I once had dinner with Gilbert Northcote Parkinson, author (this for those under forty) of Parkinson's Law. In awe of the best-selling humorist, I spent days preparing for an evening of merry banter. The food was excellent, but it was a long and tedious meal: I assumed my repartee had failed to bring out his latent humour, but later consoled myself with the thought that funny writers are not funny in person because they're too busy worrying about what funny stuff they're going to write next or in which tax haven they're going to live. Over the years I have derived much comfort from assuming that the converse is equally true: that the reason I can't write funny is because I'm such hilarious company.
I didn't write this either - I stole it from the Sunday Times:
Doctor: "You're going to die".
Patient: "I'd like a second opinion".
Doctor: "You're ugly".
We had fun over dinner last night with the thought that British place names don't appear in song titles because, unlike American ones, they're not glamorous. It explains, for instance, why "By the time I get to Wigan" never made it to No 1; nor, I guess, will "Sunderland, Oh Sunderland" or "In my mind I'm goin' to Wolverhampton".
Penny Lane anyone?