Best of British

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Toy Meets World is a website staffed by a bunch of lunatics sequestered away on a tiny isle at the edge of the Atlantic ocean we like to call the United Kingdom. Sometimes that means that our humour goes over the heads of a large proportion of our readers. Read on as I educate you on the most important facets of British culture!

#1 FOODSTUFFS

Crumpet

A crumpet is a soft and squishy bit of bread that you normally have for breakfast. Usually presented as a flattened disc, much like a hockey puck, you toast it until it’s warm then spread butter and jam on it, much like a freshly baked hockey puck. They have a curious appearance and texture, halfway between a really solid pancake and Spongebob Squarepants.

“We did alright for a couple’a kids…”

The word is also used in a vulgar fashion to refer to a pretty lady. You would say something like “Cor! That bird’s a nice bit of crumpet”. Charmed by your use of innuendo, she will force herself upon you – sexually – until your carnal needs are satisfied.

Biscuit

If you’re from Americaland, you’ll often hear from the common Englishman that “biscuits are cookies”. This is false.

Biscuits come in all shapes and sizes, and most are bland in taste and texture. Be thankful that you’ll never have to politely munch your way through a packet of Nice or Malted Milks at grandma’s house. The one exception to this rule are Jacob’s Happy Faces, which are made from the harvested souls of naughty children and filled with jam and a crumbly paste they dare to call “cream”. They’re delicious and terrifying.

BE GOOD

BE GOOD

Scones

There was a war over these. You see, some people say scone as in cone, others as in gone [with the wind]. You may have heard of Roundheads and Cavaliers. These soldiers marched on Parliament, led by King Arthur and Sir Jeremy Beadle, to demand a unified pronunciation of the word. No satisfying conclusion was reached, and on 5th November 1666 they blew up Westminster and went to war.

Amazing what you can rebuild with slave labour!

Amazing what you can rebuild with slave labour!

The Khitomer Accord was brought into effect, allowing each man to pronounce it how he pleased. Immediately after the treaty was signed, they then went to war again over the pronunciation of “pronunciation”. Oh, I suppose you want to know that a scone is a bit of dense bread, much like an American “biscuit”. Next time I’ll get straight to it instead of fannying around telling jokes. I mean history.

#2 TRANSPORT

Bus

You have to be very rich or very old to get a bus in Britain. If you ask nicely the driver will sometimes drop you off outside your house, but only if you promise to give him a push the next time the bus breaks down. Which is often. In the old days, buses would have a conductor who would go around selling tickets. Then the bus companies realised they could cut their staffing expenditures by 50% by giving the driver two jobs to do.

Stagecoach Devon. No.52B

Stagecoach Devon. No.52B

These days drivers are often ensconced behind a thick wall of perspex because the British public developed a nasty habit of mugging them off and throwing bricks as they drove by.

Train

You have to be very, VERY rich or very, VERY old to get a train in Britain. They’re filthy, dilapidated and service only about 1% of the land area. Most of the time you’ll end up stranded because the train will take you somewhere remote and then break down. The rail operators long ago realised they could save a shitload of money by simply repainting the old trains instead of buying new ones.

If you listen carefully, you can hear Ringo Starr pedaling.

If you listen carefully, you can hear Ringo Starr pedaling.

Taxi

British Taxis aren’t like the cool yellow cars you see in New York city in the movies. You don’t stick your hand out in the street and have one magically appear to ferry you off to destinations new. Well, you can hail a cab in London, sometimes, but expect to pay for the privilege.

Most often, you have to book taxis in advance over the phone and are at the mercy of the taxi company as to what shows up. Usually a battered Vauxhall Astra with fresh vomit on the back seat.

“Charge extra on weekends, Luv.”

They also cost a fortune – all taxi meters in Britain are required by law to have a Benny Hill mode, activated by a hidden switch somewhere on the driver’s person. Often it’s hard to tell whether you’re looking at the bill or the flux capacitor from Back to the Future. In lieu of cash, most taxi drivers will take property, precious metals or scholarships to Turkish universities.

#3 IMPORTANT FIGURES

Lisa Riley

In the Before Times, mankind did not know laughter and joy. Or cakes.

“Her feet were as pillars of fire…”

Lisa Riley came from a far away, forgotten corner of the land called The Emmer Dale and brought us these things on a magical VHS tape she produced from her mighty bosom. And so it was that the people of Britain found laughter in their hearts, even if it was the cruel and mocking variety that comes from watching an old lady fall down the stairs.

Like Pandora opening her box, the demons unleashed could never be bottled again. Harry Hill draws his strength from her like a parasitic vampire.

Tim Bernard Matthews

He invented the internet. You’re welcome.

“Now you know what a vagina looks like!”

He also invented email, The Navy, and fish fingers. The guy got around. At some point he acquired the rank of Captain but was apparently lost in the Bermuda Triangle at the turn of the millennium. He’ll live forever in our hearts, and on TMW where he frequently graces these fine pages.

Simon Furman

“Uncle Si” to his friends. And nephews.

Simon is warranted by Her Majesty the Queen to produce written fiction for the British public. As well as Doctor Who and Dragon’s Claws, Simon was also responsible for a little thing called “Transformers”. You may have heard of them. His material formed the basis for the movies and toys you see today. Without him, Transformers would have gone the way of the Gobots and I would probably be a very different person today. I’d darn socks for the homeless and run a Kickstarter for My Little Tapir.

#4 TELEVISION

Bullseye

This one is hard to explain to a foreigner. You have an incredibly polite, thickly-accented man from the north, Jim Bowen, who invites people on his show to throw darts at a board. If they score well, they win a small amount of money and go to the final round where they compete for such luxurious prizes as a digital clock radio, golf clubs or tea set. It’s all very quaint.

Part of the fun came from watching the selfish and greedy prats throw away all their winnings for a chance at the mystery prize, which was usually something amazing and far out of reach of the common man like a speedboat or camper van. Poor Jim then had to console them and make out that the trip and subsequent embarrassment had been worth it.

Bully – the animated mascot – was moderately terrifying and probably gave kids nightmares. Speaking of which –

Knightmare

Pray to Shiva that you will never know the horror of Knightmare. It stars a bearded man called Treguard, who would guide teams of dungeoneers through the traps of his castle. Or rather, assist the team in guiding a sole member through the castle. He or she had to be blindfolded with a creepy helmet, because the castle wasn’t even real – like Pamela Anderson’s boobs or Timmy Mallet.

When this started in the late eighties, I was young enough that I couldn’t really tell what was real and what wasn’t. The incredibly-poor CGI and blue-screen effects look cheesy now, but they were scary as shit back then.

Delightfully, the show returned in 2013 for a one-off special with YouTube comedy drone Stuart Ashen. It was great, and the man who played Treguard didn’t drop character for one millisecond, even when his co-star said “fuck”. I’m beginning to think that maybe he isn’t an actor at all. Or at the very least, he’s gone a bit loco in the coco and actually believes he is Treguard.

Fun House

A man with a mullet and twin paramours kidnaps children and makes them compete in a twisted house of horrors for the chance to escape.

There was an American version of this show, apparently, but I can only presume it came afterwards because it’s far inferior to the UK one. We had petrol-powered go-karts instead of peddle ones. And sexy twins (that went on to become pop stars in Japan) who may or may not have been petrol-powered.

The scale of Fun House was something hitherto unheard of for a children’s TV show. The titular Fun House was massive, and had an ever-changing set of games and challenges. The host, Pat Sharp, really seemed to care about what he did. The man was a dynamo of energy, and was more enthusiastic about the whole affair than the children, who seemed a bit indifferent to the fact that they were careening down a tiny bobsleigh track to win a Sega Game Gear.

The theme tune was incredibly catchy and by law is given to every child born after 1989 on a golden disc, to be hung above the baby’s bed to ward off evil. They even attached one to the Voyager spacecraft. FACT.

Check back soon for more silliness, my darlings.

“Box the demons”

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