Lord Viv Stanshall Day

by Harry on September 4, 2019

Its Lord Vivian Stanshall Day today, an international moving feast in which we celebrate the great man. It really should have been on the day that Boris Johnson became PM, but those of us in Viv-land were too blinded by the surrealism of the Tory electorate to respond. And, anyway, it doesn’t really matter because, in our hearts, every day is Viv Stanshall Day. At least, that’s how its been seeming for a while now. Here he is with The Young Ones (btw I endured (well, that was my dad’s word for it) a dreadful, Viv-worthy, youth production of Summer Holiday in the summer, in which my niece managed to shine as an overactive surreal narrator), and.. well in an ad for Ruddles which has to be seen to be believed.


by Harry on September 4, 2019

Its the first day of class for me. Both my classes this semester are small — 20 or fewer — and in such classes I always begin the first several classes with icebreakers so that they get used to talking in front of the group and learn each others names. A good icebreaker is brief (I allow 5-7 minutes for the whole round) — so it must be pretty easy to come up with a quick answer — but revealing (because I want them to get to know each other). I have a small collection of them. Here’s a sample: please add more if you have them!

Name a novel you haven’t read that you think you should have read
Name a novel you have read that you think the rest of us should avoid reading
What would your choice be for a final meal?
Name a song or singer or band that you are embarrassed that you like [1]
If you had been raised in a different country which one would it have been?
Of the 50 states, which is the one you are least interested in visiting?
If you had to rely on a past England cricket captain to get your country out of the mess it is in, which one would it be? [2]

[1] Surprising how often Justin Beiber and the Jonas Brothers turn up here, both of whom seem entirely un-embarrassing to me. Someone usually mentions Taylor Swift, enabling me to reveal that I have seen her live.
[2] This one has a right answer, but I don’t know what it is — Brearley or Jardine, I imagine. Unless your country is Albania, of course, in which case it’s obviously Fry.[3]

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