Inbetweeners and an unintended joke


Pic courtesy of Paul Skinner

Younger Son is at that early stage of manhood, finally free to explore life’s heights and depths en route to finding his own concept of the happy medium.

One minute, the gratifying old fogey in him is expressing sadness that tweed suits are no longer in fashion, the next, he’s settling in for his nightly dose of utter squalor, courtesy of The Inbetweeners.

NSFW? This half-hour filthfest, fixated with life beneath the waist, is barely suitable for civilised society. Its one redeeming feature is that it is consistently – and I hate myself for writing this – hilarious.

Last night’s biggest gag, however, was one the scriptwriters hadn’t planned, unless it was intended as incredibly subtle irony, which would make it unique in the sitcom’s history.

The four heroes are out on a boat in Swanage harbour. One of them throws an unbaited fishing line overboard for the hell of it and a few minutes later, a fish comes aboard.

It’s a rainbow trout.

I know factual accuracy isn’t what drives this programme, but for goodness sake, television people, would it kill you to do just a smidgeon of research?



The headline is from Field & Stream. The books, you’ll have to read for yourself but as for their titles, none come better than this. Click image for more details


I don’t know what it is about American publishers, but for covers, paper quality and titles, their books scream “read me” in a way rarely emulated by their UK counterparts. This is just the latest example. Would make me smile every time I saw it.

They still advertise like this…?

Every now and then, my assumption that western civilisation evolves at a more or less even tempo receives a jarring wake-up call. Today is one of those occasions.

Somewhere in Ohio, apparently, it is still 1978.

How the years slip away and Benny Hill’s face moves into crisper focus, as I watch someone called Joe Jordan and R&R Bait & Tackle combine their promotional efforts around  a single theme. And fishing.

Joe at least, might just have got away with his part of the deal, so willing was I to extend him the benefit of the doubt and assume that the bikini’d young woman who opens the clip is his wife or girlfriend. On reflection, he may feel that the part where he has to check what her name is should never have survived the first edit.

This, however, pales alongside the advertising intermission at the 33-second mark. It’s not the body of Bikini Woman number 2, holding up an ‘Open Seven Days a Week Sign’ in the floats aisle, that lingers in the memory, so much as the body language.

This is either a model, slowly coming to terns with the fact that she’s drawn the day’s short straw down at the agency, or else a long-suffering staff member mentally calculating  before our eyes what ‘taking one for the team’ will cost her employer in bonuses and free bait.

We return to Joe and his associate, reeling in bass and pike in northern Michigan, before popping back to R&R at the 4:47 point, where a young woman in hot pants (probably the accountant) wants to tell us that you can’t go wrong with Weld-craft fishing boats. Lest there be any doubt on that score, the camera cuts to a photo of the said vessel, with another woman in a bikini draped across its back end, clearly savouring every second aboard “the most reliable, durable boat on the planet”.

All told, this peek into Joe and R&R’s parallel universe runs to almost 12 minutes, and even as you hope that there might yet be some ironic, self-aware punchline that makes everything all right, the clip blindsides you once more, closing with a quote from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians – I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.

Whether it’s Joe or the proprietors of R&R Bait and Tackle whose strength needs occasional replenishment isn’t entirely clear.

How’s your freeloading skill set?


Image by Scott Maxwell

What starts as an innocent enough eulogy to blagging freebies at fishing shows turns into a shameless masterclass in the art of proving that there is indeed such a thing as a free lunch.

Were the GoFishing Show still in existence, I and my colleagues manning the stands would have had a field day using the Golden Beetle’s pointers to unmask any copycat impostors.

As it is, should you be in the market for some top-of-the-range gear at this year’s CLA Game Fair, you might be well advised to leave your polo shirt in the wardrobe…

Could this be fishing’s first class-action lawsuit?

Lying3Sam Harris, detester of gods, lover of rationality and the man behind Project Reason (“a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society”) has a book out and if you’re not bristling yet, you should be.

The book’s theme is lying, a human foible he clearly feels is no better embodied than in the likes of you and me.

Forget that the cover’s design is executed with exquisite simplicity, its message is stark and unequivocal (unless it’s some subtle play on the word ‘whopper‘, which I’m not sure plays out the same in American parlance)

Lying and anglers. Bonnie and Clyde. Morecambe and Wise. Entwined and indivisible.

This could be the most open-and-shut libel action ever.

I mean, fishermen being fast and loose with the truth. Where could he have possibly got that idea from?

Not your father’s workplace disciplinary code…

I was prompted to wonder what any of our ancestors, indeed, would have made of my conversation with one of Trout Fisherman‘s regular contributors this lunchtime.

Explaining how he hadn’t been able to access the Korean fishing videos to which I linked yesterday, he told me that his company now has strict Internet filters in place.

This follows discovery by the bosses of a pornography archive among nightshift workers that by all accounts made Hugh Hefner’s mansion look like the Vatican.

In an act of compassion almost unheard of among senior executives, management instituted a two-day amnesty. Lose the filth in 48 hours and you keep your job. No exceptions.

According to my ‘mole’, this sword of Damocles concentrated workers’ minds wonderfully, turning the company car park into a hive of activity normally unknown beyond Hyde Park Corner.

“I knew it were bad,” he tells me, “when one bloke flew back from Tenerife just to clear his hard drive…”