Wednesday, 30 July 2008


The other week - before the big break - the weather was so unseasonably nice that we took a small break and made the trip to one of my Favourite Places --- Crystal Palace Park.

Of course, there isn't actually a crystal palace there any more and hasn't been for the past 62 years but the name - like a dream - lingers on...

The famous cast-iron and glass building was designed by Joseph Paxton to house the 1851 Great Exhibition. This Temple to the Gods of the Industrial Revolution was 1,850 feet long (Joe definitely missed a trick there: one more foot and it would have been an appropriate 1,851 feet), had an interior height of 108 feet and covered 990,000 square feet of exhibition space displaying the best examples of arts, crafts and technology from ever corner of Victoria Regina's boundless Empire.

In 1854, the Crystal Palace was relocated to Sydenham Hill (where it stood until it was destroyed by fire in 1936) and the grounds surrounding the great building were opened as a public park with ornamental gardens and a series of man-made lakes in and around which dinosaurs were encouraged to frolic!

Not real dinosaurs, since they were by then somewhat extinct, but accurate recreations (or so it was thought at the time) of prehistoric reptiles and mammals sculpted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins with guidance from the eminent palaeontologist, Sir Richard Owen.

Hawkins set up a studio in the Crystal Palace grounds in which to create his giant sculptures...

To begin with the plan was for a series of early mammals such as giant sloths, tapir-type animals and the magnificent Irish Elk...

Then project was extended to cover examples of the great reptiles.

Fifteen species were exhibited (others were planned but never made) and the resulting Dinosaur Court, as it was known, were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world.

Prior to the opening of the exhibit, Hawkins used one of his two iguanodon sculptures as the venue for a private dinner party on New Year’s Eve 1853, to which prominent naturalists of the day were invited (right).

The iguanodon sculpture was located beneath a striped marque with part of its back removed (the operation scar is still visible to this day!) in order to create a space within which a dinner table could be set up complete with all the requisite china, silver and candles demanded by Victorian good taste.

When it was first opened, what a stir the Dinosaur Court must have caused for Victorians whose Christian beliefs were being assailed by the new religion of Evolution! One can imagine them strolling with their top hats and parasols and gazing in total awe - probably disbelief - at these inconceivable beings from the mists of time.

As a child in the '50s, I found the place totally entrancing, even though there weren't any Stegosauruses or Tyrannosaurus Rexes - on account of the fact that they hadn't yet been discovered when Messrs Hawkins and Owen created their monstrous theme park.

Every school summer holiday, my Mum would make up a picnic lunch, we'd hop on a 227 bus, go to Crystal Palace and spend the day in the park before going on to my Nan and Granddad, who, lived nearby, for tea. I drew pictures of the dinosaurs and, a few years later, took some of my first photos (not the ones exhibited here) with my newly acquired Kodak Instamatic.

Along with the bony occupants of the Natural History Museum, the dinosaurs of Crystal Palace fired my youthful fascination with prehistoric life to the extent that I created my own model park in a soup tureen filled with earth from the garden and decorated with stones, small plants and half a dozen plastic dinosaurs that collected from packets of Shreddies breakfast cereal...

The chief failing of my replica was revealed when I attempted to create a lake in which to put the figure of the pleisosaurus. Every time I filled the lake the water disappeared until all the denizens and the vegetation sunk in primordial ooze!

The original lake has, fortunately proved rather more enduring...

Over the years, I came to learn that many of the sculptures were anatomically inaccurate: one creature appears only as a head emerging from the water (left), because all Hawkins had to go on was a fossilized skull. But I never lost my affection for the great beasts - even when they were re-painted for the umpteenth time in the most unsuitably garish colours.

Now, however, the dinosaurs of South London have been superbly restored: the several dozen layers of corroded paint have been removed and the great beasts live once more. True, they may prove something of a disappointment to kids brought up on the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, but for me they are as dynamic and wondrous as when I entered their realm as a seven-year-old...

For a contemporary reaction to the Crystal Palace dinosaurs, check out a recent posting on button's blog...

Images: Dinosaurs today by Brain Sibley © 2008

Monday, 28 July 2008


Writing about 'Seyler Disease' the other day put me in mind of a conversation I had some years ago when I was working with the legendary black diva, Elisabeth Welch.

The star who in a sixty year career introduced theatre audiences on both sides of the Atlantic to many enduring songs including 'Charleston' (which launched the dance craze), 'Love for Sale' and 'Stormy Weather'.

John Gielgud once said of her: "You could hear a pin drop while she sang but when she finished, the thunder of applause could be heard in the street."

Towards the end of her life, Miss Welch appeared in a revue which I compiled for the BBC, entitled Hit the Heights, and I had the privilege of looking after her during rehearsals. This enabled me to have several long chats with an actress who had performed with and for the best.

She told me how, some years after her great triumphs in shows like Blackbirds, The New Yorkers, Nymph Errant, Glamorous Night, Tuppence Coloured, Oranges and Lemons and Penny Plain, she was asked by a director - who ought to have known better - to audition!

As she walked on stage, a voice from the darkened auditorium called out: "Miss Welsh?"

First mistake!

His second mistake was to ask: "What are you going to sing for us?"

With great dignity and an appropriate lack of modesty, Elisabeth Welch delivered one of the great put-downs of the theatre.

"Well," she replied, "perhaps, you'd like to hear the first number Cole Porter wrote for me!"


And here is the immortal Miss Welch as 'A Goddess' in Derek Jarman's 1979 high-camp film version of Shakespeare's The Tempest, singing - appropriately - the song that became her theme tune...

Saturday, 26 July 2008


Yes! It's another tin of mints from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild...

The decoration is based on the various paintings of Adam and Eve succumbing to the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden, as depicted by the 16th century painter, Lucas Cranach the Elder.

The most remarkable thing about Cranach's paintings involving nudes is the extraordinarily convenient way in which foliage grew at the time: puting forth leaf and bud at just the right moment and in just the right position to prevent unnecessary embarrassment...

A recent exhibition of Cranach's paintings at London's Royal Academy caused a bit a furore on the tubes when Transport for London took exception to a poster based on Cranach's Venus: a foxy lass 'dressed' in a piece of whispy gauze (I was reminded of Pete and Dud's famous conversation in the art gallery) and a string of pearls...

A TFL spokesperson said: "Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there. We have to take account of the full range of travellers and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display."

That's pretty astonishing when you think about it: a 500 year old woman managing to shock and offend our liberal 21st century !

London Underground advertising is currently vetted by a firm called CBS Outdoor and the hapless Venus fell foul of the guideline that advertising should not "depict men, women or children in a sexual manner, or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overtly sexual context".


So what's this chap doing, hanging around Bond Street Station?

Obviously - if the warning sign is to be believed - he's a slippery customer...

Images: Cranach exhibition pictures from Daylife; Dolce-and-Gabbana-man by Brian Sibley.

Thursday, 24 July 2008


Tomorrow evening (Friday 25) BBC Radio 2 begins a repeat broadcast of IAN RICHARDSON's moving reading my book, Shadowlands, telling the story of the late-flowering romance between writer and Oxford academic, C S ('Jack') Lewis - famously the creator of the Land of Narnia - and Joy Davidman, an American, Jewish, former-Communist, divorcée, poet who had converted to Christianity as a result of Lewis' apologetics.

I do hope that mentioning this again on my blog doesn't sound too much like blowing my own trumpet, but actually I'm really wanting to blow Ian Richardson's trumpet...

This little book of mine has gone through many interpretations - including recordings by Joss Ackland, David Suchet and myself (on a Talking Book for the Blind) - but none of them have quite caught the essence of the story in the way in which Ian's reading does. It is full of passion and compassion, strength and gentleness, joy and sorrow...

It would have been, I think, an infinitely poignant performance even if the reader had not died just a few weeks after completing the recording. I am so proud that this was one of the last performances by a truly great actor.

SHARON MAIL, who has recently completed work on a commemorative volume about the life and career of Ian Richardson (and who, under a soubriquet, is a regular commenter on this blog) writes:

Ian Richardson was the complete actor. On screen he could convey so much by the raising of an eyebrow, on stage he had a wonderful, inventive physical presence. But what will be remembered most is his glorious voice.

When I interviewed actor Alex Jennings, he recalled the last time he saw Ian, shortly before he died, at a Carol Concert for the charity Cancer UK, which Alex supports. He had asked Ian to open the event by reading the lesson and recalled, "My partner said that it was like there was suddenly a Rolls Royce driving down the centre aisles of St Paul’s Cathedral and it was the voice of God."

How fitting it was then, that Ian’s final performances were readings of The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki; Accolades, Christopher William Hill's radio play about A L Rowse; and Brian’s beautiful radio adaptation of his work, Shadowlands.

Listening to Ian's performance of Shadowlands requires great concentration, because every syllable is given due attention and the words and phrases lovingly caressed in such a way that it is hard not to get lost in wonderment at the delivery. And yet, when he speaks his words, we feel Jack’s joy and his pain, his sense of love and of loss and when he reads extracts from 'The Chronicles of Narnia', we are in Narnia too.

The eight episodes of Shadowlands run across a nine week period with a one-week break on Friday 29 August (because it's Blackpool Lights Night and, as a result, there's no room for shadows!) and can be heard from 21:15-21:30 pm.

You can catch each episode again for seven days after transmission on the BBC's iplayer.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


Here are some more tempting tins of minty mischievousness...

Firstly, a useful aid to theatre-going - especially if it's the uncut version of Hamlet...

And for anyone - like Hamlet - grappling with an Oedipus-Complex, here's a handy aid - whether you are a Freud or a Freudee...

And for those intimate momints that may well get discussed 'on the couch'...

Why buy a packet of Polos (itself a sweet with Freudian undertones) when you could hand round a tin of these?

So, where to acquire them, you ask? The answer: from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild where you will also find many more witty and irresistibly silly items such as magnetic finger-puppets of famous philosophers, writers and scientists not to mention Pavlov's Dog and Schrödinger's Cat - the former with a bell that doesn't ring and a total absence of drool, the latter clearly both dead and alive...*

You can visit The Unemployed Philosophers Guild in complete confidence knowing that, as the disclaimer proclaims: No philosophers or artists were harmed in anyway in the making of this website.

* Here's some useful background information for those needing a reminder about Pavlov's Dog and Schrödinger's Cat and what they got up to.

Sunday, 20 July 2008


Reflecting on that recent birthday...

One of the anxieties about getting older is an increasingly tendency to suffer from 'Seyler's Disease': a condition which occurs when you are so old that no one in the business in which you notionally work - for me, writing and broadcasting - any longer knows who you are.

In my case it's so bad that I frequently dream that I am, in fact, dead but that no one's got around to burying me yet!

I've named this curious state of affairs (or stage of life) after ATHENE SEYLER, CBE, veteran actress of numerous plays, films and TV appearances and sometime President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

It is said that Miss Seyler (right) once arrived at the BBC for an interview and was collected from reception by a young secretary who was clearly unaware of the extent of the actress' career.

"So, Miss Seyler," she said, making conversation in the lift, "what else have you done?"

Athene Seyler looked at the child and replied in a vaguely puzzled tone: "Do you mean this morning?"

Friday, 18 July 2008


There was another bum-per crop of entries to the recent...


This, you will recall, was the picture which I invited you to caption...

...and plenty of you not only had the balls to enter the competition but presented offerings involving... er... balls!

I invited JENNIFER MILLER, a regular Sibley-Blog-reader-and-commenter to take on the role of Umpire and to judge the entries. Here are Jen's judicious adjudications...


Irascible Ian

John had his own special way of asking
the umpire for 'New Balls'.


Boll Weavil

"Very effective but if it's going out on BBC1, could you just
keep your spare balls in your hand as is customary"


A contestant puts Wimbledon's new High Visibility Balls
recommendations into practice...



"I'm particularly adept at the forehand stroke."



"Sorry about this folks; someone told me that
Brian Sibley was in the audience..."

David Weeks

"Ah right, it's a headband!"
(Thinks) "Funny kind of headband
with a built-in nose warmer!"

The Duchess
(submitted on Her Grace's behalf by Gill)

"I am sure elastic was stronger in my Grandmamma's day!"



"Are your buns as impressive as these, Rafa?"

The Editor's (My)

Good Dog

High-jinks at the Lawn Tennis Club bar prove
it's not just
the Scottish players who are tight arses.


"Oh, OUT you said... Sorry I misheard."

"Does this fit in with the Wimbledon dress code?"

When rain thtopped play at Wimbledon nobody
wath thurprithed when Cliff Richard glanthed down
at the court and then thaid he wath going for a thong.
(Irascible Ian)

"I'm here for the caption competition job.
I trust I've come appropriately attired!"
(Boll Weavil)

"Nope, you can get it out yourself and in future, if you want to receive
a serve from Nadal, I suggest you at least face the right way."
(Boll Weavil)

"Make your mind up umpire! Is the ball in or out?"
(Boll Weavil)

"Now do I win the point Mr Sibley?"

(Boll Weavil)

Roger, seeing Mr Sibley in the umpire's chair, knew
exactly how to make sure the line calls went in his favour....

(Boll Weavil)

I'm not sure that was what the umpire meant when he said
he wanted another look at that point.
(Boll Weavil)

"Hey that line call was wrong. That ball was in, as much as these are!"
(David Weeks)

There goes the ball with my shirt and braces wrapped around it.
I wonder if I'll ever see the shirt again?"

(David Weeks)

Simon had yet to fully grasp the finer points of playing 'Strip Tennis'.
(David Weeks)

Jason was terrific when playing close to the net but failed hopelessly
when required to move back in the court to reach a high ball.
(David Weeks)

"I am, look... I qualify...
see? Oh, the women's final - sorry, my mistake."
(David Weeks)

"But umpire, there's nothing in the Association's rules about
how shorts are to be worn, only that they are worn..."
(David Weeks)


The Editor's (Mine again!)
John McEnroe
Originality-You-Must-Be-Joking Prize

"Ball Boy!"

Congratulations to the winners, commiserations to the runners up and thanks to everyone for entering and to JEN for her court rulings!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


If you missed my appearance on yesterday's BBC Radio 4 programme, Before Your Very Ears, you can 'Listen Again' on the BBC's Radio 4 website for the next seven days.

And on the subject of magic: last Saturday, David took part in a Charity Gala Concert in aid of the Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead Samaritans.

Held at the Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead, the three-hour-plus concert was a feast of music and entertainment featuring the legendary Laurie Holloway and a talented line-up of singers and musicians, many of them graduates of the Montgomery Holloway Music Trust founded by Laurie and his late wife, Marion Montgomery.

Laurie performed a couple of solo items - a superb Sinatra medley and a wickedly clever Beatles medley that managed to incorporate references to Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and other classical composers along the way - as well as accompanying several of the other artistes including the amazing soprano, Shola Hector, here seen singing 'Cabanera' from Bizet's Carmen.

The wizard Mr Weeks performed two magic sets: one with his usual line of patter, the other featuring his less frequently seen silent act. Here's part of the latter for your enjoyment...

SAMARITANS is a remarkable organisation offering confidential non-judgemental emotional support, twenty-four hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.

If you know anyone whose worried about something, feeling upset or confused, or just in need of talking to someone, make sure they know about Samaritans. Whatever a person's going through, whether it's big or small, Samaritans are there for them on the end of a telephone 24/7.

Monday, 14 July 2008


True, it may be my

but that's no excuse for...


Anyway, here I am entering - with some considerable trepidation - the last year of my fifties...

I'm now one year nearer the bus pass and a myriad of things which I really do not wish to even contemplate!

Whatever became of that sunny little fellow (left) beaming at the camera in his first school cap and tie?

Of course, I remember being him, but what I now realise is that when you are really young - before the onset of teen-angst, I mean - you hardly ever think about what it was like when you were younger and never about what it would be like to be any older...

Funny that...

Nowadays, I think about both quite a lot!

I cheer myself up by recalling a quip of the great VICTOR BORGE (self-styled 'Clown Prince of Denmark') who once remarked:

"I don't mind growing old. I'm just not used to it."

Borge's love of music and his sense of fun was utterly infectious. We twice saw this brilliant Danish musician and humorist live in concert and on both occasions were reduced to helpless, tear-shedding laughter. I remember him watching a pair of latecomers finding their way to their seats - in the middle of a row - and commenting: "Good evening! I managed to get here on time and I came from Denmark!"

Here are a few of his other best-loved witticisms...
I'd like to thank my parents for making this night possible. And my children for making it necessary.

I love this piano... I get about four sonata's to a gallon of red wine on it...

[Inspecting the piano] Hmmm… Steinway & Sons. Didn't even know he was married.

[Referring to the piano's natural shape] Isn't it a shame when those big fat opera singers lean against the pianos and bend them?

I normally don't do requests. Unless, of course, I have been asked to do so.

I only know two pieces, one is 'Clair de Lune', the other one isn't.

The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.

Ignaz Friedman's dead now—I sincerely hope, because they buried him about 28 years ago.

I'm going to play it with both hands so it will end faster.

There will be no dancing during this number... unless you absolutely have to!
And whenever he made a seeming linguistic faux pas:
It's your language, I'm just trying to use it...
Anyway, I'm going to celebrate being almost-nearly-sixty with this rendition of that little song customarily played on this day, as rendered - after a few amusing preliminaries and with a little help from one or two other musical 'greats' - by this adorable, incomparable man who used to say - and proved - that "laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

Don't Forget...

I make a guest appearance on tomorrow's BBC Radio 4 programme, BEFORE YOUR VERY EARS, an investigation by Grant Gordon into the tricky business of making magic on Radio. The programme goes on air at 11.30 am and can be heard for the following seven days via 'Listen Again' on the BBC website.

Saturday, 12 July 2008


Those 'abnormal dreams' promised by the new medication have certainly started!

The other night I dreamed that I was helping with a magic act at The Magic Circle where a magician in white tie and tails was a trying to do a dove act --- using TURKEYS!

And on the subject of magic: anyone who enjoys the puzzlements of the conjuror will be intrigued by a programme to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 15 July at 11.30 am.

In Before Your Very Ears, Grant Gordon explores the rich history of magic on radio.

Archive features includes the legendary mind-reading act of The Piddingtons, the great Sidani confounding Kenneth Horne, Uri Geller bending keys, John Wade sawing Barry Wordsworth in half, David Berglas' magical carpentry and Jack Delvin escaping from a lift in Bush House reprised from a radio series on magic that I made, many years ago, for the BBC World Service.

Contributors include magicians Paul Zenon, Ali Bongo, Derren Brown and Darryl Rose who performs a new radio trick for listeners involving the R4 website.

And, apparently, there will also be one or two comments from Yours Truly...

Friday, 11 July 2008


It's just a little short of two years since I broke a bone in My Left Foot and now I've gone and done it again! Still, at least I'm consistent! Oh, well, better foot forward...

Thursday, 10 July 2008


As you can see, I'm still in Wonderland...

These 'Eat-Mes' are from the same people responsible for those Freudian Slippers I recently posted about.

Even if you're not easily enchanted, you may find some other mints to suit your political or religious persuasions...

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


A little learning really can be a dangerous thing --- especially (judging from this warning sign) if you happen to be an ADULT or even an ANIMAL!

So, kids, make sure you keep those dangerous matches away from all grown-ups, cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils and budgies!

Sunday, 6 July 2008


Today is, apparently, National Kissing Day - possibly International Kissing Day

Woa, there! Hang on a minute! Before you go rushing off to get started, here are a few interesting facts about the Brits as kissers...
A survey reveals that a staggering 95% of young women believe they aren't getting enough when it comes to kissing.

This isn't surprising considering that nearly a third (29%) of women polled claim that they don't even manage to pucker up once on an average day. Today's the day for Brits to join the lucky lot who claim they kiss up to ten times a day (19%).

What's more nearly a quarter of women (24%) have experienced a kissing drought and gone for over a year without so much as a hint of a kiss. The average period of non-lip action is three to six months for nearly a third (30%) of women. The forecast is not so bad for a fifth (21%) of women who don't go any longer than a month without a kiss.

But clearly we're not kissing enough and nowhere near as much as our European counterparts. Three quarters (75%) of women believe that the Brits should let go of the stiff upper lip and follow the example of Europeans by kissing more openly in public.

The good news is, what we lack in quantity, we definitely make up in quality. In the league of best and worst kissers, the Brits sweep the board with nearly half (42%) of the vote for great kissing. The Italians - the Casanovas of Europe - come in second with 15%, closely followed by the French with 13%.
And you'll find more lip-smacking statistics such as these here.

So, armed with those warnings and encouragements, off you go and enjoy yourselves unless, that is, you're sitting at home watching the Men's Finals in the 2008 Wimbledon Tennis Championship, in which case you may care to ponder my latest...


No one we know, I think; certainly not Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, but what is he saying or thinking...?

Closing date for submissions: Saturday 12 July

Images: (Top) Klimt's 'The Kiss'; (Bottom) Er... somebody's bottom!

Saturday, 5 July 2008


Still puzzling over that monkey puzzle?

Probably not, since no one other than Good Dog (see the comments to yesterday's post) gave - if you'll pardon the phrase - a monkeys!

But that isn't going to deter me!

You will recall that I asked for your solutions to Lewis Carroll's puzzle about the Monkey and the Weight:
A weightless and perfectly flexible rope is hung over a weightless, frictionless pulley attached to the roof of a building.

At one end is a weight which exactly counterbalances a monkey at the other end.

If the monkey begins to climb, what will happen to the weight?

Good Dog decided that first the monkey would 'sink' (go down) but then amended this to a belief that the weight and the monkey would both rise up towards the pulley...

GD's bafflement is not surprising, many mathematical minds have been tested by this puzzle: in his diary entry for December 21 1893, Lewis Carroll's alter ego, C L Dodgson, wrote with evident delight:
Got Prof Clifton's answer to the 'Monkey and Weight' problem. It is very curious, the different views taken by good mathematicians. Price says the weight goes up, increasing velocity. Clifton (and Harcourt) that it goes up, at the same rate as the monkey, while Samson says that it goes down!
In the posthumously-compiled Lewis Carroll Picture Book, the Reverend Arthur Brook was quoted as saying that "the weight remains stationary".

Then, in 1914, Sam Lloyd included the puzzle in his Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums erroneously concluding that as the monkey climbs the rope he will fall with increasing speed.

The American mathematician writing in 1956 in Scientific American complained about the wording of the puzzle: "One of the difficulties in this tricky problem is that it is not well defined. For example, does the monkey jerk the rope? Or does he begin pulling on it very gently, and if so, how does he maintain the pull?"

You read the whole of Warren Weaver's fascinating article on Carroll the mathematician here, but his questions about the 'Monkey and the Weight' puzzle are in fact, irrelevant.

The correct solution is as follows...

Regardless of how the monkey climbs the rope, the monkey and the weight always remain opposite one another. There is nothing the monkey can do to get above or below it at any time, whether climbing ever so slowly or with frenetic leaps and jerks.

So, now you know! And well done Good Dog -- I think...

Friday, 4 July 2008


Today is, of course, Independence Day (appropriate greetings to all our American readers), but it is also the anniversary of that "golden afternoon" in 1862 on which the Reverend Charles Dodgson - better known as Lewis Carroll - took Alice, Lorina and Edith Liddell, the three daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, on a boating trip up the Isis.

It was on that expedition that Mr Dodgson spun the yarn of Alice's Adventures Underground - later published as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: that treasure trove of incomparable nonsense...
"Your hair wants cutting," said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.

"You should learn not to make personal remarks," Alice said with some severity; "it's very rude."

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"

"Come, we shall have some fun now!" thought Alice. "I'm glad they've begun asking riddles. -- I believe I can guess that," she added aloud.

"Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?" said the March Hare.

"Exactly so," said Alice.

"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.

"I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least -- at least I mean what I say -- that's the same thing, you know."

"Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "You might just as well say that 'I see what I eat' is the same thing as 'I eat what I see'!"

"You might just as well say," added the March Hare, "that 'I like what I get' is the same thing as 'I get what I like'!"

"You might just as well say," added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, "that 'I breathe when I sleep' is the same thing as 'I sleep when I breathe'!"

"It is the same thing with you," said the Hatter...
Lewis Carroll was, of course, an inveterate divisor of games and puzzles and here's one of his most notorious teasers...
A weightless and perfectly flexible rope is hung over a weightless, frictionless pulley attached to the roof of a building. At one end is a weight which exactly counterbalances a monkey at the other end.

If the monkey begins to climb, what will happen to the weight?
What do YOU think? Let me know...

Finally, here's a visual tribute to Lewis Carroll's immortal dream child set to the Cocteau Twin's 'Alice'. Dream on...

Image: Illustration of the Monkey puzzle from Sam Lloyd's Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums New York, 1914. Unfortunately, Mr Lloyd obviously didn't know how to spell Lewis Carroll.

Thursday, 3 July 2008


Oh... Alright then!

Here you are...

An, in case you missed the story, apparently Beck's Mum was not amused at her son posing in his skivvies and rang him up in order - if you'll pardon the pun - to tear a strip off him!

By the way, I saw this somewhere on the web the other day --- do you think it's the Beckhams' doormat...?

I mean, it can't be Signor Armani's or it would say something like: