Death certificate
You won’t be allowed to die unless you get one of these. Questions include: Do you dress predominantly in beige? Do you tut every time you turn the TV on? Do you smell faintly of catfood even after a shower?

Grim Reaper
The Jolly Reaper, the Reaper with the Big Fat Smile, and the Singing, Dancing Reaper in the Pantaloons didn’t really cut it.

Last words
Zymurgy, Zythepsary, and Zythum.

Dying wish

Clinical death
An expertly performed demise.

You think you are, and then it kills you.

Some people take a very long time to reach full stop.

Time to meet your maker
And ask for a refund.

Absence of vital signs
Often associated with death. Involves lack of directions such as “Blind Bend”, “Danger, 20,000 Volts”, and “Quicksand”.

You shroud have driven more slowly.

Beer drunk at a wake.

Lying in state
When the undertaker hasn’t had a chance to tidy up the corpse.

Laying out the body
Having a fight with the corpse because you’ve drunk too much coroner.

Rogueish corpse that eyes up young ladies with bounderish intent.

Place where bodies are burned. It helps to be dead first.

What smoke comes out of at the crematorium.

Tall structure used for cremation in ancient times. The body is placed a long way up so mourners can’t hear the screams if the witchdoctors have got it wrong. Has been suggested for the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.

Unit of electricity used to execute juvenile or mentally disturbed ethnic minority Americans.

When a couple dies, they have his and hearse corteges.

State funeral

Greeting spoken at funerals in the West Country.

If you’ve got one of these, you’re a scientist. Albeit a dead scientist.

French accent. Used when French doctors are giving patients mauvais news.

Football team comprised of Italian gravediggers.

Way a footballer can die.

Six feet under
Death of a threesome.

Curious name for celebration when this is the last thing the deceased is expected to do.

What dead pop stars continue to do after death.

What classical musicians do after death.

“If I should die, think only this of me”
That there is some corner of a foreign field that will be forever attractive to local dogs.

“Rage against the dying of the light”
Especially when it’s your last cigarette.

“Death, where is thy sting?”
Unfortunate mix-up between Grim Reaper and honeybee.

“The evil that men do is oft interred with their bones”
But not always. Michael Jackson’s songs are all over the radio.

Bit like an afterparty. Promises lots of fun, but you’re not sure if you’ll be let in even if you can find it in the first place.

The idea that you’ll come back as a butterfly or a beetle. Scientists have squashed this notion.


Or is it?…




Profit made by Wimbledon from hundreds of thousands of visitors who claim to like tennis for two weeks of the year when, in fact, they spend most of their time eating soft fruit, drinking Pimm’s, and waving dementedly at TV cameras like middle-class versions of the auditionees in The X Factor.

Fred Perry
Evil genius who used his fame as a winner of Wimbledon to flood the world with pastel-coloured short-sleeved sports shirts with all the fashion appeal of Tim Henman’s haircut.

Tim Henman’s haircut
Modelled on Anne Widdecombe’s as a ploy to distract his opponents. This ultimately failed as the really good ones know to look at the ball, not their opponents’ head.

Real tennis
As opposed to the matches that took place inside Tim Henman’s head, and which he won.

Sharapova, Kusnetzova, Petrova
It’s all ova now.

Scoring system
In the men’s game, generally heterosexual. The women’s game is more fluid.

Knock up
See “Scoring system”

Lawn Tennis
Form of tennis that caught on in the Victorian era. Larder Tennis, Cupboard Under The Stairs Tennis, and Horse-Drawn Carriage Tennis didn’t really catch on.

Tennis Pro
See “Knock Up”.

Davis Cup
Variety of Pimm’s served with strawberries.

One Davis Cup too many.

Ball boys and girls
In days gone by, when players ran out of balls, children from the local workhouse were hit over the net.

Noise the ballboys and girls made.

Way that poor ballboys and girls used to get to Wimbledon. Commemorated in the name of the part of the court where their dead bodies would be laid out before collection at the end of each match.

Referee who sits on a tall chair. When tennis began, local workmen were employed to ‘ump ‘im ‘igher, leading to the name.

Spectator who didn’t go to a good enough school.

Ooh I say
Tennis equivalent of “fuck me!”

Type of compliment that’s really an insult, eg, “She’s the British number one”.

The Nuremburg Open.

Service line
White mark you stand behind waiting for strawberries and cream.

Service break
The strawberries have run out.

What anyone who sings at Wimbledon should be thrown off.

Murray mount
Lots of women aim for this at Wimbledon every year. Apparently, you can’t hurry a Murray mount.

Type of Spanish orange. Spanish, orange, tennis player, that is.

Type of hat worn by stylistically-challenged Swiss men.

Character from The Virginian who went on to have a successful career as Pistol Pete the tennis player.

Automaton at war with the Tennis Federation.

Film starring Barbra Streisand as a cross-dressing Jewish tennis player.

Friend of Sampras.

Lemon found in Davis Cup.

Cheapest ticket for the tramline. Many ballboys and girls didn’t use the second portion of the ticket.

It’s happy hour at the Davis Cup tent.

Mixed doubles
The snakebite of the Davis Cup tent.

Top seed
Type of grass favoured by Wimbledon.

Second seed
Sowing the court takes a long time as they have to…

Third seed
…count every bit of grass…

Fourth seed
…that goes into the court.

Comprises two racquets, a net and some balls. They cost £9.99 from Argos.

When the game has to stop because someone in the crowd isn’t correctly attired for the occasion.

Head of the Tennis Mafia.

What the children of rich parents who can afford tennis lessons have.

There are six balls in an over. Not a lot to do with tennis.

A foreigner wins again. But no-one cares that much because they’re not really into the tennis anyway.



Sir Walter Raleigh was the inventor of smoking. He tried potatoes, but they didn’t burn very well, and ended up singeing the King of Spain’s beard. Mashed tobacco was just as bad an idea. Eventually he got it right.

Cigarette paper
Trade journal for tobacconists.

Public schoolboy detailed to buy cigarettes.

Informal response when someone offers you a cigarette.

Low tar
Informal response when you offer a Hobbit a cigarette.

Plain cigarettes
So strong they have to be smoked in the great outdoors.

Don’t smoke.

Rolling tobacco
Ancient pastime practised on the hillsides of Virginia.

Chewing tobacco
Lighting cigarettes has proved too tricky for some Americans.

Pipe tobacco
City-wide delivery system pioneered by the Victorians in London. Unfortunately one discarded match led to the city being nicknamed The Big Smoke.

Smoke ring
Secret organisation dedicated to clandestine indoor smoking.

Rough shag
Indulged in before a smoke.

Ready rubbed
Post coital smoke.

Noise smokers make when they sneeze.

Cigarette butt
Big ashtray.

Smokers cough
They do, they do.

Cigarette holder

Moi non plus.

The smell of France. Assuming you can got over the stench from the hole-in-the-floor toilets, the garlic breath, and the exhaust fumes from cars made from corrugated iron and onion peelings.

Marlboro man

Benson and Hedges
Comedy duo, whose biggest joke was: “I say, I say, I say – cigarette companies say they’ve got proof tobacco isn’t either addictive or dangerous!”. Smokers died laughing.

Wife of former prime minister.

Sex toy of former president. Not related to the above. Definitely not related to the above.

Nicotine patches
Put on your jacket to cover the holes caused by burning ash.

Friend of Paris Hilton.

Heavy-smoking orange seller of Restoration England.

Star sign most smokers die under.

Your ash gets scattered.


Reality TV

Reality TV
When television follows real, unscripted, ordinary events. Like when a middle-aged woman with learning difficulties is catapulted from obscurity, via stardom, then vilification, to the Priory in record time. Television just observes this natural behaviour.

Britain’s Got Talent
Well, maybe, but not the programme-makers, who, if they had any talent for English, would have called it “Britain HAS Talent”.

Piers Morgan
Judge on Britain’s Got Talent. Didn’t have quite enough talent of his own to stay a national newspaper editor.

Simon Cowell
Judge on Britain’s Got Talent, Pop Idol, American Idol, and The X Factor. The reason his trouser waistband is so high is that he has a permanent erection at the thought of how many millions per second he is making.

Amanda Holden
Judge on Britain’s Got Talent. It’s the contestants who prove the hypothesis.

Public vote
They also probably called it voting in the Middle Ages when groups of townspeople gathered around a girl with an unusual freckle, shouting, “BURN THE WITCH! BURN HER!! BURN HER TO ASHES!!!”

Pop Idol
Show where people become idols so the press can have a pop at them.

X Factor
Show where the winners become EX-stars even more quickly than they became stars.

Any Dream Will Do
Unless it’s the one where you are standing on Euston station with no trousers on, being hassled by an aggressive penguin that’s stealing all your giant marshmallows. That probably won’t impress Andrew Lloyd Wierdo.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?
You have auditions. Like people have always done.

Fly on the wall
There are always flies around shit.

I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here

Bushtucker challenge
When failed Big Brother contestants have to eat out of Davina McCall’s b… hang on… you mean it isn’t?

What contestants have to eat during a bushtucker trial.

Area of a reality show around the lawn.

Big Brother
Show that, over the years, has featured a former drug addict, a sex addict, and series of opinionated, self-absorbed twats. And that’s just the presenters.

Diary room
Does not actually feature a diary as this would involve featuring people who can actually write.

Dannii Minogue
X Factor judge whose christening involved a vicar, a typewriter, and a sticky key.

Louis Walsh
X Factor judge who shows a remarkable keenness to groom… sorry, mentor… groups of young boys.

Boot camp
Louis Walsh’s shoes.

Gareth Gates
Singer with a terrible stutter who came second in the first series of Pop Idol. His stutter disappeared when he sang, but he doesn’t like to talk about it.

Fame Academy
Winners were David Sneddon and Alex Parks, which suggests it is less of a finishing school and more of a failing school.

Come Dine With Me
And do try the Hemlock Surprise.

You’re out of the house/room/jungle/academy, your dreams are in tatters, it’s raining and the whole world is talking about your personal problems. Still, at least they paid for your taxi to rehab. Then the taxi driver says you look just like that wanker on the telly…




L Ron Hubbard
Went to the cupboard, but the cupboard was bare. Except for some golden tablets. Which he popped and came up with…

Slimming system that works particularly well on people’s wallets.

Word that combines the Latin “scientia”, meaning “skill”, and the Greek “ology”, meaning “getting tragically gullible people to hand over their cash”.

75 million years ago billions of aliens came to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners with no engines, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs. The souls of the aliens then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today, making us all feel a bit poorly. Scientologists believe they can make lots of rich people believe this.

What church elders get while using your money for theholiday on thebeach.

In the hands of people who stop you in the street. Contains questions like, “If I smile at you like a demented Mormon, will you give me all your money?”.

Electric device designed to measure the number of bonkers people in Scientology. Has a particularly large screen.

Past lives
We are all aliens trapped in human bodies. It’s just that some human bodies are smaller than others (eg Tom Cruise), some are uglier than others (eg John Travolta), and some have brains that wouldn’t see the scam even if it involved a fair, a man in a fez, a fiver, and three upturned cups (eg Katie Holmes, Beck, Juliette Lewis, Jason Lee).

Tom Cruise.

Warrior princess. Marginally more believable than Tom Cruise.

Auditing sessions
What your accountant never has to do again as the Church of Scientology has taken all your money.

Prison rehabilitation
Scientology is famous for trying to rehabilitate criminals and drug addicts. It is still trying with L Ron Hubbard.

The Way to Happiness
Scientology pamphlet describing its morality. This is not a large document.

What the elders would need to spend all the money they have stolen collected.

Battlefield Earth
The French courts, where Scientology is trying to prove it is not a fraud.

But of course it is. It’s a religion. It is based on ludicrous events that can neither be proved nor disproved, is exceedingly well funded by blindly faithful devotees and does not take kindly to criticism.

We hear from their lawyers.




Car pollution
President Obama is so worried about the low quality of vehicle emissions in the US he is setting new national standards.

Lead pollution
Carbon dioxide. It’s way out in the lead.

Pollutant with carbohydrate attachment, making it particularly heavy. This explains the damage carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, etc, do.

Heavy metal
Metal with lots of carbs on.

Light pollution
What we need instead.

Area around the former millennium dome where traffic jams form during U2 gigs as thousands of music lovers clog the roads trying desperately to escape.

Noise pollution
U2 gigs.

Tiny creature responsible for pollution. EG Bono.

Acid rain
Popular in the late Sixties.

Polluters from Dallas, Ft Worth etc.

Fog in Scandinavia. Pronouced “smerg”.

What Yorkshire secret agents go on.

Point of a greenhouse.

Greenhouse gas
Smell of perspiration and clandestine cigarettes.

Vapour trail
Follows you as you return from the greenhouse.

Biggles’s navigator. During a victory roll over the Channel he noticed the seas were turning green. Like the cockpit. And his trousers. Eventually Biggles got the message and stopped doing victory rolls when Algae had a hangover.

Chelsea Football Club. Have polluted the Premier Division with vast amounts of dodgy Russian money.

Kind of society that produces a lot of pollution.

Raised seat carried by flunkies that rich people use to avoid all the waste paper on the pavements.

What many eco-friendly car drivers are.

Kind of people who are very careful about the sort pollution they emit.

Water pollution
Many young swimmers are not so careful.

Raw sewage
Common in Japan.

Sick building syndrome
It’s called a hospital…

Killing a cockroach.

Killing a bay tree.

Killing a pollutant.

Person driven insane by pollution.

The Great Smog
Magician. His foul-mouthed performance in 1952 in London forced the government to introduce the Clean Air Act.

Thanks to President Obama, we’re all saved. For about five minutes longer than we would have been otherwise.


Not FOR beginners, but BY beginners…