A tax on you know what?!?

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Its getting near the time of year when small businesses like myself turn their minds to financial matters and go in search of accounting and bookkeeping services to submit their annual tax returns.

So, following on from my Accountancy vs Lion Taming post, I’d thought I’d share another Monty Python sketch, this time devoted to matters of taxation.

Taxation?

Yes, and not just any form of taxation, but the ultimate in taxation.  Enjoy!

I included the longer version as it leads nicely into the sketch in a typical Terry Gilliam / Python-esque manner.

That couldn’t happen… …could it?

Well, to be fair it is unlikely, but daft taxes are not unheard of. For example, window tax which was tried several times in the British Isles and elsewhere, leading to the owners of a considerable number of larger buildings bricking over perfectly good windows to save money.

And the Catholic faith has managed to hold sway over the unmentioned act for many years!

Less tax policies = more tax revenue

For an interesting reflection on tax, take a look at the following short article: Why Income Tax and Other Daft Ideas?

Accountants I’ve spoken to have said very similar things, but of course, were the ideas in the article to be put into practice, they’d all be out of a job!

And then what would comedians write about?

Accountancy vs Lion Taming

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So, here’s a challenge, how to write a blog that makes reference to accounting services?

Hmmm… Tricky… Y’see, accountancy is a very boring subject.

Listen to an accountant talk about tax loopholes for even a few seconds and you will quickly feel your life force draining away as your brain fights with your eternal soul for the right to shut down.

Monty Python to the rescue…

Due to their extremely dull nature, accountants have over the years been the butt of many a comedy sketch, the masters of which were and always will be Monty Python.

And the best Python sketch featuring an accountant has to be Vocational Guidance Counsellor:

Did you enjoy it?

No?!? What’s wrong with you? Are you an accountant? Right, off you go, you’re not even a proper woman!

A necessary evil

All joking aside though, accountants are very definitely a necessary evil. From supposedly simple book-keeping and self assessment tax returns to VAT returns, statutory accounts, corporation tax and payroll services, the world of taxation is a minefield.

Combine that with risk of severe penalties for mistakes (even innocent ones), it’s little wonder that self employed individuals like myself would much rather get on with the day job and earn the money in the first place!

That way, the accountants in question will no doubt save them enough time and money to allow them to spend the evening watching their favourite Monty Python clips.

Many thanks to my accountant!! We love you really…

There’s more if you’re interested

For more thoughts on the pitfalls of running a business, take a look at: This time next year Rodders, I DON’T want to be a millionaire…

British TV Comedy Gold (Quiz Round)

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As they seem to be popular, I thought I’d share another of my quiz rounds. Another you say? Yes indeedy, take a look at Cryptic Computing (Quiz Round) if you want to know the origins.

This quiz is one for fans of classic British TV sitcoms, old and new. No, not old fans, although I fear that category might include me these days, as I owned many of these on VHS, cassette and even LP.

Best in the World

Now, it’s just my opinion (but also FACT) that British TV comedy is the best in the world. Something for the British to be immensely proud of and worth paying our antiquated TV licence fee for; particularly as many of the classics in this quiz were produced by the BBC.

Pst!! Don’t care what I have to say? Scroll down for the quiz then, see if I care!, Bozz.

Still here? Good. So what makes British comedy the best? Well, this isn’t going to be a University thesis on the matter (I’ve got a day job to get on with!), but I reckon a few things: interesting characters, excellent timing, originality and knowing when to stop.

Knowing when to stop?

Obviously there are a few exceptions (Last of the Summer Wine, Men Behaving Badly to name a few), but on the whole most British sitcoms have the good grace to quit whilst they’re ahead. Once the original ideas start to make a second appearance, they call it a day.

Fawlty Towers had just 12 episodes, because as John Cleese said, they’d covered everything funny they could think of that might happen in a hotel.

Our US cousins however, love to milk that cow. Friends had 238 episodes, each one of them indistinguishable from the other. “Could Ross be any more repetitive?”.

A quick gripe then if I may…

Now, given how great British comedy is, why oh why when it is shipped to the States, do their TV networks feel the need to make god-awful US versions of them?

The resulting efforts are soul-less dumbed down empty mimics of their original selves and very few make it past the pilot episode. Is our language and character that far removed from the country who inherited it from us?

I realise the American networks are mega-profit driven, but do they always have to go for the lowest common denominator? Surely with a population that is fives times that of the UK, there’s a market there somewhere.

I think I just feel a bit bitter for having imbibed so much American culture and slang from watching US films and TV shows and resent the fact that it isn’t reciprocated. Still, I suppose, at least it’s making money for British script writers.

Anyway, onto the quiz…

So, wherever you are, if you’re a fan of British comedy try your hand at this quiz. Can you name the character and show from which the following lines originate?

The Questions

  1. Right! My turn again. What begins with “Come here” and ends with “OW”?
  2. The whole panel’s deader than A-line flares with pockets in the knees!
  3. Is no rat, is hamster.
  4. Never before have I seen such a blatant display of poofery!
  5. I am the head of IT and I have it on good authority that if you type “Google” into Google, you can break the Internet.
  6. May I say, what a SMASHING blouse you have on?
  7. And what he done, he sent Mary and Joesph to Bethleham to have his son, and thereby to start the Christian faith.
  8. Good old Columbo. Just the one technique, of course. Still, shits on Quincy.
  9. A conman, sweetie?! Cher Abu Corma – the reincarniation of Abu Babu?! The spiritual leader of Sag Aluuh?!
  10. Knickers! A pair of feckin’ women’s knickers!
  11. Is that true Bambi? Did you do a Disney Nasty?
  12. Ooh Betty, the cat’s done a whoopsie…
  13. You won’t get a splash on you! Well… We’re across.
  14. Hey, toilet-mouth! There’s a child’s bike outside!
  15. Bed? Bed’s for sleepy people! Let’s get a kebab and go to a disco!
  16. This time next year, we’ll be millionaires!
  17. Are you going to make a brew or what Barbara? I’ve got a throat here like Gandhi’s bloody flip-flop.
  18. When people say to me: would you rather be thought of as a funny man or a great boss? My answer’s always the same, to me, they’re not mutually exclusive.
  19. Oh, those wrinkled stockings
  20. Some place Govan eh? Where else can you get a fish supper at 9am? Simple, just steal it off a drunk that’s been lyin pished outside a close all night.
  21. It’s pronounced b-stard!
  22. That was Big Yellow Taxi, by Jodie Mitchell. A song in which Jodie complains that they paved paradise, to put up a parking lot. A measure that would have actually alleviated traffic congestion on the outskirts of paradise.
  23. Why is it that no matter how many millions of pairs of socks I buy, I never seem to have any?
  24. And now for something completely different.
  25. Harold!!

Intermission

Time for a quick break. Can’t have you peeking at those answers can we? Let’s fill the space with a short clip from one of the shows featured.

Here is the very talented Stephen Fry as General Melchett from Blackadder Goes Forth delivering a classic line and sending up the British aristocracy of the time perfectly.

Okay folks, time to check those answers and see how well you did. With 2 points available per question, the best score on the night was 38 points.

Have you beaten it I wonder?

The Answers

  1. Captain Blackadder – Blackadder Goes Forth
  2. The Cat – Red Dwarf
  3. Manuel – Fawlty Towers
  4. Battery Sergeant Major (BSM) Willams – It Ain’t Half Hot Mum
  5. Jen – I.T. Crowd
  6. Richie – Bottom
  7. Alf Garnett – Til Death Do Us Part
  8. Mark – Peep Show
  9. Edina / Eddie – Absolutely Fabulous
  10. Father Jack – Father Ted
  11. Neil (The Hippy) – Young Ones
  12. Frank Spencer – Some Mothers Do Ave Em
  13. Geoff – League of Gentlemen
  14. Brian Potter – Phoenix Nights
  15. Gary – Men Behaving Badly
  16. Del Boy Trotter – Only Fools and Horses
  17. Jim Royle  – Royle Family
  18. David Brent – The Office
  19. Compo – Last of the Summer Wine
  20. Rab – Rab C Nesbitt
  21. Alan B’stard – New Statesmen
  22. Alan – I’m Alan Partridge
  23. George, Prince Regent – Blackadder the Third
  24. John Cleese – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
  25. Albert Steptoe – Steptoe and Son

Never heard of them?

If you haven’t seen many of the above shows, then your life is officially incomplete. Most of them are available on-line these days (both legally and illegally), so get Googling and immerse yourself in some uniquely British comedy.

My personal recommendations would be: Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Father Ted, Peep Show, The Young Ones, I.T. Crowd, Monty Python, Red Dwarf… Well, nearly all of them really!

Want more?

If you enjoyed this quiz, check out my Song Intros (Quiz Round), Cryptic Computing (Quiz Round) and Am I becoming a “Quiz Addict”? posts.

Right, that’s put me in the mood. Time to watch some DVDs methinks…

Facintrolfs

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If you don’t understand Monty Python or don’t think Spike Milligan was a genius, the reason for the existence of this post will be lost on you entirely. Look away now!

For that reason, perhaps this really shouldn’t be my first proper post, but I found it the other day whilst reminiscing about (some of) the team I used to work with and it made me chuckle. It’s the contents of an email from my equally nutty previous I.T. boss and my reply.

Email (Title: Facintrolfs)

This new word born of the age we live in, is now licensed and ready for use. Any queries on pronunciation, see me.

My Reply

Facintrolfs: A recently discovered and already endangered rare breed of South American hamster. The Facintrolfs is easily distinguished by the red stripe running the entire length of it’s back right down to the tip of its tail.

Even more obvious and perhaps the reason for its rapid demise are its 20ft antlers. These fearsome weapons make the hamster almost unassailable by frequently taller predators, but pose a challenge during the mating season when males attempt to lock horns. Many a male Facintrolfs is found face down in the dirt and tail in the air, locked in mortal combat with a rival. With no chance of ever getting up again, the males simply starve to death.

The lone females are then forced to form knitting circles and hold coffee mornings as a substitute for male company.

Offspring are few and the World Wildlife Fund estimate that with only 23,250,100 Facintrolfs left breeding in the wild, the species could be extinct by next Thursday!!!

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