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This programme contains some strong language
good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
and welcome to QI,
where, tonight, we're mixing and matching
a medley of things beginning with M.
Now, let's meet our makers.
The matchless James Acaster.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The match-fit Jo Brand.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The match made in heaven, Bill Bailey.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And match abandoned, Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
So, let's hear you mix.
EGG BEING BEATEN
Yeah, you're beating an egg, I think.
You're on your first warning. LAUGHTER
ELECTRIC WHISK MIXING
Yes, that's masturbation as I know it.
I'd love to know what the machine is, wouldn't you?
Ah, yeah. I like it, yes.
That's masturbation as I know it.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
So, three mixes and Alan goes...
MATCH OF THE DAY THEME PLAYS
-Ah, you see.
So, on with the game.
Now our first "M" tonight is "M" for metals.
Can you see anything on this board, here, that does not contain metal?
-You've got a mushroom,
the balloon, a stack of coins,
a monkey, a star, an Alan Davies...
-of some kind.
-An Alan Davies.
Well, bodies do contain metal, so it can't be...
-It can't be you...
-Alan, you contain metal.
-Enough iron to make a nail.
-Yeah, just Alan.
-Just Alan. He can make a nail.
But no, that's right, isn't it?
The body contains enough iron to make a nail -
phosphorus, carbon, water...
You could boil it down to a half-decent kids' party.
You could get a paddling pool, some fireworks and a tequila slammer.
-All inside us, churning away.
-All inside. So, it can't be Alan.
No, it's not me. And I don't... I'm...
-Things that grow probably have got metal in them...
-..that's my thinking.
The fact is, you've brilliantly avoided everything
cos all those things contain metals.
When the universe was created...
4,000 years ago...
-4,000 years ago, as it says in the Bible.
-..by our Lord.
..only two elements were created at that time.
Gold and silver.
-Frankincense and myrrh.
Cheese and pickle.
-They are still the most abundant elements in the universe.
99% of the universe is composed of?
Helium and sarcasm.
-Hydrogen is correct.
And then the first two elements to be created,
after hydrogen and helium,
which are both gases,
were both metals.
Imagine God was rather depressed by having created the universe.
-I should think he bloody well was. I would be.
So, if you're depressed, what's the metal you'd go for?
Lithium was one of them and the other was beryllium.
-Beryllium, I love that one.
And how were they created? What was the process?
It was in the stars.
-You're on fire.
Like the stars, very good.
And in that fusion, EVERYTHING was made.
And we are, as Carl Sagan famously said, we are made of star stuff.
We are made of the stuff that was created in those fusion moments.
Yes, we are.
And astronomers call anything
that isn't the first two,
hydrogen and helium, a metal -
even if it's oxygen.
Are some people made of heavy metal?
Lemmy from Motorhead.
Death metal. That's a good one.
Yeah. Thrash metal.
Nu metal, when I was a teenager.
What's nu metal?
It was rap and metal together.
It went very badly.
-Yeah, there was quite a lot of...
Quite a lot of that in it, yeah.
There was one I was told about that was a mixture of techno and disco...
and it was called Tesco.
Then there was Valium metal
and Tesco's own brand metal.
Yeah, the human body contains a lot of metal, even gold.
How many human beings
would you need to extract the gold from
before you could make, of them, a gold coin?
Just Mr T.
Yes, just that, yeah.
Very good, that's true.
-One million humans.
-One billion humans.
This could take a long time. 40,000.
And how many different metals have we got inside us?
Very close, it's 48!
In your face!
Did you just point at Alan and say, "Eat it"?
No, I pointed at him and went, "On fire!"
-Oh, "On fire."
It's most impressive.
And you're all right, in many ways.
To astronomers, anything that isn't hydrogen or helium is a metal.
Even apparently normal metals can be quite deceptive,
as this trick shows.
I'm going to get a glass of water
and I'll get a teaspoon.
-Oh, I'll just... To prove that it is water, I'll drink it.
That just proves it might be vodka.
-It proves at least that it's not sulphuric acid or something...
..because what I'm going to do
is try and make this teaspoon disappear.
It may not work.
I'm not a good magician,
I'm a great magician.
And so we stir it here and I...
Oh, don't, Oh, no...
Oh, it might not work, it might work, I don't know.
-Yeah, it seems to have worked.
There you are. Thank you.
That's rather good, isn't it?
In fact, on this occasion, it wasn't a magic trick
and it's something you can do.
I'll give you your water and you'll notice the water is rather warm.
-Oh, it's warm.
-It's warm water.
And I'll give you a couple of spoons.
They are metal, they're metal spoons, but the metal...
Are they made out of Alka-Seltzer?
They might as well be, they're made out of gallium.
And gallium is a metal...
A very useful metal.
-Let's have a look.
-..but it has the quality that it melts,
-as Alan is showing, in water.
Oh, you wouldn't want that of your teaspoon, would you?
No, it wouldn't make a practical teaspoon.
-That's lasting less time than a biscuit.
-Look at that.
Now, if you stir it,
it'll happen more quickly.
-Oh, good lord, look at that.
That would be the most annoying teaspoon in the world.
It really would, wouldn't it?
But it's, like, Terminator's teaspoon.
Yeah, exactly. Terminator 2, it should be said.
Yes. Terminator two-spoon.
-Well, I hope you're impressed with that.
-I'm very impressed.
-It's not poisonous, gallium, so you can drink it again.
LAUGHTER OK. You can put your glasses away.
There you are, top man.
OK, pop away.
Now, why would you spread mustard on your lawn?
So you can... Like, if you stick roast beef on yourself
-and you slide across the lawn...
Somebody's made a graphic of a man mowing some custard.
Imagine you wanted to conduct
a worm census of your lawn,
you wanted to find out how many worms there wah... "There wah"?
-..in your lawn.
-Make them come up out of the earth
with washing-up liquid.
-Is that what you'd use?
That really works a treat, actually.
What, do you put the washing up liquid...?
You just spray washing up liquid on the lawn and they all come up,
"Oh", like that, to help you with the washing up.
And it doesn't harm them?
Oh, it kills them.
This is where your system and mine differ
because my system is just about counting them and not harming them.
-Because it does...
But you can still count them when they're dead.
-It is easier.
-It's true, you're right.
-Dry them out.
-But they're good for aerating the lawn, aren't they?
-So is a pitchfork.
Well, anyway, it irritates them slightly,
but it doesn't kill them.
And, in fact, they did this in America
and discovered that 100% of North American worms are non-native.
All the worms of North America
were wiped out a long time ago.
-Washing up liquid.
-Must have been.
10,000 years ago,
-before washing up liquid.
Ice age is the right answer.
Yeah, they were wiped out.
He's on fire, you're both on fire.
Yeah, the European worms arrived
in the root balls of plants
that were exported to the Americas.
But what else do we...?
Help me with mustard.
You can spread it on your hands if you're trying to give up smoking.
Yes, apparently a friend of mine did that, to try and, you know,
-give up smoking.
-Did it work?
Gas, lethal gas.
Yes, mustard gas.
What was mustard gas? Did it have mustard in it?
It stank, poisonous.
It didn't actually contain mustard.
Nothing to do with mustard, called it only because of the colour of it.
-Well, the colour and the smell.
-And the smell of it.
Sulphur mustard, it was called.
And rather like too much mustard, it could cause blistering.
And there were mustard baths.
A bath of mustard?
Is that a Comic Relief thing?
LAUGHTER No, you'd think it was.
But, funnily enough,
we British have mustard baths all the time, didn't you know that?
According to the National Museum of Mustard,
which is in Middleton, Wisconsin.
I was going to say, it's got to be in America.
They have a National Museum of Mustard and I...
Just be careful,
-because Norwich has a very famous mustard museum as well.
This museum in Middleton, Wisconsin,
it asserts that "bathing in mustard is an English custom
"to this very day."
There you are, that's what they think.
-That's right, over in England, at night they...
Everyone in England asks their butler to draw them a mustard bath.
And you spoke of Coleman's of Norwich...
-..the great mustard company of Norwich.
They provided quite a lot of mustard for Robert Falcon Scott
-and his Discovery Expedition.
-To the South Pole.
As you can see there, he has pots of Coleman's Mustard.
-That's a genuine real photograph...
-Yes, of course.
..not in the least bit touched-up. LAUGHTER
How much did Coleman's, of Norwich, give...
to Captain Scott's team in the 1901/02...?
Two enormous barrels of mustard.
-Actually, they gave them one and a half tonnes...
-One and a half tonnes?!
"TONNES" of mustard.
That's enough for a lot of baths, as well as a lot of food.
Now, from counting worms
to monkeys that count.
What job can even a monkey do?
ELECTRICAL WHISK BUZZER
Is it quantity surveying?
-They might be able to.
-Apologies to all quantity surveyors watching.
-That includes my brother.
-Is your brother...?
-Oh, is he?
-He is a quantity surveyor, yes.
-Does he survey quantities all day?
-Yeah, sadly for him.
-Do you get tired of surveying quantities?
I mean, how many quantities can you survey in one day?
-He can survey 47 quantities in a day.
That's a lot of quantities.
Wow. Well, no, I don't think monkeys can survey quantities.
-They can count.
The person who counts how many people are on the plane
before you take off, that could be a monkey.
That would instil us all with confidence, wouldn't it?
Just before take off,
a small primate comes down the aisle with a clicker.
And he also does the duty frees because no-one ever buys anything.
In Thailand, there is a school.
-A monkey school?
They have between three and six months of training -
the pig-tailed macaques -
and they end up working on a plantation,
where they can pick between 800 and 1,000 whats a day?
-Not bananas cos they'd eat those, wouldn't they?
Between 800 and 1,000 coconuts a day, they can pick.
There they are.
But it's very useful.
So, a lot more than a human could, probably.
But they do they count them as well?
Well, I don't... Those don't, no.
Clicker in one hand.
In the US, they use capuchin monkeys
for a charity called Helping Hands,
which assists people with disabilities,
and they help with feeding,
retrieving dropped items,
changing compact discs,
-turning lights on and off.
And in Tokyo, there's a tavern where...
A traditional sake house,
where macaques are employed
to bring customers hot towels.
I don't want a hot towel off that fella, I'll tell you that.
That is horrible.
Imagine that at the end of your bed at night.
"Hot towel, sir?" Oh, fuck off!
Now, from smart monkeys to smart aleck kids.
Which of these would an ancient Mexican use
to teach children manners?
You've got chocolate, chilli...
A monkey with a baseball bat seems pretty effective.
You definitely would.
You've got to say "please" or you get the monkey with the bat.
I, personally, would use a cactus.
-What would you do with it?
Throw the child at it.
Then you are pretty much on a par with those ancient Mexicans.
Oh, am I?
Yeah. The Aztec or the... SHE MOUTHS
-The Mexica, as they were called...
From which, we get our word Mexico.
..did have a firm, but fair, way of treating their children.
That means "very cruel".
Yeah, I know.
And the Codex Mendoza was written by someone
observing the practices of the Aztecs,
and this is what he found.
Basically, they were taught to be humble, hard-working and polite,
just like British...
Oh, no, what am I talking about? LAUGHTER
So this is how it went.
It begins with an eight-year-old boy
-being threatened with the spines of a cactus.
The following year, he's stripped, bound and pierced
in his neck, side and thigh.
Next year, he's bound and beaten with a pine stick.
The year after that, aged 11, his father holds his son,
bound and weeping over a fire of burning chillies -
as you can see, top right, there.
-All practices carried on in English boarding schools.
Finally, a stroppy 12-year-old is bound and dumped
in a damp vegetable patch for a day
to reflect on his conduct.
By the time he's 13, he's dutifully gathering reeds, as you can see.
Yeah, bearing a terrible grudge.
-Which he will take out on his child.
Unfortunately, that's the way it works.
-So, it's a sort of a meme of cruelty.
-It is, yeah.
But the Huichol Mexicans - and you'll like this, I think, Jo -
they had an interesting practice,
which was, when a woman was pregnant,
she would lie and,
in the room above,
her husband would lie
and he would have strings
attached to his testicles,
which would drop down into the room below -
where his wife was, pregnant.
I'm loving this so far.
She would have...
She would hold the strings and, when she had a contraction,
she would pull... AUDIENCE GASPS
..so that he was forced to share her pain...
He, cunningly, slipped the string off, tied it onto the...
boards of the bed and went to the pub.
Tied it to the dog.
"Tied it to the dog"!
Or his 12-year-old son.
-Oh, we're... Sorry, go on.
-No, carry on.
No, I was going to say a terrible
and a very embarrassing story about testicles, but you carry on.
-Oh, I want your testicle story.
-All right, then.
Well, we had this dog and it got into the bed
and it started to lick...
the wrong set of testicles.
-That's all I'm saying.
-LAUGHTER AND GASPS
Surely everybody wins?
-Everyone's a winner.
Not everyone, Stephen.
I haven't been back.
Yeah, the Mexica people of Mexico
used a very hands-on variety of tough love.
And speaking of hands, what's this man doing with his other hand?
-It's M, it's M...
-It begins with M.
-It begins with M.
He could be doing anything, Stephen.
Is it something beginning with M?
If that was me, it would be me trying to work out how the...
-..bloody thing works with a printer.
-Well, it does begin with M.
-If I tell you that he's a professor.
-He's got a massive mouse on his leg.
You're right to think of an animal cos he's a scientist -
a professor at the University of Kentucky.
Has he got his finger stuck in a moose?
He's a Mexican, he's a Mexican man,
and he's pressing a child against a cactus under the desk.
He's a cruel man.
He is Professor Grayson Brown
and he's an entomologist of a particular kind.
A culicidologist, if that makes any sense to you.
Mosquitoes is the right answer.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
He's very serious in his study of mosquitoes
and he was allowing 1,000 mosquitoes -
as he does every morning,
while he carries on doing his e-mails -
to feast on his arm.
His body is so used to it they no longer leave a mark, apparently.
It's most bizarre.
Asian mosquitoes are very picky,
they only, ONLY, feast on humans...
They won't eat the blood of any other animal.
..and, in order to keep them happy,
obviously they need a big supply of blood.
So, he and his fellow workers...
And some animals, it has to be said, in his lab,
also supply the blood for other breeds of mosquito -
but, for the Asian ones, it's just humans.
And, of course, they have to keep them breeding.
Now, they're odd, these Asian mosquitoes,
cos they're really a bit lazy.
I suppose they produce so many thousands...
What's he trying to find out?
I mean, what is there left to know about these creatures?
Well, given how many millions of people they kill every year,
it's kind of... You can't know enough.
Cos they kill more, as you know, than wars.
But in order to get them to mate, to force-mate them.
Play some Barry White, give them some wine.
Well, that's what I thought but, in this case,
-they decapitate the male...
-Oh, that's different.
-No, no, that wouldn't work.
-Good so far.
LAUGHTER ..they anaesthetise the female.
They then insert the male's genitals
into his unconscious partner.
Despite the lack of the male's head,
and the lack of the female's consciousness,
the insects lock together,
sperm is transferred
and the female becomes pregnant.
Does that happen with humans? SHE MOUTHS
-Well, if you have enough Jagermeister,
-I suppose it will, yeah.
And a skilled entomologist can do this without a microscope.
That's nothing to brag about though, is it?
No, it probably isn't.
"Oh, I can make mosquitoes bang without a microscope."
We had a pair of preying mantis once in the kitchen,
In a... You know, in the tank, obviously.
And I came home one night and the male praying mantis
was on the kitchen floor
walking across, like, towards the door.
And I went, "Oh, no, he's got out of the t... Oh, what a shame."
And I carefully scooped him up
and I placed him back in the tank, very gently,
and the female pounced and bit his head off and...
..he was clearly making a break for it.
-Oh, because they do.
-The whole time, "No, don't put me back there. Oh."
-The females do eat the males, don't they?
-Yes, they do.
-So, they must have just mated.
-They must have just...
-And he was off.
-Yeah. Oh, dear, oh, dear.
But now it's time to move on
to the low-hanging fruit
of General Ignorance.
What do magpies like to steal?
Of course, everyone knows that! Come on!
Oh, Alany, Alany, Alany-walany, Alany-walany-woo.
-No. We think they do, but they don't.
-We've done tests. Well, we haven't, people have.
Out of 64 of them, magpies picked up a shiny object only twice
and then immediately dropped it.
They're not interested in shiny things.
Like all animals, they're interested in things that look like food or...
that they can shag. LAUGHTER
The... It's folklore surrounding them seems to be just that -
But the Italian for magpie...
leads to an interesting thing.
-FAUX ITALIAN ACCENT:
That's an awfully nice thought.
Do you know the Rossini opera, The Thieving Magpie?
Called "La Gazza Ladra".
"Gazza" is a magpie
and a little magpie, "gazzetta".
-Oh, it's the newspaper.
-Called the "gazzetta".
A newspaper - gazette.
And that's it, the gossipy chatter,
-like a magpie.
That's where we get that word, "gazette".
-I like... I quite like that one.
-Yeah, me too.
Also, if I were to say that the magpie's real name is a pie,
it's a pie.
Then where does the "mag" come from?
Where did that come from?
In medieval England, it was common
to give birds a Christian name, sometimes,
and the ones that have survived have included magpie.
-Which other ones can you...?
Robin's the only one where the first name is the one that's kept...
-No, big Dave Starling.
Joseph would have been funny.
Joseph Starling is good, yeah. I like that. I prefer that.
-Not as funny as Dave, but it's better.
-Tomtit. Jenny Wren.
So there are a few of them.
-We had an injured bird in the garden yesterday...
..and it looked like a magpie, and it couldn't take off,
and I was watching it for ages. I didn't know what to do with it,
so I opened the back gate and shooed it out.
-What do you think it was, then? What make?
-"The back gate."
-I think it was a young crow...
..that was having a bit of trouble with flight
-because it flew into a bush...
..and I presume it's dead by now.
-That's it, you...?
-And that's the end of tonight's Springwatch.
What could you have done with it?
-I don't know, what are you going to do with a bird?
-Shoot it, shoot it.
-Take it out.
-Sniper's rifle, through the brain.
-I could have gone after it
because it was in the garden and couldn't get out.
-I could have easily got it with a tennis racket.
-Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Just scoop it up with a tennis racket
-and hit it with a frying pan...
..and chuck it over the wall. That's what I would do.
And then its parents would have come and ate it, wouldn't they?
-Yeah, that's right.
-Let's face it, it is the wild.
Even if it is Hampstead.
It's wild for them, though.
They've have had it in a coulis.
A crow couscous.
With some quinoa.
I wonder what its name was.
Clive, I expect.
No, I think it was Vel.
Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
So, magpies aren't particularly interested in shiny objects.
How many paintings did Vincent Van Gogh -
or "Goch," or "Gough," or "Go"...
How many did he sell while he was alive?
Don't say none.
None! I'm going to say none.
Really, I'm afraid...
-A few, maybe?
It was lots. He sold hundreds of paintings.
-Yeah, when he was 15,
he used to work in an art gallery.
-Oh, shut up!
I just asked you how many paintings...
This is the closest I've come to walking out of this show!
I'd like a recount on those two.
It was a horribly mean question,
but the fact is he did sell hundreds -
they just weren't his own.
He was very good at selling them too,
he did extremely well and
it was a big French company
and his brother, Theo,
ran the Montmartre branch,
and Vincent relocated, after a while, to the London branch.
And he spent two years in London, living in Brixton,
and he called it the happiest time of his life.
Yeah, he did really well and he loved it.
-Good fun in Brixton.
-It was good fun, it's a good place.
He would have gone and got some chicken from CHICKENliquor,
that's real nice.
-Is that your manor?
I used to live in Brixton and...
do you know what I nearly did then?
-I nearly called you "man" and then I stopped myself.
-I just want you to appreciate that.
-I really do. Thank you.
-Anyway, perhaps the most surprising thing we'll all learn today...
..is that, after Brixton,
he came back to the UK in 1876,
and Vincent Van Gogh...
as a supply teacher in Ramsgate.
-Isn't that wonderful?
-That's a big surprise, isn't it?
-It is. It is, yeah.
I wonder if the children remembered him for years afterwards...
-Mr Van Gogh?
-..as a flame-haired figure.
-Then he became a painter, supported financially
and, indeed, emotionally by his brother, Theo.
He suffered from tinnitus, vertigo and, of course, depression
and he killed himself aged 37.
Only one of his 900 paintings
was sold in his lifetime.
Sold to a remarkable woman called Anna Boch,
who was, herself, a painter.
-One. You said one!
-I said one.
-You said one.
I asked how many paintings, not how many of his own paintings.
I know, I'm sorry, but, look, I did say...
Chairman of the Pedantic Association.
"It's actually the Society of Pedantics, but I'll let that go."
Yes, exactly, in fact. LAUGHTER
Anna Boch paid 400 francs
for a painting of his called The Red Vineyard,
which is rather beautiful.
And with that, the final whistle has blown and...
..the match has come to an end.
It's actually a very extraordinary series of scores.
In first place, with plus eight...
Yes, she was on fire, Jo Brand.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In second place...
with minus seven, it's James.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In third place...
with minus 32, is Bill Bailey.
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In fourth place...
with minus 41, Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Thank you very much, thank you.
So, all that remains for me
is to pull up the corner flags,
thank James, Bill, Jo and Alan,
and to leave you with this classic piece of Ron Atkinson.
When asked about what made the perfect match,
"Well, Clive, it's all about the two M's -
"movement and positioning."