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Author Topic: Fish Licenses and the Ministry of Housinge  (Read 6388 times)
birdless
Lochage
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« on: April 09, 2008, 04:04:16 PM »

Every few years, I have to dust off my Monty Python Final Rip-Off CDs and listen to them until I wear them out again. I figured this crowd could definitely appreciate that.

So, since we have a good number of Brit posters, can someone explain the the Ministry of Housinge reference in the "Fish License" skit? It seems like it should be funny because it references something, but, not being British, I'm not catching the meaning.

Humorous side note: There are quite a few references in Monty Python I tend to write off that way. For instance, in Travel Agency, I always thought Smoketoomuch (Idle) said “Keeble Bolly Jocksford” and assumed it was just nonsense or some British candy bar. Not until today when I saw a transcript did I realize he said “Keble Bollege, Oxford.”


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« Last Edit: April 10, 2008, 05:52:19 AM by Russell Nash » Logged
Tango Alpha Delta
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2008, 11:56:26 PM »

I'm going to guess the one in your example is probably a spoonerism of "Bible College, Oxford"... but I really don't know.

Over the years, I have found that a lot of British comedy references that I didn't get turned out to be either:

1) Placenames of places that are funny ONLY if you know where they are (and you know how drab and horrid they are)

or

2) Rhyming slang (which makes the language as unintelligible to other English-speakers as it is to, say, the Korean guy who used to cut my hair (I did NOT want a 'high & tight', dammit!))

If you ever get the chance to pore over a good Ordinance Map of the UK (the ones that put MapQuest to shame) or a good list of "every English placename", you'll be in for a good laugh due to all of the ridiculous names that crop up:  "Cackle Hill", "Dyke Village", "Bitchfield", and "Slough" always cracked me up when I drove past their signs.  (The latter because I could think of four different pronunciations, and I just knew whichever one I picked would be wrong... so I never asked to go there.)

Bill Bryson documented a few in his excellent books, especially Notes From a Small Island

(Oh, dear, sweet moderators!  Give us this day our daily tweak of the url, so that EP may receive its full bounty!)

I shall now slap myself with a fish for your amusement.

*squitch*


Moderator: Tweaked.  Hand me the fish, so I can give you a couple slaps too.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 07:37:02 AM by Russell Nash » Logged

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stePH
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2008, 09:41:08 AM »

I'm going to guess the one in your example is probably a spoonerism of "Bible College, Oxford"... but I really don't know.

No, Mr. Smoketoomuch was incapable of pronouncing the letter "C", and made the "B" sound instead.  So "colour" was pronounced "bolour", for example (it goes back to when he was at Bainbridge University and was attacked by a bat.  "A cat?"  "No, a bat.")  So the travel agent asked if he was capable of pronouncing "K", and Mr. S. replied, "Oh yeah, koffee, kettle, Keble Bollege Oxford..."

Or so I recall, as it's been many years in the ago since I heard the sketch last.
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2008, 11:28:54 AM »

Ah!  I need to rent those DVDs one of these days.

And, what do you know?  http://www.keble.ox.ac.uk/
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birdless
Lochage
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Five is right out.


« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2008, 11:28:58 PM »

Thanks, TAD! Starting a thread which gets no responses is like raising a hand for a high-five and getting left hanging.

So no one actually gets the joke in the Fish License sketch where he states he got his cat license from the "Ministry of Housinge" cat detector van?
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birdless
Lochage
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Five is right out.


« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2008, 11:31:19 PM »

LoL! just reading the link above... just reading it makes me laugh! That and the cheese shop have to be two of my favorite sketches.

"chose him out of thousands... didn't like the others, they were all too flat."

"pinpoint a purr at 400 yards and Eric being such a happy cat was a piece of cake"

ahhh... good stuff... Cheesy
« Last Edit: April 13, 2008, 11:33:39 PM by birdless » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2008, 05:10:02 PM »

Thanks, TAD! Starting a thread which gets no responses is like raising a hand for a high-five and getting left hanging.

So no one actually gets the joke in the Fish License sketch where he states he got his cat license from the "Ministry of Housinge" cat detector van?

Actually, I get it... but it still gives me the cold shivers.

Basically, to operate a TV in Britain, you must have a licence; to get the license, you must pay a "duty".  (When I was faced with too many "stupid Yank" comments, I liked to joke that "at least our populous can be trusted to operate a tellie without a license"... and they would mock my spelling errours instead.)

I digress... in order to enforce the TV duty laws, there is a van that drives around with an antenna mounted on top which can detect a colour TV capable of receiving BBC.  And if you don't have a valid licence, they will fine you.

Someone help me out... it's something like 200 quid a year?  (I never paid... I preferred to go without TV for three years.)
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This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

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birdless
Lochage
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Posts: 581


Five is right out.


« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2008, 05:16:02 PM »

Aaahh, I see... but what is "Housinge?" It was spelled like that on the van... I'm very observant, you know.

Why would a Ministry of Housing van be spelled incorrectly?
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2008, 05:25:46 PM »

Aaahh, I see... but what is "Housinge?" It was spelled like that on the van... I'm very observant, you know.

Why would a Ministry of Housing van be spelled incorrectly?

Probably supposed to harken to "ye olde" archaic spellinge, woulde be my guesse.
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2008, 05:49:47 PM »

Aaahh, I see... but what is "Housinge?" It was spelled like that on the van... I'm very observant, you know.

Why would a Ministry of Housing van be spelled incorrectly?

Probably supposed to harken to "ye olde" archaic spellinge, woulde be my guesse.

Well, the sketch seems to be aiming for "some guy painted 'Ministry of Housinge' on his van, and drove around bilking people by selling fraudulent cat licenses" angle.

Which is what kind of freaked me out about the whole TV-van thing.  We kept getting threatening notices from the local council that actually operates the vans, telling us we hadn't paid up, and we'd better not have a telly, or they'd come 'round and sort us out.  My friend/neighbor/supervisor was a Texan who had an illegal pellet gun (for sorting out the neighbors illegal menagerie of cats) and he promised to take care of us.

Which wasn't necessary, because we really didn't have a UK TV.

But it was still a bit sinister to think anyone with a van could drive up and demand to inspect our television.
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Darwinist
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2008, 06:41:38 PM »


So no one actually gets the joke in the Fish License sketch where he states he got his cat license from the "Ministry of Housinge" cat detector van?

Classic!  Reminds me of when my son Erik was born 17 years ago - people would ask us what our baby's name was and my wife and I would say "Erik the fruit bat".   Very few people got the joke.   Too bad for them. 

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For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan
birdless
Lochage
*****
Posts: 581


Five is right out.


« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2008, 09:37:45 PM »


So no one actually gets the joke in the Fish License sketch where he states he got his cat license from the "Ministry of Housinge" cat detector van?

Classic!  Reminds me of when my son Erik was born 17 years ago - people would ask us what our baby's name was and my wife and I would say "Erik the fruit bat".   Very few people got the joke.   Too bad for them. 
I think I might just have to name my next child Eric just so I can use that!  Cheesy
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Mylon
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2016, 04:31:18 PM »

@StePH

He didn't say "koffee", because if he did he would have pronounced it "boffee". He said "Khaki, Kettle, King, Kuwait, Keble Bollege Oxford" in the TV version. On the Live at Drury Lane version he said "Khaki, Kettle, Kipling, Kuwait, King's Bollege Bambridge".
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