“Real Artists Ship”

Colin Johnson’s blog

Archive for the ‘Funnies’ Category

Variations on Folk Sayings (17)

Friday, March 10th, 2017

“Wouldn’t take ‘fuck off’ as an answer.”

Vagueness (1)

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Love it that this bookshop in Margate manages to divide books into three categories: “General Interest”, “Extra Stock” and “Whatever” (there are some other shelves with more specific categories).

General Interest

Extra Stock


Thinking about bookshops and their categorisation schemes reminds me of a bookshop from years ago on Queen’s Road in Brighton, just down from the station, which had, in addition to books on the shelves, large piles of books in the middle of the floor as if dumped there by a dumper truck. At the back of the shop, there was a shelf of pornographic books; in place of the usual bookseller euphemism of “Erotica” as a header for the section, this shop had plumped for the rather more direct word “Filth”.

Amazingly I have just found a picture of that very shop, and an article from The Argus about its closure (well, abandonment) in 2002; the wonders of the interweb, eh?

Ironic (1)

Monday, January 16th, 2017

"For years now, I've been doing the same presentation on change for

(actually from quite an interesting article: Lessons from the A47 and the University Bubble).

Feedback (1)

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Bought the an album called Sex from Amazon a few days ago (by the excellent jazz trio The Necks). Inevitably, this caused the following request for feedback to appear in my inbox a few days later:

"Colin, did 'Sex' meet your expectations? Review it on  amazon.co.uk

Followed, inevitably, by the following when I next went onto the Amazon website:

You purchased: Sex (Used)

Doppleganger (1)

Friday, September 9th, 2016

On this week’s Only Connect, there was a beardy chap with glasses who described himself as “having a maths degree and playing the bassoon and cello” who was on a team defined by their liking for Indian food. I had to check for a moment that I hadn’t accidentally appeared on the programme and forgotten all about it.

Joke (11)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Went into the cleaning-products section of Waitrose t’other day—came back with a bottle of Toilet Swan.

Hypnopompic Jokes Redux (2)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Another joke that was hilarious in the odd moments between sleep and wakefulness, yet which seems rather less so in the cold light of day: “I’m going to enter myself into the election under the name Snooze Button, to catch those voters who have only just got up.”.

Cringe (1)

Monday, June 13th, 2016

There is a minor genre of entertainment (see e.g. the Cringe nights and associated book, and the Radio 4 programme My Teenage Diary), which consist of people reading out excerpts from teenage diaries, poems, etc. Here is my contribution, albeit from a slightly earlier age. These are two poems that I found whilst looking through some old folders whilst clearing out my parents’s house. They were clearly considered good enough, back in 1981 or whenever, for me to have been asked to copy them out of my schoolbook in my “best writing” (still pretty crap, though interesting to see traces of the “Marion Richardson” style of penmanship such as the lower-case k with a loop in it), and been displayed on the classroom wall.

The first is a nice poem about Spring. It rhymes well, but the scansion could be improved:


In spring the plants come shooting up.
Easter eggs don’t go in egg cups.

In spring we get and extra hour of day.
So now we can all shout “Hooray”.

In spring the baby lambs are born,
And we can begin to plant the corn.

Very bucolic. The next is more exotic, to the point of borderline racism. I particularly like the illuminated capitals.


On treasure island, with lots of palm trees.
There is a treasure chest that has no keys
The treasure was buried by pirates of old.
Pirates who were brave, strong and bold

On treasure island with tall mountains
There are lots of pleasant fountains
The island surrounded by water so cold.
The treasure is made up of diamonds and gold

On treasure island there are no animals;
But there are a lot of cannibals
The island defended by natives with spears
The treasure dates back by thousands of years

One treasure island in the sun
The treasure has not yet been one
There is a volcano with red hot lava
And a river we called the garva.

Good to see a decent attempt to use semicolons. I think “garva” in the last line is an attempt to write “Java”, though it might just about have been a sod-it attempt to find something to rhyme with “lava”. There is probably also some influence from the Griffin Pirate Stories (Roderick the Red, etc.), which I remember reading voraciously at around that time.

The Rule of Three (1)

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Okay, so we sell pizza, we sell pasta. That’s fine, but it doesn’t quite sound like enough. What other foodstuff beginning with “p” can we sell?

"Pizzas, Pastas and Pakoras"

“nothing more than…”

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Excellent Daily Mail comment!

"What science has Hawking ever done? He's nothing more than a very good mathematician."

Scotland (1)

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Breaking news: new Scottish government announces minor changes to the Scotland-England border.


Family Stories (2)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

There was a little shop in the town where I grew up which sold local souvenirs etc., and often had pictures of the locality in the window. One day I was looking in the window of this shop with my mother, and there was a painting of the street where we lived.

Mum: “It’s Mr. Zoff.”
Me: “Who’s Mr. Zoff?”
Mum: “No—they’ve missed us off. Our house isn’t in the picture.”

From that day, any unknown artist was referred to in our family as “the famous Polish artist, Mr . Zoff”.

I am the only person alive who remembers this.

Sht London

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Found on my credit card bill:


“Somerset House Trust”, of course!

The Diversity of my Interests (2)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

What Alibaba thinks I should be buying for my business:

gift box, kangertech, marble iPhone 6 case, mobile phone, plastic bag, brazilian hair, overboard, stretcher, bondage kit

The Diversity of My Interests (1)

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

What TripAdvisor thinks I should be interested in; an interesting combination:

Berghain, Berlin; Abbey Farm Bed and Breakfast, Hinckley


Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

If an antipodean eats avocados on toast in the afternoon, is that arvo toast?

Bourgeois Yuppie Quinoa

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

One of the linguistic tics that has remained with me, as someone from a basically working-class background is the addition of a self-deprecating adjective like “poncey” or “yuppie” to anything vaguely middle class. Despite having lived a basically middle-class lifestyle since going off to university as a teenager, I still feel the need to describe anything containing quinoa as “my poncey salad” and similar remarks.

I think this started at university. A colleague started referring to filter coffee as “bourgeois coffee” and the name has stuck, at least in the back of my mind, ever since. Similarly, another light-hearted fellow student’s description of the mineral-water-with-lemon that I used to get sometimes from the local shop as “your yuppie water” remains to this day. There is still, in the back of my mind, the idea that Real Men drink instant coffee and tap water, and that fripperies like cafetieres are odd inconsistencies.

I think this a reliable tell for people who have moved from a broadly working-class background to a middle-class one.

Joke (10)

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Had an appointment at the dentist at three o’clock this afternoon. Met a Chinese bloke on the way out, who said he was just coming out of his appointment forty years and half an hour ago.


Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

My mother used to knit faster when she was getting to the end of the ball of wool, in the belief that if she went quick enough she would reach the end of the current row before the ball ran out. I have an isomorphic delusion when it comes to typing—if I want to get a certain sentence on the current line without wrapping, I will type quicker, hoping to reach the end of the line before the computer decides to put a line break in.

As Any Fule No…

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

People have been telling me that I should know “what any fule no” for a while. Now, at last, I have the opportunity to find out:

"a lecture by Stephen Fule..."