Post hic ergo propter hic *
March 15, 2009
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I went to the Ig Nobels on tour the other day, saw a sword swallower, then got drunk. It's a natural and obvious progression.
You'll have heard about the Ig Nobels in some form or other. Say, the guy who wrote a paper on homosexual necrophilia in ducks. Or how playing someone the sound of a very crispy crisp can make them think they're eating a fresh, rather than stale, crisp. Or proving that heaps of string or wires will inevitably tie themselves in knots. It's the kind of thing that often ends up in the pages of the Daily Mail in a 'wotta wasta money' piece, but actually has genuine science and application behind it. A number of former Ig Nobel winners gave hilarious five minute speeches (time limits ensured by a cartwheeling eight year old girl), and then came Dan Meyer, sword swallower.
You know sword swallowing's real, right? Stephen Fry told me on QI once and Stephen Fry would never knowingly mislead me. Thing is, I'm really squeamish. So while m'Londonist companion was busy taking photos, I was sitting there with my hands between my legs, squirming for all I'm worth. The guy took a bow with a sword still in his gullet and got a man to pull out another sword with a sodding bullwhip. Is it, therefore, any surprise that more than the one advertised free glass of wine was snaffled? You can't subject the pathetic unaware to an exhibition of sword swallowing without consequences.
* Inspired by The West Wing, amendment thanks to Amy