Pining for the fjords and other stories

January 8, 2016 • 2:30 pm

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.

40 thoughts on “Pining for the fjords and other stories

  1. 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.)

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

        1. 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?

  2. 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?).

    1. 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 …”)

    1. 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!

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

      2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

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


  10. 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.


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

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