A political history of The Clangers

Plus: The worst place to spend Ramadan, Brummie call centres and American ethnicities

20 June 2015

9:00 AM

20 June 2015

9:00 AM

Dropping the Clangers

The Clangers made a comeback on BBC television. Some Clanger facts:
— The actors doing the voices worked from a script in English, even though they were playing seemingly unintelligible noises on the swanee whistle. It was a good job the young viewers didn’t understand Clanger-language, because the creatures were known to tell each other to ‘sod off’.
— The last Clanger episode, made after a gap of two years, was made specially to be broadcast on the evening of 10 October 1974, polling day in the second general election of that year. It consisted of the Clangers being taught how to play party politics, but rejecting the concept. It was written by co-creator Oliver Postgate after he become angry about the miners’ strike.
— The Clanger election was won by the candidate on the right, the Soup Dragon.

Fast times

Muslims were divided over whether to observe the requirement to fast for the whole period between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan when, as this year, the festival begins at the summer solstice. How long would a strict fast last this weekend?

London 16 hr 38 min
Manchester 17 hr 1 min
Edinburgh 17 hr 36 min
Lerwick, Shetlands 18 hr 55 min
Narvik, northern Norway 4 weeks*

*Sun will set on 21 July, two days after Eid al-Fitr.Source: ON

True calling

A psychologist at the University of South Wales claimed that Britons consider Brummie accents less intelligent. Does this affect where companies put call centres?
More than 6%: North West, North East, Scotland
5-6%: Yorkshire and Humber
3-4%: Wales, West Midlands, South East, East Midlands, Northern Ireland
2-3%: South West, Eastern England
Less than 2%: London
Source: ContactBabel

Race card

Campaigner Rachel Dolezal resigned from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after her parents said she faked being mixed race. How do Americans define their ethnicities?

White, non-Hispanic 63%
Hispanic  17%
African-American 13%
Asian 5.1%
Mixed race 2.4%
Native American 1.2%

Source: US Census Bureau

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  • Damaris Tighe

    For me the worst place to spend Ramadan is Jeddah, having been dumped there overnight when our plane lost one of its engines. Big problem transferring the alcoholic duty frees from the old plane to the new.

    • Gilbert White

      Wondered how you actually managed the transfer?

      • Damaris Tighe

        Ah, my Jeddah story is a long one usually saved up for social occasions! The transfer was complicated, as the Saudis themselves wouldn’t touch the alcohol. In the end they got foreign airport workers to do it. But it took some negotiating by the people who arranged our trip (we were a convention, travelling back from the Seychelles).

        The WAGs’ dress* (or lack of it) was also a problem but they could do nothing about that as all alternative clothing was in the hold. Another potential problem was that our passports were taken & some had Ben Gurion Airport stamped in them.

        * I was an honorary male in the 80s.

  • Dan O’Connor

    Worst place to spend Ramadan ?

    I think it’s a toss up between Londonistan , Malmo-istan in Sweden , Kreuzberg-istan in Berlin or the 751 and climbing no-go-istans of the French Zones Urbanes Sensibilies
    Thanks a milllion Mr Lefty. We own you one and we always pay our debts .

  • Apaliteno

    Worst place to spend Ramadan? I’d like to propose the Malaysian state of Kedah (for school children at least) where a ‘delightful’ teacher proposed the following for the non-muslim children in his class:

    “a senior teacher from a primary school in Sungai Petani, Kedah, who had allegedly told non-Muslim pupils to drink their own urine if they were thirsty during Ramadan.”

    • Damaris Tighe

      Maybe he or she wanted to emulate Beslan, where the child hostages did indeed have to drink their own urine.

      • Apaliteno

        Either that, or he/she was showing the normal level of concern muslim-majority countries have for their non-muslim citizens.

  • jeffersonian

    Is there a good place to ‘celebrate’ Ramadan?

    Perhaps by paying one’s respects at Lee Rigby’s grave?