By way of recompense to our readers for the dull bout of egotism below, here’s a link to one of the finest and most life-affirming things on the internet (Harry B, this one in particular is for you).
“Hold Your Plums”, featuring Billy Butler and Wally Scott on Radio Merseyside, is just an extraordinary piece of improvised folk-theatre. To begin with, it was a fairly banal bog-standard quiz, loosely based on a fruit machine (hence the double entendre). But as time went on, a combination of the native Scouse wit and the slight vagueness of housewives who have been able to have their first drink of the weekend as the kids set off for Sunday school, it turned into something far more comic.
Billy basically developed this Quixotic urge to ensure that everyone got the answers right. So he gave them clues. And they still got them wrong. It’s basically a phone-in quiz show for the very confused (and for people taking the mickey on purpose). Oh, it’s indescribable, just have a listen to it. The extracts on the BBC website are all named after the phrase that the caller is meant to be guessing. The most famous extract is “What did Walter Raleigh bring back from the New World?”, but my personal favourite is “Springboks”. This all falls apart on a strange point of local microgeography; there are some part of the North West of England where “book”, “hook”, “look” etc are all pronounced to rhyme with “puke”. But anyway; there’s about an hour’s listening pleasure here; forward the link to an expat Scouser of your acquaintance and they will be grateful.
PS: Someone once tried to describe my personality problems to a mutual acquaintance by saying that I bore the same relationship to the world that Billy Butler did to his callers. Make of that what you will.