Meet Mr Inquisitor [Redux]
It appears that Mr Inquisitor Redux is back, folks, at least this week! Unfortunately, nobody seems to have applied to be interviewed next time round, so if you want to step into the hotseat1, drop me a line ASAP!
That aside, it appears that it's time for this week's interview with a Mr Mu Beta!
Would you like to get the football-related gloating and heckling out of the way now, or should we leave it until the end of the interview?
We'll leave it until the end, thank you. It'll be all the better with a running start.
I'm sure you'll be able to shoehorn it in at some point. Since time immemorial, you were marauding around hootoo as Master B, then all of a sudden you became Mu Beta. Is there any interesting reason for the change?
Well, around the turn of 2006, there was a bit of toy-throwing on site over a certain dic-... er, sorry, gentleman masquerading under the title of a wolf and irritating the hell out of everyone. I pushed off for a bit because hootoo in general was starting to become a bit less fun. A few months later, I got depressed because I'd missed yet another London Meet and skulked back onto the site. I'd carefully saved my old PS in a notepad file somewhere and then accidentally deleted the notepad file. So the time became right for a bit of corporate re-branding. I lost the cheap masturbation pun and, in what must have seemed at the time to be the pinnacle of urbane and sophisticated wit, went all Greek, so to speak. Plus it gave me a great opportunity to don a faux-Mediterranean accent in my role as Chair of the Phantasy Phootball League.
Actually, seeing as you've brought up Phantasy Phootball, would you mind explaining just why I'm about to lose a tenner after you assured me I'd comfortably come in higher than Nirvanite2? I'm not sure it'd make interesting reading, but it might be slightly cathartic on my part...
If you'd care to examine the table, you're only six points behind Nirvanite. It doesn't look like a big hill to overcome to me.
Well, time will tell, I suppose. As a teacher, you might be well-placed to answer this question. Are kids nowadays all murderous, promiscuous drug-addicted thieves and vandals in need of a good sound kicking?
Not at all. This is foul slander propagated by a biased media industry.
Part of the problem is that the media cannot handle statistics properly. Only 5% of kids are murderous. 60% are promiscuous. 20% are drug-addicted. 5% are thieves. 10% are vandals. The problem with the press is that they will just add these statistics together to get the impression that ALL children are murderous, promiscuous drug-addicted thieves and vandals.
I can certify, however, that they are all in need of a good kicking from time to time.
I suppose that could be said of many people. If you could give one public figure a good kicking without any repercussions, who would you pick?
Ooh, a tough one. I'm not really a violent person. Confrontational, yes, but all too aware that I'd probably be pounded into the ground by Andre Nel or John Prescott — who are the people I really despise the most. George Bush is a bit obvious, really...
If I was going to take a pop at anyone, it'd probably be Steve Wright. The Radio 2 DJ, not the dry American comedian (who I think is brilliant). Anyone who has been paid for doing exactly the same thing for the last 20 years without anyone complaining, and — what's more — doing it very very badly, deserves a cheap shot. And if you're doing a BOGOF on radio DJs, I'll have a shot at Moylesy too.
To be honest, I'd like to keep Moyles for myself if you don't mind. On to current affairs. Do you think it would be safe to say that so far the only really interesting thing to happen at the Cricket World Cup is the tragic death of Bob Woolmer?
Sadly, I'm not endowed with Sky TV, so I haven't seen too much of the World Cup. For sure, the intrigue surrounding Bob Woolmer is little short of intriguing, but there have been other highlights for me: Ireland playing two stunning matches before succumbing to the Windies; Bermuda's cult hero Dwayne Leverock taking his diving catch and going wobbling around the field, plus Andre Nel and Adam Gilchrist both being struck by the same freak lightning bolt...
Hmm. Maybe I dreamt that last one. Obviously, Bob Woolmer's death isn't so utterly bizarre that it requires either Hercule Poirot or possibly Doctor Who out there in Jamaica to get to the bottom of things. Although I do think the Pakistani hitmen were a bit soft in their choice of killing method: the man was reportedly 'overweight, diabetic and suffering from stress'. Strangling him might not have been the most sensible move, even with Jamaican detectives on the case.
I'm beginning to imagine you may not be in Andre Nel's fan club. Now, if you wouldn't mind indulging me in a Fight Questiontm: who'd win if Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff faced off against Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne in a no-holds-barred drinking contest?
First of all: Andre Nel. No I'm not. He's a nasty, arrogant over-rated piece of scum. The way he treats players from the subcontinent is little short of racism.
A quick Google-war gives 'Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff' 28,700 with only 604 for 'Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne'. If it came down to drinking, I suspect they'd both be soundly thrashed by 2Legs.
I'm rapidly running out of ideas for questions here, so while I think of a good penultimate question, I'll leave you with the following: 'Internet dating. A good thing?'
Penultimate already? You mean after waiting three months3 for this I'm not entitled to a few extra questions?
Internet dating is certainly a good thing, certainly if Reddyfreddy's PPS (pounds per shag) tally is to be believed. Of course, most people round here know that the internet is responsible for my forthcoming marriage (erk! That word still scares me) to Odo, who is still lurking somewhere around the h2g2 fringes.
After she dropped a few less-than-subtle hints at me, I drove 300 miles to meet her in a busy car park. Little did I know at the time that she had concealed several weapons in the back of the car to safeguard against the possibility of my being a drooling pervert (quiet at the back, there!). She then took me home and cooked me spaghetti bolognese. From that point on, I have done all the cooking in our relationship.
A similar thing happened with my and my girlfriend, who now does all the cooking after I managed to set fire to the first meal I ever cooked for her. Said meal was one of your simpler recipes, so seeing as we're miraculously still together I'll give you a few bonus short questions. Seeing as you're a bit of a chef, what's your signature dish?
You set fire to it?! Bloody hell, that's difficult with salad.
A signature dish, eh? Pork in cider vinegar casserole with tarragon, whole garlic cloves and szechuan peppercorns. Topped with a handful of pork crackling and served with mash and green beans. I'm a big fan of pork, coming from Lincolnshire, as I do. I think it is the most versatile of meat - much more flavoursome than chicken and will take on a whole range of flavours, from Mediterranean to Mexican to Indian. Granted, there's not much call for pork in the Middle East, but you have to remember that many curry recipes were originally inspired by European dishes.
Right, one last short one before I can unleash my penultimate question. Would you like to indulge in your football related gloating now, or can we get onto the last two questions?
No, let's do some more questions first.
When I last did this column, nobody seemed to know about Wikipedia. Now people are singling them out as 'rivals' and even going so far as shouting that the EG should be abandoned because Wikipedia's 'won the war'. Surely in the vast reaches of cyberspace, there's room enough for all of us?
I think several points have been made clear. There is obviously very little competition between hootoo and Wiki. They are a massive, dry open-source informative resource; we are homespun, humorous and have the bottleneck of a rigidly-defined editorial process. Obviously, both sides of the coin have their advantages. But if you were — say — a harmonica enthusiast, would you rather read the Wikipedia article (lengthy, dry and boring) or the h2g2 entry (engaging, funny but still written by an expert)?
Wikipedia say there is no room for all of us: they arrogantly, and without good reason, define hootoo as an unreliable source. Why their free-for-all approach should be better is beyond me.
Wikipedia has its use as precisely what its name suggests: an encyclopedia to be used for occasional reference. Any article that involves science is massively over-complicated, and anything that involves pop-culture is desensitised and frequently fails to get to the heart of the matter. The vision for hootoo, as with the original Hitchhiker's Guide, was as a good read for leisure purposes as well as a convenient fund of useful and relevant information.
There is an undeniable problem with the Edited Guide currently. There is a distinct shortage of good, intelligent yet readable entries as a result — I believe — partly because of the cuts in Editorial staff, and because of several long-standing members currently holding their researching in what we hope is abeyance. It is notable that we do now have a good grounding in many topics, so naturally it becomes harder to write new and original Entries. I note that fewer newbies are being encouraged to write for the Guide, also. My own proposition — for an Entry Of The Month vote — appears to have died a death because I haven't received the editorial support I requested.
Finally, the traditional question you've had over two years to think about. What's the most important thing you've learned through being a member of h2g2?
There is no post that cannot be made dirty through the medium of a trite, pithy rejoinder.
Oh, I've also found out that Leeds United have managed to piddle millions of pounds up the wall of Elland Road, sacksix perfectly competent managers, spend great fortunes on a player who has scored eight times as many international goals this season as he has for his club, and get relegated as a result. Ha ha ha ha ha.
Thanks muchly to Master B/Mu Beta and his patience in waiting for that interview. Here's normally where I'd get on my soapbox, but I'm not going to... So until next time, I've been Mr Inquisitor. Tatty Byes!