The morally instructive determinings of PROFESSOR THAUMUS PHAMBLEMELL
A CORRESPONDENT WRITES: I am The Phantom Hansom Cab Passenger, and each night I am driven around town in my seemingly ordinary The Phantom Hansom Cab dispensing justice and aiding the defenceless. Things have not quite worked out as I anticipated; the number of defenceless who think to hail a seemingly ordinary hansom cab, or who coincidentally stagger towards one following a pummelling attack or ghastly revelation by an unwholesome uncle, is, alas, alarmingly low. Furthermore, the cab costs are quite disgraceful, and some nights I must scuff around impatiently in the shadows while the cabby is away attending to a fare or consuming some type of pie. I am minded to improve my business by a series of notices in respectable news-papers informing the defenceless between which streets they may find me in their hour of need. Is it acceptable to advertise oneself in this manner?
PROFESSOR PHAMBLEMELL REPLIES: Good God, sir, no: such behaviour is to be crushed contemptuously. It is the vulgarian who advertises, sir; the VULGARIAN AND THE TRADES-MAN. Any cabby will be pleased, sir, to accept a shilling-piece to nudge against pedestrians while travelling at horse-whipp'd speed; and by this means and a few well-chosen kickings as you wait otherwise uselessly in alley-ways you can CREATE A DEMAND for your fine and noble services. I am despatching a pamphlet.
Production companies, actors, film crews, magazines, video recorders - we have a whole mini-economy based around television. Just imagine if John Logie Baird had invented a kind of heater instead. What a different, though perhaps warmer, world we'd all be living in.
This chap's purchased an OFFICIAL THE WEEKLY T-SHAPED SHIRT and now he's working off his shame at indulging in such wasteful extravagance. You too may display similar penitence, and perhaps press hot coins guiltily into the hands of a stooped clerk for a copy of MR MILLINGTON's improving books Things About Which My Girlfriend And I Have Argued, A Certain Chemistry, Love and Other Near-Death Experiences and Instructions For Living Someone Else's Life, by patronising the The Weekly Corner Shop corner shop. Items despatched under plain wrapper, school-boys will be chased from the premises with a broom.
Game: My Friend Thuddy. Played chiefly in: Sennen Cove. Objective: A question-and-answer game in which one player's imaginary friend, Thuddy, is posing as a famous historical figure, whose identity the other player must guess. Questions and answers are given in a strict format: for example, "Who likes ice-cream?"; "My friend Thuddy"; "Who likes land reformation acts?"; "Not my friend Thuddy." The guessing player has between 10 and 20 questions to deduce whom Thuddy is impersonating. Obstacles: Thuddy is an invisible malevolent steam-hammer which pounds molten iron into shape for heavy industry, and will pursue you relentlessly from the shadows for the rest of your life if you fail to win his game. Rating: Folklorey.
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