Sandi Toksvig looks at some non sequiturs with Miles Jupp, Deirdre O'Kane, Phill Jupitus and Alan Davies.
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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Hello and welcome to QI.
Tonight's show will be a nebulous nosebag of non sequiturs.
Nestled in next to me, we have three types of non sequitur.
Affirming the consequent, Miles Jupp.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Denying the antecedent, Deirdre O'Kane.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The fallacy of the undistributed middle, Phill Jupitus.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And getting in a frightful muddle, Alan Davies.
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And for their buzzers, we've got four non-secateurs
because one of the researchers can't spell.
SCISSORS SNIP CRISPLY
SCISSOR BLADES SCRAPE TOGETHER
-On for quite a long time.
-Very bad hairdresser, that is.
Slightly rusty. Phill goes...
KNIFE CHOPPING VEGETABLES
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And Alan goes...
Let's start with a nun-sequitur.
How do you get urine off a nun?
-I don't think that nuns pee at all.
I know a lot about nuns.
-Do you, why's that?
-Because I was educated by them
and it was in a boarding school, so I actually lived with them.
Right. And they never weed?
-I never saw one of them enter or leave a bathroom.
The thing is, they've got those very long frocks on, haven't they?
Very long frocks, and they might have
some kind of divine catheter or something, but they don't...
You don't see them coming out of a bathroom.
The Divine Catheter are a great group, aren't they?
Everybody at home playing QI bingo, that's "Divine catheter."
In the 18th century, women who wore the long frocks,
they used to have the equivalent of a gravy boat
on a sort of ribbon for long church services.
They actually had one of those things we were all just imagining?
Yes, they did. Yes, they did.
A gravy boat on a ribbon.
Is this urine in the picture or is that just something...
"The gravy boat's fallen off!"
That's "The gravy boat's fallen off."
Is it necessary to get urine off nuns?
It was necessary. It was the 1960s.
Oh, it was a condiment, wasn't it, nun wee?
"Have you got a slightly bigger bottle of nun wee?"
Was it to test, pregnancy tests?
It is to do with pregnancy. Women who go through the menopause,
their urine contains very high levels of hormones
that can be used to make medications to increase female fertility,
something the Roman Catholic Church are very much in favour of.
-Hence the horny menopausal women.
-Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
That's another good group.
The Horny Menopausal Women.
I love that band. What a gig.
1960, there was a medical student called Bruno Lunenfeld
and he was looking for a source of menopausal women
who would be happy to give up their urine.
So, this is one of those stories where chance takes a moment in life.
He met the Pope's nephew by chance.
And he's talking about, "Where the heck am I going to find
"a whole lot of menopausal women
"who don't mind about giving up their urine
"who will help with fertility drugs?"
And it was the Vatican and he said,
"I was lucky enough to have a unique connection
"to an important authority with access to a huge supply of postmenopausal urine."
See, they've got their bag, their colostomy bags.
They're disguised as handbags, haven't they?
-Boldly worn on the outside.
-Hiding in plain sight.
Well, here's the thing that might interest you.
Did you know that in the United States,
it's now possible to rent a nun?
No, but I'd say that might be becoming a thing world over,
because there's bound to be a shortage.
Well, we're busy. We're all very busy.
We haven't got time to pray every day,
so the Salesian Sisters of St John Bosco,
they run an Adopt A Sister programme.
You have to give about 500 for the sister's retirement needs
and then she will pray for you every day, saving you the bother.
Will she do light admin as well?
Obviously, do the pray, do the pray, but also,
if you could give the study a once over, that sort of thing.
Do the laundry. They're great at the laundry.
My favourite thing about nuns is the Robert Browning poem
called Pippa Passes that was written in 1841,
and it goes, "Owls and bats, cowls and twats,
"Monks and nuns, in a cloister's moods,
"Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!"
And it's funny because he was under the misapprehension
that twat meant a nun's hat.
Bit of a tight fit.
"Am I wearing it back to front?"
"Have you got a bigger one?"
He said he got the word from a 1660 satirical poem
called Vanity of Vanities,
"They talked of his having a Cardinal's Hat,
"They'd send him as soon an Old Nun's Twat".
He thought that must mean hat.
Now, this is the non sequiturs show and that's why, Alan,
we're now going to hit you with a hammer.
Bring on the nerd!
Steve is our resident nerd for tonight,
he's from the science-cum-comedy group Festival of the Spoken Nerd
and he is going to hit Alan with a hammer.
So, the first thing is to wrap your hand in this orange goo.
If you put your hand like that for me, I'm just going to wrap it.
-I'm very trusting, aren't I?
Do you notice I'm not doing it?
Yes, I had noticed that.
If you just gently press it with your finger.
Very soft. You wouldn't think that would afford any kind of protection
-against the hammer.
This is the point where I say don't try this at home, OK?
-Are you feeling anything there?
How is it? Is there any pain or anything?
A little bit.
What is it, Steve, is it silly putty or something?
It's not silly putty.
So, don't try this at home with silly putty,
-because you will break your fingers.
-What is it, then?
This is called D3o, it's sort of a smart material.
It's a non-Newtonian fluid.
-A non-Newtonian fluid?
OK, so you're going to have to start with, what is a Newtonian fluid?
A Newtonian fluid is...
Are you like this with your lover?
Do not answer that question, Steve.
So, Newton came up with some equations
that describe how normal liquids and gases behave,
but this doesn't behave like Newton described.
It behaves as a normal liquid most of the time,
but if you strike it, then the molecules lock together
and momentarily form a solid that protects your fingers.
You could make your own non-Newtonian at home?
-What would you do?
Cornflour and water, if you mix that together.
-Which is called?
OK, so oobleck, after the gooey green rain
in Dr Seuss's Bartholomew And The Oobleck.
So, we have made some.
We're going to try and do this as a demonstration.
I have to just manipulate...
This is a condom.
I say that because somebody had to explain it to me earlier.
She was walking around with it on her head for ages.
You should have been here when she tried to make a giraffe.
So, in here is a raw egg in its shell
and we've got two condoms.
One which has just got water and a raw egg,
and I'm going to try and drop this from a great height.
OK. Are we ready?
OK, so this one is just water,
and I'm going to drop it into the QI frying pan. Are we ready?
Here we go.
-Whoa, that's broken.
-That was very pleasing. A very pleasing result.
So, now, this is the theory.
OK. The theory is that this one should survive.
And there we go. The egg is fully intact.
CHEERING AND WHISTLING
But seriously, don't hit anybody at home
because you've made a bit of cornflour.
-That was amazing.
-That's not a good idea.
Now, would you want to be pulled off by a Newark man?
-You would. You would.
Newark in the Midlands or Newark, New Jersey?
Newark, New Jersey.
-Noo-wark, as they say.
-So good they named it once.
Yes. Just Newark. That's it.
I can tell you, he was the Newark steam man.
So, is this something to do with the train, your train,
he pulls you off of your carriages?
-In a yard?
-We're talking 1868.
Two fantastic American inventors, one called Zadoc P Dederick.
-There's a name.
-He was going to come up with something at some point.
And Isaac Grass. And they invented the Newark steam man.
He was intended to replace horses in pulling carriages,
so what you did was you opened his jacket and you put coal in his chest
-and then his top hat worked as a chimney.
Oh, if only Abe Lincoln had been wearing one of them in the Ford Theatre.
Unfortunately, they were never able to make them cheaply enough
to produce on a large scale.
It did absolutely capture the public imagination.
There were loads and loads of similar ones.
-Do you like them? I think they're great.
This is another prototype by Frank Reade Junior.
Lots of people tried. There was a Canadian called George Moore
and he designed one in 1893.
It was 6-foot tall, steam powered, it was an android.
It could walk 5mph and ejected the steam from his cigar.
Journalists called him the Iron Man.
Sadly he was made of tin, but that's journalists for you.
-Did he have little wheels on his feet?
-This one had spurs.
If you look at the bottom of his feet,
he's got little spurs to give him traction.
This one didn't work so well because he had to be attached to a pole
and basically he just walked round in circles.
He'd trip over things, wouldn't he?
-Do you think horses felt in any way threatened by these things?
"Have you seen what they're doing?
"They put a hat on a chimney."
I like the idea that the horses were running a closed shop.
-"Listen, we pull the stuff."
That's their way of getting around the unions, essentially.
Yes, an equine society, I like that.
Deirdre, a better use of steam power,
so causing more pleasure... for women in particular.
Are you talking about some kind of steam-powered vibrator?
I am! Yes.
Not an iron. Ohhh!
That photograph does look like there was an iron taken to her there.
If not flattened, you'd certainly take the crease out of it.
In 1869, OK,
the very first steam-powered...
Did it have a whistle on it?
I can hear Queen Victoria now.
"Summon Mr Brunel."
"I'd like a word."
Women did go and have this done in doctors' surgeries. They did.
I don't know how anyone would have found it exciting
because there was a coal-fired boiler and a turbine, OK?
It was called the manipulator.
-It was a respected medical instrument until the 1920s
and certainly there was no end of women trying to get an appointment.
Queueing round the block.
Now for something completely different.
Could you please do an impression of a trout faking an orgasm?
Oh, Deirdre's off.
It looks like you had a really bad face-lift.
-Well, I was trying to be a sarcastic trout.
-A sarcastic trout.
-It'll be the gills, it would be like...
-A trout faking an orgasm.
-Is that it?
-Yeah, I'm done.
Yeah, no, yeah, yeah, the river moved for me as well.
Anybody else want to show...
You do a fine line in animal impersonations.
Well, I'm not sure. I feel like I'd have to move my tail.
-I'm sure the tail...
-I don't believe anybody is stopping you.
If you've just tuned in,
that was Alan being a trout faking an orgasm.
The mouth open and the tail wiggling.
So, here's the thing, female trouts do fake orgasms, OK?
When two trout prepare to spawn,
they quiver rather violently
before releasing egg and sperm respectively.
So they did a study on this, 2001,
and they found that 69 out of 117 pairings, so it is quite a lot...
-Yes, ironically, 69.
..females did not release her eggs
despite going through the quivering motions
and tricking the mate into releasing his sperm.
Why would she do this? It allows her to save herself for a better trout.
-It also allows
multiple males to deposit sperm on her
before she releases the eggs. So, you know when you open a trout,
you can see if they've got eggs in, you know she was a faker.
But also what I like about it,
there's got to be a thing of trout etiquette, she's just going,
"No offence, honestly, you tried," she says to the boy, "But...
"Yeah, that wasn't quite up to scratch."
You don't think of trout being choosy but they must be.
-I didn't know they could talk.
So as this is non sequiturs,
this doesn't lead me to wonder,
why was Squirrel Nutkin such a lying bastard?
I should know this because I've been to the Beatrix Potter Museum.
-Have you? Where is it, the Lake District somewhere?
It's quite good.
-If you like Beatrix Potter, it's amazing.
So we've been talking about lying, faking orgasms.
-It's to do with colour, is it?
-Is it because he was ginger?
Well, Squirrel Nutkin as you rightly point out was a red squirrel,
but most other squirrels tend to pretend that
they've buried their food to trick potential thieves.
They dig a hole, they pretend to put a nut inside and cover it up,
all the time, the nut is actually still in their mouth.
And then they also re-cache,
so they bury nuts and then they return to them soon afterwards,
dig them up and bury them somewhere else.
They sometimes do this five times with the same stash.
But they did a study in 2008, almost a quarter of all squirrel burials,
that's of food at some sites, not of each other...
-It's too late, you said squirrel burials so now...
They're gorgeous but they're like...
They're mainly unmarked but you do see little headstones occasionally.
But here is the thing, there's been a debate since at least 1884
and it rages on whether squirrels remember where they hide their nuts
or whether they just hide as many as they can
and then return to a likely place.
Well, there have been studies since 1881.
There was one in 1991, a study done at Princeton.
So, they don't have a conclusion.
No. The thing is, it rages on.
It rages on.
There was a fantastic story about a squirrel in 2015.
A squirrel got locked into the bar of Honeybourne Railway Club
in Worcestershire for the day, OK?
It got drunk and caused £300 worth of damage.
So the club secretary, Sam Boulter, he said that
all he could find was broken glass and bottles knocked off shelves.
There was beer all over the floor,
there was money and straws scattered everywhere
and he found the culprit hiding behind a box of crisps looking, he said,
"..and worse for wear."
And now it's time for a game of Pin The Tail On The Numbat.
So you've got a card with a numbat on it and a tail and the other team,
you can just watch, so you could have a cup of tea if you like.
-So you've got some tea things.
However, you're going to have to be blindfolded.
This is QI so this is the blindfold that you're going to wear.
Who do you want to do the pinning?
-These are weird.
But Phill is going to wear that as his blindfold.
These particular goggles mean that the person wearing them
sees the world upside down.
-OK? So, if you...
Oh, my goodness.
-If you want to have...
-Oh, I haven't been like this since my 18th birthday.
If you want to have some idea at home what that is like,
we can flip the picture on the monitors.
That is what Alan is currently seeing.
And he is just going to give it a go.
I can't see the thing.
-Where is it?
-Wrong side of the board.
There it is. There.
-Oh, I can't... Oh!
-There's the zebra crossing.
-Does it make you feel unwell, Alan?
-Yeah, it does.
Hang on. Oh, this is really awful.
-Hang on, I think I've got it now.
I'll go the other way. This is hard.
-I'm going to put it there.
Right, Phill, pour a cup of tea for Deirdre, please.
Sugar, upside-down Irish lady?
-Just the tea.
It's really weird.
Oh, Nelly Furtado.
So that's it upside down.
To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left.
I don't know, don't talk to me!
-What does it feel like, Phill?
Oh, oh, ohh...
Are you getting used to it?
-Well done. Just...
-Go for it.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
So, here's the thing, what is extraordinary, in a sense,
the goggles are actually correcting your vision,
because your eyeballs, of course, deliver upside-down images
to your retinas which then are inverted by the brain.
So upside-down glasses actually show you the image
as it originally is when it hits your retina.
If you wore them for a sustained period of time,
the brain would adjust to the new vision.
You would learn to function with it.
It would take you a couple of weeks.
And then it would take you a full day
when you took them off to readjust.
And there's some thought that new-born babies,
it's possible they see the world upside down for a short period
before their brain learns to flip the image in the retinas.
I mean, we do know for certain that babies see things
in much more detail than we do,
so a baby that is less than six months old can recognise
different monkeys just by their faces alone.
And as we get older, we can only do that with human faces,
it's called perceptional narrowing.
We lose that gift quite early on.
They also have the capacity to learn four million languages or something, don't they?
-But they just don't bother.
-They can't be arsed.
-Eventually they can barely speak English.
I like the idea of playing Pin The Tail On A Numbat.
Anyone know where they are? Where they live? Numbats?
-Australia. Small Australian marsupial.
They eat 20,000 termites a day.
They're generally rather quiet but if they are disturbed,
they make a tutting noise.
"What did you do that for, Craig?"
"I'm trying to sleep off my termites."
But they sleep for as much as 15 hours a day.
They have the most ingenious way of protecting their burrow.
They climb in head first and then they reverse out,
they've got rather a tough bottom
and they reverse out till it wedges the entrance shut.
It prevents MOST predators wanting to come in.
And they've evolved so much that as they reverse out of their burrow,
-HE MIMICS REVERSING LORRY BEEPING
"Numbat reversing. Numbat reversing."
Right, let's put your props away, please.
Go down into your hole.
Now, for a question on nutritional networking.
What's the first rule of fat club?
I'm not allowed to say.
Don't talk about fat club?
Do we think it's a real thing, fat club?
-What do you reckon, Deirdre?
-There probably is a fat club.
Well, there were, is the thing.
They existed all over the United States in the late 1800s
and the early 1900s.
-To be a member, you had to be at least 200lb.
-So that's, what is that? 14st...
14st 3. And if you weren't heavy enough to attend,
you were not allowed to come in.
-Yeah, you're right.
-If you're on 14st 4 and you go to the loo,
you might come out at 14st 3.
It was really popular.
The New England fat men's club had 10,000 members at its peak.
The meetings involved really huge meals,
followed by physical activity such as leapfrog.
And then we all gather round the defibrillator.
Britain had them and if you didn't weigh enough, in Britain,
you had to pay a fine to charity.
We've still got them, they're called schools.
GROANING AND SHOCKED LAUGHTER
Satire, come on!
And you could buy things for obese people at the time.
You could buy spring-loaded roller-skates
and the boost provided by the spring depended on the weight on it.
So a 150lb person could get moving at 6mph
but a 200lb person would reach 10mph.
The fatter you were, the faster you would go.
And if you were under 100lb, the skates just...
-Nothing. Nothing happening.
-Do you not feel that this is just a way of
exterminating the fat?
If you weighed 300lb, you went at 70mph into an oncoming train.
The first rule of fat club is that you have to be fat.
And now, the bit of the non sequiturs show
where nothing follows.
General ignorance. Fingers on buzzers, please.
Who's in charge in a pack of wolves?
-The one in the hat.
Is there not one?
Yeah. They used to think that a pack of wolves had an alpha male
who's won through a contest or a rivalry or something.
In reality, most wolf packs are just families
and the leaders of those families are the parents.
The concept of the alpha male was popularised by a wildlife biologist
called David Mech in the 1960s.
He has spent the rest of his career
trying to convince people he was wrong.
Yes. It was based on a study of captive wolves
where natural behaviour goes completely out of the window.
Now, do an impression of a gun with a silencer being fired.
No. They cannot eliminate the sound of a gun.
They don't even call them silencers these days.
They're called moderators in the UK, suppressors in the United States.
They can easily be heard if used in public,
so criminals never bother with the silencer.
Now, what did Tommy Cooper wear on his head?
Thank you. A fez.
No, a fez comes from Turkey, his came from Egypt.
It's called a tarboosh. And they're slightly different.
A fez is a little bit shorter than a tarboosh.
-It's a bit wider at the base...
-It can affect your gait.
It can affect your...!
They are very, very heavy hats.
Always bend at the knee.
Apparently, Cooper was entertaining the troops in Cairo
and he'd forgotten his helmet that he always wore onstage,
so he swiped it off a waiter's head.
And, this is a lovely story, later in life,
he tried one on in a Cairo market
and the seller, who didn't recognise him, said, "Just like that."
And Cooper said, "Why did you say that?"
And the seller said, "Because every single English person
"who ever comes here..."
"..tries one and says that,
"and you're the very first person who hasn't said it."
Strictly speaking, of course, it shouldn't even be called a hat,
it's actually a cap because a hat has a rim and a cap has no rim.
Now, to finish off, a spelling test.
You'll see a series of true facts on the screen and I want you to buzz
as quickly as you can to tell me which is the correct spelling, A or B.
So let's have a look.
-Which one is correct?
-A is correct.
A is correct, very, very good.
OK, next one.
A is correct. Very, very good.
And let's look at the next one.
-You think B is true?
-No, nobody died.
-A horse died, didn't he?
Nobody died, but somebody was dyed, is the truth of it.
So it's often claimed that an extra was trampled underfoot
in the Charlton Heston film, not true.
But a man was dyed, D-Y-E-D on the set.
They had a pond and the water was too brown and murky
so they put loads of blue dye in it.
And during one of the battle scenes, an extra fell in and...
was dyed blue, and generously,
MGM kept him on the payroll until he returned to his normal colour.
And that brings me to the scores. Oh, well.
It's rather magnificent. In first place,
with an astonishing two points,
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In second place with a very creditable minus 2, Alan.
Oh, thank you.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
With minus 5 in third place, it's Phill.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Deirdre, the nuns would be proud.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
It only remains for me to thank Deirdre, Phill, Miles and Alan
and I leave you with this from the Sunday Correspondent.
Jack Rains, a candidate for governor of Texas,
has come up with his own ten-point educational plan
to combat innumeracy and illiteracy in the US.
When someone pointed out that his plan only contained nine points,
Mr Rains replied, "You just pointed your finger
"and emphasised the problem we're trying to resolve."