Provincial Letters

Far from the mad crowds of the city, Blaise Pascal passed comment on the strange behaviour of this urban contemporaries in his Provincial Letters. The connection between them and this blog is somewhat tenuous.

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Location: Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

My star sign in Superstition. And I didn't believe in reincarnation last time, either. The only thing I can't tolerate is intolerance. I am a fanatical ant-fanaticist. I am bigotted only where bigots are concerned. I am a fundamentalist atheist. I'm proud to be a product of evolution; I know it in my genes.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Posted @ 16:57The Real & Reliable History of Grimsby II

<< previous section [for new readers, the story so far]

4. Origins: Cultural History

It has long been believed that the only culture in Grimsby was the mould which grows on two-week-old milk. But recent discoveries[1], highlighted on the accompanying mapMap showing distribution of evidence of early Grimsby settlement & cultural activities. - indicate that there was a great deal of cultural activity in Grimsby's early years (30,000 - 50,000 BCE).

A large number of misshapen rocks and sticks indicate that drummers existed around in the area around 40,000 BCE but it was to be many millennia before any real musicians appeared. There are hints[2], however, that there were many performers who used specially trained sheep to hit rocks with wooden batons in order to provide the backing for their renditions of versions of the tribal songs and dances of their neighbours. These, it appears, were more reliable than human drummers[3]. This "Backing Rocks" era was followed by a much longer period when groups of local performers impersonated the more popular traditional dance and song of their neighbouring tribes: the "Tribute Rocks" era. It is believed[4] that a few hardy souls attempted to develop a local musical tradition but they were regarded with suspicion and either ignored or - particularly during the "Saturday Night Out" ritual - verbally and physically abused. The only authenticated indigenous music from this period which gained any sort of local recognition was a lengthy, apparently amusing, impersonation of a sick cod[5] which was originally used to indicate that a message had arrived from a local, neighbouring tribe[6].

In the field of art, this period also saw the first meeting of the tribal governor's investigating the possibility of providing a permanent base for visual arts in the area. North East Lincs Council has recently indicated that this feasibility study may be complete by 3000 CE. Several people in the area are said to be waiting for this "with the baited breath of a week-dead camel"[7].

Whilst this feasibility study was being carried out (and several great civilisations came and went in other parts of the world), many local people produced stunning visual arts from the earliest of times (for artists, this is just after lunch). Unfortunately, the best of these appear to have been exported in exchange for coloured beads which could be exchanged for other coloured beads[8]. Although the area seems to have produced many artists who have attempted to instil some cultural life into the area, the net result of these efforts - in light of the lack of a permanent base for the arts - seems to have been to promote the idea in the rest of the world that the greatest visual art Grimsby can produce was "banging your head against a brick wall"[9].

To be continued...

[1] Excavations carried out during the recent renewal of a large number of waste bins in the Grimsby area.

[2] The hints were provided by a gentleman who wishes to remain nameless. This has made it difficult for him to get cheques cashed.

[3] Two drummer jokes per blog post are the maximum number allowed under current EU regulations. There are, however, moves afoot to increase this number. The proposed legislation also suggests that it be made compulsory for all blog posts from within the EU to contain at least one drummer joke. This has been proposed in order to reduce the EU's massive drummer-joke mountain.

[4] Some people will believe anything. Some people believe that wearing loud Bermuda shorts makes them look zany and fun rather than a complete prat.

[5] The Yms apparently regarded a sick cod as being as funny as, say, a cartoon frog wearing goggles.

[6] These messages were invariably of the form: "Stop singing like a sick cod".

[7] This paragraph has been found to contain levels of satire but the readings are within government approved safety limits.

[8] Possibly - but not necessarily - of a different colour.

[9] Warning: dangerous levels of satire in this paragraph.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Posted @ 11:10Occult News

Grimsby, UK 2005-06-24 11:10 BST


The world of occult musicianship was rocked by the news that the Lost Capo of Lowdon has been found. This object - often cited as one of the great mythological objects held in reverence by believers but dismissed as fantasy by many "scientific" obeservers - has since time immeroriable (two weeks ago last Tuesday) been regarded as one of the great prizes of occult archaeology. Its discovery will bring great hope to the many occult-inclined musicians in the Grimsby area as it is believed that this object had many magical and spiritual properties, such as:

  • Preventing guitar strings from breaking;
  • Helping performers to remember the words to Tim Paxton songs;
  • Turning obnoxious and abusive punters in Swigs into normal human beings.

The discoverer - only identified as Rob L from the Celtic fringe of these islands which begins with the letter S - says: "It's like the Holy Grail, only capo-shaped".

Whilst news of the discovery is welcome, only time (and documented proof of at least one miraculous event associated with the capo) will tell if this is the real thing or a clever forgery. Dan Brown, author of the best selling Da Vinci Code is claimed to have said: "Whatever. I'll get a book out of it".

Thursday, June 23, 2005


You have been warned:


I, of course, did not press the red button but I know you won't be able to stop yourself. That's because I have determination and self-control and lying.

[Thanks to Dr Mike for this one.]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Posted @ 17:55Some pictures I

I thought some people would like to see some of the pictures I've taken locally over the past couple of weeks (Saturdays 4th & 18th June, to be precise). No puns, no jokes, just some nice images to brighten up your day.

To add a little interest, I've not put captions on them so that you can to guess whereabouts they are. You can click on each each to see them larger.

© 2005 Roger J Coult

Monday, June 20, 2005

Posted @ 13:00The Real & Reliable History of Grimsby I

1. Introduction

For some time now (and just how much time you would be astonished to discover) I have been researching the history of Grimsby and the surrounding area in an attempt to assemble that material into a reliable source text for all those who wish to know the true facts regarding the origins and development of this town. This research has, I may add, involved not a little effort, expense, personal danger and the consumption of quantities inebriating beverages, not to mention...[1] The research has been painstakingly meticulous but where - as sometimes happened - a fact could be verified or evidence was missing, I have not hesitated to make things up.

Some may feel that I am not qualified to carry out this enormous task, but may I point out the following:

  • I live in Grimsby.
  • I am a founder member of the Grimsby Institute of Local Historians & Cheese Fanciers (and lifetime president, secretary and treasurer)[2].
  • I am untrammelled by popular and traditional historical theories and am not constrained by ridiculous notions of verifiable evidence and plausible hypotheses.

I think that is sufficient - more than sufficient - to qualify me as the one true recorder of the real and reliable history of the port of Grimsby.

2. Origins: The Myths

There are many stories about the origins of Grimsby. Some of them are obscene, others simply children's tales, some are figments of the imagination, whilst others deserve serious consideration. We shall concentrate on the more outlandish here (and come to the obscene ones some other time).

There is a story doing the rounds that Grimsby was founded by one Grim who was carried across the North Sea by the giant Havelock. This is, of course, utter balderdash. It is the result of a propaganda exercise by the Vikings when they unashamedly invaded this part of the world between the 8th and 10th Centuries CE[3]. It means about as much as painting "Freedom Wagon" on the side of a Pershing or Chieftain tank before it is sent across the sands of Iraq to blow things and people up.

Another common misconception - based on extensive and exhaustive numerological, structural, architectural, astrological, philosophical, anthropological, copraphilic and psychic analyses of the layout of Grimsby's streets carried out one Saturday night after a few beers - is that Grimsby was founded by extra-terrestrials from Tau Ceti as a inter-galactic service area for tourists on their way to the Hyades (this story is used as an explanation for the extraordinary large number of fast-food franchises in the town and the insipid nature of the coffee they serve). This is only a misconception in time: Grimsby is indeed associated with this activity but this happened after its founding[4].

3. Origins: The Facts

Recent archaeological discoveries have revealed the true origins of Grimsby. The location, nature, composition, extent and precise details of these discoveries must, for various reasons too complex to detail here, remain secret[5]. The interpretation of this remarkable evidence by a crack team of specialists (who wish to remain annonymous until the cheque arrives) has revealed hitherto unsuspected complexity and historical depth to the story of the origins of Grimsby.

The earliest inhabitants of the Grimsby area - radiocarbon dating, dendrochronology and guesswork place this around 50,000 BCE - were hominids with a passing resemblance to modern human beings[6]. Indications abound that they called themselves (or, more likely as they had little language above grunting and ordering kebabs, were called by others) "Yms". The earliest reconstruction of their lives involves one of their religious rituals.

The Yms (adult males and females together with any youngster who imagined they could get away with it) would gather on the banks of the river Freshney, close to the modern Riverhead area in order to fish. During the day they would gather naturally fermenting berries from the bushes which grew there, rather as modern chimpanzees do (obviously, I mean in their homeland in Africa; obviously there are no chimpazees in modern Grimsby; but there are one or two gorillas on the door of Chicago Rock). Two types of berries used for this purpose have been identified, known technically as red berries and green berries. The red berries were consumed in rough bowls made from clay; the green berries were consumed from hollowed out lumps of wood. There appears to have been a minor ritual whereby one of their number would eschew this convention and consume green berries from a clay bowl. This individual was known as the "Ian".

As the day progressed, the Yms would become intoxicated and make offerings to the gods by throwing rocks, sticks, broken clay bowls, fish heads and each other into the river. As night fell they would stage fights between themselves (the males - starting first - would fight over the females; the females would start later after one had made the traditional incantation of "You're a fucking slag, you are!"). Later they would all shag each other senseless[7].

This ritual was known as "A Saturday Night Out".

The Yms hunting techniques are well documented in the evidence (the recovered artefacts include material from the surrounding tribes). Their standard technique seems to have been wandering up to a hunting party from one of their neighbours, thumping them in the face, grabbing their catch and running away[8]. In time (about three days), the neighbouring tribes became wise to this and would keep their distance from the Yms and shout a warning to all other non-Yms in the area: "Grrr, Yms". This, obviously, is the real origin of the name "Grimsby".


[1] This cannot be mentioned.

[2] Membership is open to anyone with suitable qualifications (i.e., £100 in used tenners).

[3] Current Era. Like AD but without the religious associations. It follows that BCE is Before the Current Era. Knowing these things helps a bit.

[4] We shall return to this subject later when the evidence has been thoroughly invented analysed.

[5] The excavations (carried out at night by specialists using infra-red glasses and dressed in fetching all-in-one black body suits) came about as the result of certain unauthorised explorations by a large, bearded man with a metal-detector on certain "fields" in or about the Grimsby area. Since these "fields" are of some importance to their owners, we have agreed not to reveal their location until such time as (or is it "as long as"?) large quantities of cash are deposited in certain bank accounts. The unfounded rumours that the retrieved artefacts contain precise prophecies for the future of the human race, titillating revelations about the British Royal Family, the occult associations of the Roman Catholic Church and the exact locations of certain "mythical" objects (such as the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant and Rob Lowdon's capo) will be the subject of a book by Dan Brown.

[6] They resembled modern human beings in the same way that members of British National Party resemble sane, rational people.

[7] There is no direct evidence for this and there are indications that it was simply wishful thinking or, at least, incoherent, unreliable, boastful memories on the morning after.

[8] There are those who say that this practice is still carried out in certain areas of Grimsby, but that's just because of their antipathy to Nunsthorpe residents.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Posted @ 10:24Cheese update

It's official: cheese eaters are strange. For further information see "Cheese eaters are mutants" which explains that the ability to digest milk products in adulthood is a mutation. Does this mean that Doctor Xavier will be asking me to join the X-Men?

[P.S. My visitor count passed 1000 over the weekend. That's a thousand visits since April 5th. Thanks all.]

Monday, June 06, 2005

Posted @ 14:04Observations II

A problem in the car manufacturing industry

Over the last few years I have noticed a symptom of the decrease of quality control standards in the car manufacturing industry which motorists may not be aware of. Although I have been aware of the problem for some time, it has become so noticeable recently (and, in particular, this morning) that I feel I must point it out as a public service.

An increasing number of vehicles are being manufactured without working indicators. As a pedestrian this causes many problems since it is impossible to determine which exit from a junction (particularly roundabouts) a vehicle is going to take. I know that in some cases the road markings often restrict traffic to a particular exit but since there seems to be a prevalence for vehicles to pass over the top of them and for trees and fences to intervene with one's direct view, they are often inconveniently hidden from view. Sometimes (for example, this morning) I have felt like stepping out in the road in front of a vehicle with broken indicators in order to alert the driver to this growing problem; however, I have a sneaking suspicion that it would not be good for my health.

I encourage all drivers to report this fault (should they experience it) to the manufacturers of their vehicles.


I recently had a bad experience with one of these disrespectful, ignorant yobs that keep cropping up in the headlines. I really think something ought to be done about the various fashion statements they make with their clothing and accessories, such people are responsible for a lot of the social ills this country is experiencing.

I was walking to work (being careful to compensate for the failings of the motor manufacturing industry - see above) the other morning and was on Grimsby Docks when I was stopped by this person and asked for directions. I'm not greatly familiar with the various small streets on the Docks, but in this case I could supply the information required. "Go straight over the first roundabout," I began. At this point his mobile phone rang. Without a word to me he answered it: "Yeah?"; and proceeded to settle arrangements for some social engagement. I stood open-mouthed and rooted to the spot at the rudeness. The call finished he turned back to me: "Yeah?" he said again. Stuttering, I completed my directions and off he went... ...turning right at the first roundabout and therefore destined to get lost. At least that was some small satisfaction for his lack of grace and manners.

Such yobs are easily identified: they are aged 30 to 45, dressed in shirt and tie, have expensive mobile phones, drive 2-litre saloon cars which have a copy of the Daily Mail on their back seats. From his phone conversation I gather he plays golf which, it itself, is not really a bad thing (but, then again it isn't a good thing) but it is bloody typical of the breed. I am writing to the management of Freshney Place to request that people so attired are banned from entering.

Cheese Addicts

From Grimsby Evening Telegraph, 16th May 2005:

"Grimsby cheese lover Alan Love has been jailed for eight months after throwing away repeated chances to avoid prison.
He persistently failed to respond to community penalties and kept stealing cheese, Grimsby magistrates decided. Love (44), of Longfield Road, admitted breaching a one-year community rehabilitation order imposed on January 31.
It was made after he admitted stealing cheese, valued at £16, from Tates in Cleethorpes on September 19 and stealing more cheese, worth £38.86, from Co-operative Stores in Grimsby on November 26.
He asked for two other thefts, involving coffee and cheese, to be considered that day.
He also admitted a new offence of stealing 21 packets of cheese, valued at £41.25, from Lincoln Co-op in St Nicholas Drive, Grimsby, on March 13."

I am prepared to admit that I am a cheese addict, as are Ian O and Mark W (I know they won't mind being "outed" in this manner). And that we like good coffee with it. There are few greater pleasures (or, at least, few pleasures which can be mentioned in a family-orientated blog) than eating cheese. We are never happier than when romping with Gruyere, Roqueforte, Danish Blue, Port Salut, Feta, Haloumi and their cousins and several cups of Jamaican Blue Mountain. But the activities of Alan Love cited above have brought stories out of the woodwork concerning that Grimsby may be the cheese addiction capital of the world. Carolyn G has confirmed that a workmate has smuggled cheese to Greece for her son and Mark W has confirmed that his mother is a regular "cheese mule" between France and the UK.

So far my cheese addiction has not prevented me from functioning normally in the world: I take a couple of slices of (extra mature) cheddar on toast in the morning and am able to work through the day without thinking about cheese for minutes on end. I worry - with the growth of the problem in the Grimsby area - that cheese will become more widely available and we will lose the ability to cope with the real world. After that will come the backlash with a "Just Say No to Solid Milk Products" campaign and you won't see Roule, Double Gloucester, Red Leicester, Emmenthal, Jaarlsburg and their many relations ever again. I - and Mark and Ian - are sensible cheese addicts who know when we've had enough (a couple of kilograms an hour is enough) but these cheese-smugglers and cheese-stealers could spell the end for our harmless pleasures.

Support the freedom to eat cheese! In vast quantities!