September 0002


Unfortunately Geoff, First Blues, Ted Nugent aqain, A German Lesson,  Hollow Coins and Time Warps.


Geoff Bridges was the food correspondent for

Malheuresement, a provincial French weekly with rather a pessimistic editorial line. However, he was known for the enigmatic quality of his restaurant reviews. Three of his verdicts which were relished by aficionados were:

This restaurant is bigger than it looks from the outside (of Le Terroir, in Rheims).

Here, one may obtain food (of La Marmelade, in Le Mans).


The brightly coloured chairs form an elegant counterpoint to the meals (Chez Nico, in Mons).



Most writers shroud the earliest years of the Blues in unnecessary mystery. The facts are quite simple, and not even difficult to establish if you know where to look. The Blues were invented, more or less fully formed, by one Spoonsful Taylor who lived in Memphis towards the end of the Nineteenth Century. There was only one problem with his music. Although the voice and sound were very similar to the Blues of today, his songs were all relentlessly cheerful, and didn’t go down well in the dodgy bars were he performed. Here’s an example:

Good To Be Alive Blues:

'Woke up this mornin’

Ma woman was hangin’ aroun’

She’s got great big breasts,

An a tiny brain

I’m singing those good to be alive blues again


When I woke up this mornin’

Ma dog was still alive

He’s always chewin’ on a bone

That old dog of mine

I’m singing those good to be alive blues again


When I woke up this mornin’

Tax man’d wrote to me

He’s gonna leave me all alone

Cos’ ma books is square

I’m singing those good to be alive blues again


When I woke up this mornin’

I bought a lottery ticket

Won the big prize man,

Now I’m rollin in the dough

I’m singing those good to be alive blues again.'


And so on, for another fifteen joyous verses

A few years later, Cyrus “Bitter ‘n’ Twisted” Jones (18?? – 18??) appeared on the scene. He was born in obscurity, and died in disgraceful circumstances, possibly in Minneapolis, and maybe as late as 1902. He had the final inspiration. He started singing about all the things that made him miserable. With this, people started listening in large numbers, and the blues really took off.



I’d like to thank Wonderful World. A few weeks ago I wrote to you saying that I was a pest control officer, and wanted to exchange correspondence on rat catching with your readers. I’ve had a fantastic response! Did you know that in Java, rodent operatives lie in wait for rats with little spears made of sharpened bamboo? Or that in Japan, they use ultrasonic disorientators to make rats and mice flee from office buildings?

I didn’t. Thank you Ted.



A course for beginners, lesson 25: Der Schmetterling.

This unit introduces the term Schmetterling, which means “butterfly”.

Hier ist ein Schmetterling.

Der Schmetterling ist rot und gelb.

Und hier ist ein Panzerschmetterling.

Der Panzerschmetterling ist schwarz.

Ich liebe der panzerschmetterling!

Next month: lesson 26, der DDRschmetterling.



As an economy measure, low value copper coins produced in Britain during the First and Second World Wars were hollow. They were made from two sheets of metal pressed together, leaving a gap between, except at the edges. It was estimated that the metal saved was sufficient to make three entire squadrons of Spitfires.

With time, the two halves of the coins tended to separate, and this is why intact originals from these dates are so rare.



Certain locations on and near the equator do not have an afternoon. This is due to the effects of the rotation of the earth. In these places, the inhabitants go directly from the morning to the evening. There are a lot of places like this in the Andes. Conversely, at the Poles, there are no mornings, but this doesn’t matter, as there are no inhabitants.