Monday, 25 November 2013

New old news

Even before we suspected anything was wrong, Dad was one of those people with an offbeat sense of humour and liked to look at things from skewed directions. He was also well known for being easily distracted and for getting his sentences tangled up.

When we finally noticed he was becoming even more vague than usual, we suspected Alzheimer's disease. The real cause, a massively aggressive brain tumour, floored us all.

As a tribute to my late father, I want to dedicate this week to him with three Gems (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Silly and yet sharp, he's still missed, and always will be.

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My dad is the reason I'm a big fan of surreal humour. The Goons, Monty Python - even The Young Ones - all came to me via my father. It may have surprised some people, knowing him as a sober-looking besuited man with a very well-maintained beard, that he would have such a liking for these things. However, 'silly and surreal' was a very good way for him to let his hair down. One of our favourite things was to hold a conversation about nothing at all, with each sentence being replied with something that took the chat in another new direction.
"So, what do you think?"
"Orange. Definitely orange."
"Not square, then?"
"It's a close call, but square is very Marmite."
"True, true. The brakes make too much noise as it is."
See what I mean? Absolutely bizarre. This is why he and Julie would get on so well. In fact, they would take this conversational art and take it to new, utterly baffling (yet logical) extremes.

A few years ago, a new newspaper was launched in the UK.


Nice and cheap, the i is a news digest, meaning that all the stories are pared down to the minimum. In other words, no rambling articles where the same thing is repeated ad nauseum. As an added - or removed, possibly - bonus, there is very little in the way of celebrity crap. Even better, being a sister publication to The Independent, it is resolutely liberal and fairly open-minded. Unlike the 'newspaper' below...

Yes, it's a fake. Yes, that's me.
Originally, this newspaper was only published Monday-Friday. It was less than a year, though, that a Saturday edition was introduced for the stratospheric cost of 30p. Before that point, though, my dad and I had a conversation...


It took me far long than it should have done to work that out.