand up I could have made something out of that but there’s no real way of putting that into a sketch. I’m going to condense this down but basically what was funny about it was sort of the unknowingness… And anyway eventually it came to: one page turned into a sketch about Quasimodo and how Victor Hugo, sort of coming back to the cathedral and he’s like, “Quasimodo, I’ve written a book about you!” “Oh, I’m so honoured!” “I’ve taken all those tales and I’ve written them up.” “Oh, this is wonderful!” “And I’ve given you a first edition as a gift of my new book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” “You called it what‽” And then the other one became a sketch about a dog waking up at the vet’s and going, Oh God, I’m here again. This awful place. Oh God, last time they – last time they took my… no, no, it’s fine. […] It was about a dog who’s had one leg amputated for very good, medical reasons because his owner loves him and is paying a lot of money for it. How he’d feel when he woke up and *shifts to the side*, “Oh what‽” That’s where I get my crazy ideas from; three-legged dogs.
Have you ever put your genitals in the mouth of a dead animal?
I have not had that honour, no.
Have you ever put your genitals in the mouth of a live animal?
No. No, sorry. I mean, maybe you’re right about me being very bad in bed. Very unadventurous, but no.
Sport is intrinsically stupid. Discuss.
There’s not much to discuss, is there? It just is. Yeah. It is intrinsically stupid. I mean, it appears to be that rugby is still happening? The rugby’s been going on all year. For years. I can’t remember a time before the rugby. It’s just always been rugby now. We live in a time of rugby. I mean, no, it’s not intrinsically stupid but I don’t understand why it’s one of the most important things. I don’t understand why it’s, like, the back page of every paper and whole channels and that. It’s a game. I love games but you don’t get – yeah, why isn’t Scrabble there? *RH suggests Scrabble be televised.* The thing is, I wouldn’t watch it if it was. No, I don’t really get sport.
If you had to go on a week’s holiday with one of the puppets from Spitting Image, which would you choose and bear in mind the puppet would choose the holiday destination?
Oh yes, of course. You’re right to say “remember that”. I’ve always known the rule but I’d forgotten. That sounds like a dream holiday, certainly. And when you say they make the decision, who? The impressionist or the the puppet? Alright because I’m basically taking a very joyless attitude towards this; I’m going to try and get the nicest holiday I can out of it. Because there’s nothing that appeals to me about going on holiday with two people who won’t talk to me and a rubber puppet that will. But if I can pick the one who will take me to St. Lucia, then that, that’s I think the way to profit from this situation. Michael Winter – I’d be happy with Michael Winter. Princess Diana, maybe. Um, who did those voices? Well I don’t get to spend any time with them anyway. Alan Whicker. I’ll go with Alan Whicker. Yeah, hopefully we’ll go on a whole tour of lovely places. Was there an Alan Whicker? There must have been?
RH is extremely hung-over after having attended Steve Coogan’s 50th birthday party the night before.
Kickstarter: Rob Forth wrote to say that he was the audience member who commented on the origins of the world “sterling” in episode 86. Writing to correct his comment.
Kickstarter: Stef says, “I was once so ill on ouzo that I projectile vomited into a woman’s handbag that was six feet away. It was on its side and I was on the floor. It looked like calzone. I can no longer drink or smell any anise-based drink without wanting to spew my ring. I worked in a nightclub in the 90’s and the sambuca craze nearly killed me. Do you have drink, food, or thing that makes you want to be violently ill when it or something similar is in your vicinity?”