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Hello, I'm Frank Skinner and welcome to Room 101. This week providing the
whinge beneath my wings are -
look at me, Geri Horner,
lift me up, Katherine Ryan, and mi chico Latino, Adam Buxton.
So what is winding up, Katherine?
We have evolved beyond the need of phone calls, they are an ambush.
I am not ever in a position where I want to have an immediate
back-and-forth conversation with someone, it is too intimate,
it is too much pressure.
It's like somebody standing nude in my bedroom.
I'm like, "How dare you?! You make an appointment with me
"if you would like to make a phone call."
I do not want anyone ringing me on the phone and having a chat.
No, never. I'm not answering it.
I've even trained people not to leave voicemails.
I have a very hostile greeting.
Yet, people persist!
They ring me all the time!
My dad rings me!
Builders ring me!
People ring me looking for money that I owe them.
I don't want to answer it.
-I just won't answer it.
-I know what you mean, it's very intrusive.
-Thank you, yes.
-I don't like it when people switch media on you.
So you text someone and then they phone you back.
That is, what are you doing?
-It's like a duel!
If I turn up with a sword for a...
Don't turn up with a flintlock pistol!
When I've decided how we're going to do it.
And I really love the multimedia of texting,
you can include so many embellishments now.
I really love a jolly GIF.
I have group chats, you can get so much done without using your voice.
My mother: "I just wanted to hear your voice."
"I moved away from you, no."
My dad rings me and identifies himself three times,
even though it says who it is.
He'll go, "Hello, Katherine, it's me, your father, Finbar Ryan."
And I'm like...
"Yeah, I know it is.
Did you not...? When you were younger, though,
didn't you have conversations with romantic partners?
I'm not too old to date.
But... Yeah, OK, so if I'm in a new relationship,
I get really excited when that person rings and I want to talk to them.
For about three weeks and then they can text me,
they know where I live if they want it.
The only thing that really winds me up when you're talking to
-someone on the phone and it cuts out...
And they always come back and say, "I don't know what happened there."
"Of course you don't!"
You'd need some sort of knowledge of network coverage,
of basic radio wave technology...
Ideally, you'd be in the central HQ of the phone company.
You'll never know what happened there! Get over it!
Now Skype, I find terrifying.
The whole thing, FaceTime, I just don't want to be seen when I'm talking.
You know, ringing in sick used to be just about your vocal skills.
Now you've got to buy a drip.
It's really ruined that.
My current boyfriend is a millennial,
not bragging, and they are all about the video chat.
And he is this whole new type of, he only video-chats.
He'll be in the middle of the street video-chatting me.
And I'll say, "I'm in the car, I'm with people."
"Oh, how are they?" And it's become this group activity,
which I told him repeatedly I'm not into.
And then you're just talking to an image of yourself.
I think if we are all really honest,
everybody looks at themselves.
I actually sometimes... I put my hand up. I'm vain.
Sometimes I cover my own face
so I don't look at myself, so I look at the person
-that I'm speaking to.
I think if we asked the audience,
there would be no-one else who does that.
You know, I'm guessing. Anyway,
I want to show you a text leading to a voice thing.
And this is a very beautiful, heart-warming little section.
That must've been horrible!
My mother calls me always on a Sunday, and she always does it.
I just think that's her medium to communicate.
What if your mother wants to call you for a chat?
My mother is dead!
What if your mother DID want to call you for a chat?
Well, if she did want to call me for a chat,
she'd go through Derek Acorah.
That is my dead mother material out of the way.
OK, so what is winding up Geri?
You know, I wouldn't have had you down as a pen person.
I love writing, I'm always writing.
Little notes and things.
But, it's when you're on the phone and someone says...
You know, you want to take a note?
And you go to write the note down, and the pen doesn't work.
And then I end up running round the house, looking for a pen.
I actually find it really, really annoying.
I'm with you on this one.
What gets me most upset is when you have to do that...
It's like it's slightly fallen asleep,
and you have to wake it up with this... "Oh, sorry!"
and it starts working again.
Deodorant, ball-based deodorant.
-What's it called? Ball-based? Roll-on.
They're not going to have something called ball-based deodorant.
They probably do, that's a useful product.
But it's the same principle as a ballpoint pen.
But I never have to get roll-on deodorant and really,
really scribble it on my chest to get it going.
It just starts straightaway,
why don't they make it with the same technology?
Why are you wearing deodorant on your chest?
-I've got some pens you might be interested in from my collection.
-That's of me? Oh, Spice Girl ones!
-Look at that!
I have to say the picture is quite...
..it's quite bum-centric!
-You know what?
Isn't it funny, now I can see that, at the time I didn't realise.
-You didn't realise?
-Isn't it fun, when you're, like, younger...
-Did you not notice where the camera was?
-I didn't realise it was saying, "Hey, look at my bum."
-I didn't realise.
-It's so "look at my bum."
The fact they're called felt pens I find a worry.
It reminds me, you know I was the first practising Catholic to win
Rear Of The Year. There's a picture of me.
Ah, look at you!
Yeah, we both fell into the same trap, didn't we?
Hold on a minute. Can we just talk about what you're wearing there?
-What is that?
-I'm wearing long johns.
Is that the picture they used to promote your win?
-Well, that's not a good picture, though.
-Why didn't you wear pants? Is it cos you are shy?
-Or nothing, or nothing.
Don't you start. At least I didn't say,
"Oh, I didn't realise they were taking a picture of my bottom!"
We don't have Rear Of The Year in Canada.
How many pens do you have to fit in to win?
I actually got those pens off eBay.
-I haven't kept them all these years.
I want to show you the picture they used on eBay.
Just in case... You don't want to buy a set of pens
and find they're 30ft long.
Can't get them in your house.
Anyway, what is upsetting Adam?
I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about.
The other day after the school run in the morning,
I stopped in at my local supermarket
to pick up some supplies for the week ahead,
which included four cans of, you know, alcohol-rich lager.
As the checkout person was scanning them,
they raised their eyebrows at me and said, "A bit early, isn't it?"
And so I said, "Well, maybe for you, but I'm a raging alcoholic.
"For me, it's never too early to start blotting out the pain."
I didn't say that. What I actually said was, "Yeah!" But...
But there's no need for bants!
There is no need for commenting on my purchases.
Maybe I look like the kind of person that people want to...
-Maybe they're just being friendly?
Of course they're being friendly...
I mean, yes, you've undone me.
I went into a greeting card shop. This is absolutely true.
And a woman went up to the counter,
and this was just before Christmas,
and she said, "Do you have any Christmas cards
"with religious scenes?"
And the woman said, "No."
She went out of the shop, and this woman to the whole shop said,
"God you get some weird people."
I'll tell you what I can't do.
I can't go and just buy toilet roll.
-I have to buy other stuff with it.
If you just buy toilet roll, I don't like that man on a mission feel.
Because they'll be thinking,
"Frank Skinner's going to wipe his bum."
-But it'll be the Rear Of The Year!
That'll be a little handwritten sign on the toilet roll.
"..to wipe the Rear Of The Year."
Have you got a plaque in your bathroom? You should so do that.
It's got to be in the downstairs loo where other people go.
And so when they come into your house, they see your trophy,
your little certificate.
It's a lovely... You get a massive silver plate when you win.
-It's a bit like the women's singles...
at Wimbledon. It's an enormous thing!
Is it moulded in the shape of your...?
Yeah, I've made many a...
That would be the thing, though, wouldn't it? To have a sort of
silver-plated jelly mould of your bottom?
And then you could make people arse jelly.
I like it, I love it.
Katherine likes it.
I would eat your ass jelly all day.
Things I never thought anyone would say to me.
This is on Amazon.
If you try and buy a baseball,
aluminium baseball bat on Amazon.
There it is, £18.40. Bargain.
And you know you get that bit, the people who bought this also bought?
The first one is a baseball.
You would guess that. Take a look at the second thing they buy.
Oh, my God.
It's funny that the baseball got a totally 5-star rating.
But there were a few people of the 94 criminals who ordered a balaclava
that weren't completely satisfied.
So it's good to know some of them are getting caught.
So, I'm not going to put in people who comment on your...
Because even you admitted, they probably are trying to be friendly.
-They're being friendly, I'm being a git.
I'm torn between the other two.
Because you both... The pen thing does drive me crazy.
But I think Katherine has argued
with such passion about the impertinence
of being called on the telephone,
that we have to try and rescue her from that.
So I'm going to put phone calls into Room 101.
OK, so what is upsetting Adam?
This is a phenomenon that arrived with the dawn of the new
millennium. And it is...
..packaging that tries to incorporate little bits of text
that are acute, or funny, or wacky.
And presumably it started off as a fairly, you know, innocent,
You know, an effort to inject a bit of fun and friendliness into a
boring corner of modern life.
But I feel that it's trying to fix a problem
that really didn't need fixing.
Shall we look at some examples of this?
..the company Innocent, I think, not innocently.
I think of them as the champions of wackaging.
Here is something from a Innocent smoothie.
It's got all the contents.
Two mashed bananas, 37 peeled...
And right at the bottom, and zero bungalows.
I mean, it's comedy at what I would call the Christmas socks level.
You know, the idea that the bad thing about capitalism
is it's so unfriendly and the packaging is so functional.
I don't think Karl Marx was sat there thinking,
"This is... I...I..." Do you know why..."
This is a good impression of Karl Marx.
"You know the thing I really hate about capitalism is the
"functionality of the packaging."
That's what Karl Marx said.
-He was German, Karl Marx.
-IN GERMAN ACCENT:
"Why not on this tin of borscht, you could put on the bottom,
"'Turn me up the right way, otherwise when the borscht comes out,
"'I'll be all dizzy'?"
I'm trying to illustrate the fact that we don't need the little cute...
That was much better.
..funny messages. Thank you very much.
And also it's sort of bled across into other areas where people seem to
think that you need, like, a fun, crazy little jokey message,
where I don't think you do. Like, going...
Have you been into a certain train toilet and you will
close the door and you will immediately get a recorded message
that says, "Please do not flush sanitary towels, paper towels,
"your ex's sweater, goldfish,"
you know, "Your hopes and dreams down the toilet."
And it plays every single time you go in.
Which for me is a great deal because I love the toilet.
And it's like having a guy...
And I understand that...
I don't mind the repeated joke, though.
Really? The same joke every single time told in exactly the same way?
I do that in my everyday life.
Ever since I've had a child,
some people will say to me, "How's your little one?"
And I always say, "How dare you?"
I mean, every time, yeah.
That's good. That's got the advantage of being short.
-The joke, I'm talking about.
What would you have put on the packaging?
Just ingredients, sell by date, serving suggestion.
That's all I really actually want.
One thing that really annoys me is I kind of want to know if things are
good for me or not, and you get something
that's called the zero calories multi-nutritional snack bar,
and you find there is less sugar in a bag of sugar...
..than there is in that bar.
That winds me up. I want more facts.
If they're going to be matey with me, say stuff like,
"Contains a green powder that gives rodents chronic diarrhoea."
"Laid by chickens that live in the dark and wish for death."
No, wouldn't that be better to know?
To have the truth rather than some...
God knows, I love a silly joke more than anyone
but not on a packet of...
You don't get it on that. They wouldn't dare go there, let's face it.
Can I show you some random...
-..comedy packaging just to make myself happy?
This is table tennis training balls.
-I felt the Spice Girls marketing people missed an opportunity there.
I love... I tell you what, we laugh at that but it's a picture I keep
There is something very sexy about that.
I think it is the fake tan element.
What about this jam?
"Tastes like grandma."
-I have to say at my age, that's quite a selling point.
I think we'll move on, shall we?
OK, so to Geri.
OK, I've forgotten mine.
Well, everyone may relate to this in different ways.
And one of the things that sort of really made me think about it was
that I was breast-feeding and I've got quite a big baby
and I couldn't keep up with his demands,
so I ended up doing formula, feeding him formula.
And there's a bit of a milk mafia going on that you really must...
You know, breast is best.
And I really couldn't keep up.
And so, I read it in a book somewhere, it was saying, you know,
get rid of the guilt fairy, you know, that sits on your shoulder.
Whatever it is, you know, whether it's, you know, you've eaten the
cake, or have you been the best guy on TV, or the funniest comedians.
Whatever it is, I thought,
actually when I sort of let myself be a bit rubbish,
be a bit crap at whatever I'm doing, not being the best, it kind of is...
It feels pretty good.
And actually I normally do a better job at whatever it is.
Well, total silence.
I don't know if anyone can relate to it.
I'm going to say, I so agree with you about,
and this is odd coming from a bloke, but about the motherhood thing.
Cos we used to go to these groups, when my partner was pregnant,
we used to go to this group and they're like fundamentalist hippies
and they basically say the birth has to be in a forest clearing under
moonlight, and if you're suffering excruciating pain, OK,
then you can wear a garland of herbs.
Whatever you're going through in life, I'm just finding,
just from my own experience, you know, whatever it is, whether it's
exams, work, when I just take the pressure off and say,
"Do you know what, you're enough, you know.
"You don't have to be perfect," then everything's better.
-I've murdered a couple of guys, come on.
-Let it go.
-Let it go.
-Guilt fairy, the second guy deserved it and, you know,
There's things I look back on that I do feel guilty
-about, and quite right.
On the first date with my partner, I told her, honestly,
I told her that she smelt like a derelict house.
-Well, mainly because she smelt like a derelict house.
But she still brings that up now.
17 years on, she will still bring that up.
There must be things you feel you have a right to be guilty about.
Whole albums. LAUGHTER
-Well, did you see the difference...
-No, no, no, it's OK...
-No, see, now I feel guilty about that.
I think you have double trouble because you're British and you
-guys walk around apologising for I don't even know what.
-Just for existing.
-That is true. That's why I want to chuck the guilt in the bin.
I have zero guilt, Geri, none, and you should have none either.
My daughter dyed her hair purple the other day and she's British and a
-woman like you and so she was like...
-IN BRITISH ACCENT:
-.."Oh, no, mother, what shall I do?
"I'm going to get in trouble with my school."
Probably did. Not my problem. And I was like...
I said, "Violet, you've dyed your hair.
"Have you done something unkind?"
"Have you done something dangerous?"
She said, "No, Mummy, I haven't."
And I said, "Then you should never feel guilty."
"Unless you've been unkind or dangerous, hurt someone else, then do whatever you want."
You are owed it.
I don't care.
Is your daughter Queen Elizabeth II?
One thing that they've started putting on the Internet is dog shaming,
which is when dogs have done bad things.
-Yes. And they're then reprimanded for it.
Here's a dog that destroyed the sofa with some gusto, I must say.
MAN SPEAKS HIS OWN LANGUAGE
So, what is winding up Katherine?
My friend Jane has a ham-coloured husband called Brian.
..is one of these spandex men who runs marathons.
I don't know what it is about a middle-aged man,
he's got to know he can be 26 miles away from home on foot at any given moment.
They all just start to run and then they link it to charity like,
I've got to now subsidise their hobby.
They're like, "It's charity. It's charity. I'm just running to raise awareness for cancer."
We've heard of it. Sit down.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
I think charity's a wonderful thing, but I donate to causes that
I believe in because of the work that is achieved,
not because someone from the office threatened to lose a toenail by
running around. I don't like it at all.
No, I can see that because if you said to someone,
"Do you want to give money to the local children's hospital?"
And they said, "Yeah, but I want you to go on a big run."
-"What, you don't just want to give it?"
"No, no, I need you to run first."
Some evil puppet master.
If I'm walking through central London and a homeless guy asks me
for change I don't go, "OK, what about a little dance?"
"Come on. Heads and shoulders... Come on!"
You'd think I was evil.
-So, as you're saying, just give people the money.
Don't make them go on a run, so you can help people who need help.
Just live your life.
I don't like it and I've never met someone who runs marathons that I
enjoy as a person. No offence.
I think if you want to run not for a charity, they should let you run but
you have to dress as Hitler.
Because there's so little scope for booing...
-..at the London Marathon, when you go you just cheer everyone.
It would be great if there was the occasional Hitler
who you knew wasn't doing it for charity. You could have...
You know, see him being refused water by one of the stewards.
That would really give it a sort of richness.
It's all cheering, it's so happy.
I think there's something about, I don't know,
making the person feel good about themselves they're achieving
something, so something...
They're trying to make themselves feel better.
I think, OK, at least it's a healthy way rather than going to get the...
you were talking about the guy getting the three beers,
the Red Stripes in the morning.
It's a better way of dealing with it, I think.
-When you say "the guy", it was me.
-Do you know what I mean?
So, if we have to pick, if I'm going to pick,
we all need releases in life. OK, we need releases in life,
so if I had to pick which is the better option...
..you know, to drink in the morning or run 26 miles - I think 26 miles.
Having said that, I'd probably walk it.
I appreciate your viewpoint, Geri,
and it is useful for me because I think there's really bad PR out there.
Some people think that I'm nice.
Have you ever tried it, though?
I'll run if someone's chasing me.
..ooh, I know what you mean about wackaging.
But I think it's somebody trying a little bit of comedy.
It's all right for us heroes of comedy to mock them
but they're doing what they can.
I do feel guilty about putting marathons in.
Guilt, as you say, things like mothering and stuff like that,
to be made to feel guilty about that is an absolute scandal.
Therefore, Geri Horner, I shall indeed put guilt into Room 101.
And that brings us to the end of the show.
Well done, Geri, you were the most persuasive guest,
so you are this week's winner.
Oh, thank you.
Thank you very much to Katherine Ryan,
Adam Buxton and Geri Horner.
And thank you. Goodnight.