Pining for the fjords and other stories

by Grania

Sometimes Twitter is just what you need on a dismal Friday evening, especially when you tend to follow scientists and comedians, and even more especially when those scientists and comedians know each other and have worked together on such excellent science shows as The Infinite Monkey Cage.

But I expected to see this as much as I expected the Spanish Inquisition or a comfy chair, but there it was; and so I leave it here for your delectation.



And the immediate response:


I don’t think anybody here needs any introductions to anyone, but just in case:

Brian Cox is a UK physicist currently at the University of Manchester, one half of the presenters of TIMC and presenter of various TV science series.

Eric Idle is one of the Monty Python comedy group (I don’t really have to explain this to anybody, surely?)

And of course for comparison, the original Four Yorkshiremen sketch sans Norwegian fjords.


  1. Posted January 8, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Brian Cox also tweeted his support for naming one of the newly created heavy (metal) elements “Lemmium”, as a tribute to the recently deceased Lemmy.

    (Hopefully everyone knows who Lemmy was.)

    • GBJames
      Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Hoo’s Lemmy?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      You try and tell kids today there was such a … phenomenon … as Lemmy and they won’t believe you!

      • Posted January 8, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Rock bands today. They don’t have heads. Or motörs.


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 9, 2016 at 4:55 am | Permalink

          I think I need to update my “characters” file …
          🚚 U+x1F69A Black Van
          ⚰ U+x26B0 Coffin.
          ⛧ U+x26E7 Inverted pentegram.
          🂡 U+x1F0A1 Ace of Spades ; Lemmy
          Now, why do I have an inverted pentagram, but not an upright pentagram?

    • Posted January 8, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Add your support here!


  2. Frank
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly, the Python’s version of the Four Yorkshiremen was a remake (almost word for word) of a sketch that aired earlier on the At Last the 1948 Show, with Tim Brooke-Taylor, Marty Feldman, Graham Chapman, and John Cleese (so only Chapman is in both versions; I wonder why Cleese dropped out for the Python version?).

    • Ralph
      Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Cleese’s Yorkshire accent here is not as good as the other Pythons, that’s probably why.

    • Posted January 9, 2016 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      At Last The 1948 show has been much neglected in the history of comedy. I remember watching it as a teenager.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 9, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Reminds me of how every US comedy troupe in the 20th century would do an iteration of certain classic vaudeville routines — like, say, “Niagra Falls” (“slowly I turned, step-by-step, inch-by-inch …”)

    • stephen
      Posted January 9, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Ah! Glad to see someone got in there quickly 😉

    • Dominic
      Posted January 11, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      ISIRTA (mother) used to used the same format –

  3. Ralph
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t realize until recently that Chateau de Chasselas is a real wine. Which now has the Python line as a slogan under its logo!

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted January 8, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Heh! Very cool. Love it when life pays homage to art.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        And, as in this instance, life paying homage to art paying homage to life.

    • stephen
      Posted January 9, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      And I didn’t know there was a Chasselas until I read your post,Ralph! (My career was in the restaurant business and I know rather a lot about food and wine although,obviously,not as much as I should.) I used to know Chasselas as a workhorse grape for white wines, similar to the Ugni Blanc or Trebbiano in Italy, i.e. “plonk”,and always wondered if there was another somewhat esoteric joke in the script-writer’s choice of wine name. A quick google reveals that the current wine-making operations of the estate are of relatively recent establishment,so they may be exploiting the as-it-were posthumous fame of the sketch and its details-good for them,if so!

  4. Randy Schenck
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    AH, Yes. The good old days. I remember we had nothing and we were glad to get it.

    • Geoff Toscano
      Posted January 8, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Nothing! You had nothing!

      I’d have killed for nothing.

      Those were the days.

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted January 8, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        That’s good…I don’t think we can do better than kill for nothing. Unless it was less than nothing.

      • friendlypig
        Posted January 11, 2016 at 3:37 am | Permalink

        Eh yup Geoff. Gerrit reeht dunt mak it easy fer t’foriners, it’s ‘thems were’t days, not those. Tha’s bloody posh!

        Tha shoulda bin browt up i’Uddersfield. Now that’s wot tha calls pain.

        But we din’t know nowt betta, so we were ‘appy.

  5. Sshort
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Comedians and scientists should (shall?) rule the universe. With a few artists, chefs and songwriters for good measure.

  6. Tom Snow
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    While visiting Manchester last June I actually found a pub called Norwegian Blue. It was in a huge indoor arcade-like complex called the Odeon.

    • Posted January 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      The complex is called The Printworks; the Odeon is the multiplex cinema (whose signage possibly dominates the building).


      • Tom Snow
        Posted January 8, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, I probably just saw the Odeon sign on the entrance and assumed it was the name of the whole thing.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    OMG that is great. I was all excited once when Eric Idle replied on Twitter to me with “clever” when I corrected his Latin in a funny way.

    • Posted January 9, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I would definitely screen-cap that and make prints.

  8. Posted January 8, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I still love to pop in the DVD for Monty Python Live at The Hollywood Bowl. If I had a time machine, I’d go back to see The Beatles last live gig (not played on a rooftop) and to see the Pythons.

  9. Randy Schenck
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Had to go back and look – Monty Python was on the tube from Oct. 1969 to 1974. I must have seen it from nearly the start as I was in England from early 69-72. If I recall we use to not be in straight condition when the half hour show started. Had to pay that tv tax as well.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 9, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      A TV and a couple o’ bob to pay taxes, you say? Lap of luxury …

  10. Dawn Oz
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve sat in cafes with various collections of friends, playing ‘The Four Yorkshiremen’, over the years. Will send it on.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Anyone know, has proton decay been established as a fact? I believe it was a theoretical possibility, but I’m way out of touch.


  12. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    You know you’ve arrived when a Python comments on your post.


  13. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    Totally OT in this conversation, but Wiley Miller followed up his ‘Pierre of the North’ cartoon which featured on WEIT a few days ago with a sequence which started as a slam at the drawn-out electioneering process, and morphed into an attack on the ‘offence culture’. As in this one:

    I usually find myself agreeing with Wiley.


  14. wiseape108
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Anyone else suddenly peckish for spam?

  15. T Beck
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Not only is this the best thing I’ve read all year, it’s the best thing I’m GOING to read all year!

  16. Geoff
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Actually, Eric Idle does have a Cambridge PhD in physics-thus “The Universe Song” in “The Meaning of Life”

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