On England’s Pleasant Pastures…open thread

Sometimes the internet is a swamp in which time — hell, vast swaths of life — get sucked into oblivion.  Sometimes the ‘tubes are merely a crush of blinkered Philistine pig-ignorance. I suppose that for some life online is just one long “kidz theze dayz” lament…

And then one comes across something like this:


This is thanks to my Imperial College science writer and twitter buddy, @AliceBell, who has thus introduced me to the bizarre world of BBC weather report homages — of which, without the ‘net, I would never have had knowledge.

Speak about whatever.

(Because I love you: bonus Monty Python sketch with a connection to the post title.)

41 replies
  1. 1
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The shipping forecast is a kind of spoken plainsong. Russell Davies calls it ambient speech, and set up a little thing called permanent bedtime so that expats or people working odd hours will always have the post-midnight forecast on hand to help them get to sleep. It’s Britain’s bedtime story, or the nation’s equivalent of checking that the oven’s off, the doors and windows are closed, and the alarm’s set for morning.

    (Danny Boyle used it to start the Olympic opening ceremony, although NBC didn’t show that bit.)

  2. 2
    tom says:

    I haven’t heard that weather report in years! Thanks

  3. 3
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    mmmm among the things i miss about Britain: detailed and fine-grained weather reporting. Here in Aus (a continent of a rather large size) you get highs/lows for all major cities and nothing else unless there’s a weatherclusterfkuc like the current post-tropical-storm flooding.

  4. 4
    Violet says:

    The Shipping Forecast is a national treasure. You can get the latest one from the BBC website. Sometimes I listen to it before I go to sleep.

    Speaking of the BBC, I don’t know why this video doesn’t have more views. It’s a short video about how the BBC Time Signal (the pips) changed from B natural to B flat. It’s so very, very British. Hilarious.

  5. 5
    srv says:

    It would be better they covered some podunk 5am Oklahoma TV station public service cattle report.

    Sorta like those ninja movies dubbed to spanish with english subtitles on late night Univision. You don’t need dope to get high on that.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Because it raises my dander up so high, repeating from site build thread:

    This story of extinguishing history.

    Tragic, totally tragic that literally tens of thousands of irreplaceable scrolls may have been deliberately reduced to ash in Timbuktu.

  8. 8
    Mandalay says:

    Even better: some smartypants taped the real thing, and then blended it with Soft Machine.

    Pretty cool.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    @Comrade Mary: That was awesome.

    I’m in minor shock. I think a man actually LISTENED TO ME. Which is good cause if I see his ass out of bed I shall promptly kick him!

  11. 11
    Mandalay says:

    So ex-Governor of Illinois, George Ryan, gets out of the slammer today. By most accounts he is not an especially wonderful human being, but he did do one wonderful thing:

    Illinois ex-Governor George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the state’s death penalty because of flaws in the system. In an interview given to CNN in 2000, Ryan stated, “We have now freed more people than we have put to death under our system; 13 people have been exonerated and 12 have been put to death.” He also stated that, “There is a flaw in the system, without question, and it needs to be studied.


    Fellow Republicans questioned his motives, and I can’t personally vouch for him, but regardless it is all but certain that the state did not kill innocent people because of George Ryan.

  12. 12
    Origuy says:

    @NotMax: Update on the Timbuktu manuscripts:

    Time magazine’s Vivienne Walt reports that some experts on the ground in Mali say many of the manuscripts were saved before the Islamists’ pillage:

    Realizing that the documents might be prime targets for pillaging or vindictive attacks from Islamic extremists, staff left behind just a small portion of them, perhaps out of haste, but also to conceal the fact that the center had been deliberately emptied.

    “The documents which had been there are safe, they were not burned,” Mahmoud Zouber, Mali’s presidential aide on Islamic affairs, told Time, “They were put in a very safe place.”

  13. 13
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    Sidenote, because no one here works with me so I can rant like I need to….

    I’m having a ridiculous back and forth with my dept head who wants me doing far too much admin in a year that i’m doing far too much teaching. I’m trying to explain to him that Male Colleague who claims to have too heavy a teaching load to do admin has exactly the same teaching load as I do and should at very least be splitting the admin rather than getting away with 25% of what I have on my plate. Male Department Head doesn’t believe me. Fucking Fuck.

  14. 14
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    We want a mattress!

  15. 15
    NotMax says:


    Good to hear, though reports are still contradictory and sketchy.

    Even so, with such a vast amount of the collection uncatalogued, we’ll never know what at least some of what was lost contained.

  16. 16
    andy says:

    Last week we were in the low single digits for highs and down to -20º. yesterday it warmed up enough for freezing rain here (in Brainerd) and heavy snow to the north. tomorrow it’ll dip below zero for a couple days before we steady into proper daylight temps in the teens or 20’s, low teens at night.

    This shit never happened 30-40 years ago. Those dumbasses who say Climate Change isn’t real must have all grown up wearing padded helmets or something. This much brain damage I can barely account for.

    Anyway, dunno if you’ve seen The Reward– it seems to be popping up a lot of places lately, and it’s one awesome little student film! It never fails to lift my spirits.

  17. 17
    JoyfulA says:

    @NotMax: Keep in mind that the Saudis are doing something similar in the holy cities right now: destroying revered sites in the name of building more hotels and restaurants to improve the hajj experience. So the place where someone important gave a stunning sermon is now under a McDonald’s parking lot.

    Saudis are mostly Wahhabis and iconoclasts, but most Muslims aren’t. I guess it’s like making a trip to St. Peter’s Basilica and seeing instead a Waffle House.

  18. 18
    Debbie(Aussie) says:


  19. 19
    Debbie(Aussie) says:

    Denial ism is so frustrating. Record floods here in Qld. Once in a hundred years, happening twice in two years. No climate change! Bunch of ostriches.

  20. 20
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @JoyfulA: so, they’re like Vegas casino moguls.

  21. 21
    R-Jud says:

    @scav: I have always liked Stephen Fry’s voice because, when he speaks, I can hear how big his chin is.

    If that makes sense.

  22. 22
    LGRooney says:

    Apologies, but any mention of a shipping forecast in song without reference to one of the most underrated, under appreciated bands born in the 80s, is just falling short. ‘Pharaohs’ was the B-side to ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’, and note the solo is the same, just slowed down to match this one’s tempo.

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    Andy, if you live in Brainerd we probably know some people in common! Small world.

    Did you happen to catch Colbert on Monday night? Not only did he whack the deniers (with a shout out to our friends in Oz) but he eviscerates that lovely Mr. Ericson on CNN in a new and most lovely way!


  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    Help save the Chesapeake Bay.

    Eat a snakehead.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Schlemizel says:


    The song doesn’t seem to make an appearance on youtube or any place else on the Intertubes unfortunately.

  27. 27
    jayboat says:

    That is a thing of beauty.

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @The Red Pen:

    B a r n a
    looks like
    B a m a
    in sans serif font.

    Wasn’t sure whether it was a reference to the President or the Crimson Tide. Neither one made much sense (or, depending on perspective, both made a lot of sense).

  29. 29
    Raven says:

    @Elizabelle: Wonder what their skulls would look like?

  30. 30
    Raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Big Blow comin.

  31. 31
    k488 says:

    Re The Shipping Forecast, I believe that was on a disk with The Highway Code, Part 1, also sung as English chant. Wonderful memories! And re the title of the post, Hubert Parry is terribly underrated. Thanks, too, to William Blake for those dark satanic mills…

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    @The Red Pen: It is worth a read!

    I’ve always felt it’s a distraction technique. It’s easier to whine that you are persecuted and then NOT think about the myriad ways you aren’t, actually, “living like Christ.”

    Not to mention the extra points for martyrdom that still does not equate being, you know, shot full of arrows.

  33. 33
    Elizabelle says:


    Snakehead skull, you ask?

    WaPo article mentions these cooks used snakeheads dispatched by bow and arrow. In recent fishing tournament, guns were suggested.

    These things can crawl from pond to pond.

  34. 34
    Fogeyman says:

    Cool. This seems to be done in Anglican Chant, a plainsong form done in four-part harmony with a sustained reciting note and three to five note cadence. You can set ANYTHING to Anglican Chant!

  35. 35
    Raven says:

    @Elizabelle: Cool, my giant redfish is undergoing that process as we speak.

  36. 36
    LGRooney says:

    @Schlemizel: Copyright issues and the song never gained any popularity so I can’t even find it on my usual Russian sites.

  37. 37
    The Red Pen says:


    Wasn’t sure whether it was a reference to the President or the Crimson Tide. Neither one made much sense (or, depending on perspective, both made a lot of sense).

    The Barna Group is an organization that basically acts as a marketing consultancy for churches that run by numbers. What’s the most marketable “pitch” to get people into your church? How do you squeeze more money out of those people?

    Along the way, they sometimes generate some interesting data. A lot of their data is hampered by the fact that they look at everything through the filter of American Protestantism. Their data won’t tell you much about Catholics or the unchurched who have some affinity for Christianity. It doesn’t have any information on religious trends that aren’t related to Christianity, such as growing interest in paganism.

    Anyway, when that stuff doesn’t get in the way, their survey data is interesting. (If you have an interest in religious anthropology).

  38. 38
    J R in W Va says:

    Delusional paranoia, you say? I say Bunkum to that!!

    Paranoia is never delusional in these times, because there are always several government agencies after everyone!

    That is all. Resume normal running standards at this time.

  39. 39
    some Ravens fan says:

    You CAN set anything in anglican chant, as proved by this Baltimore anglican church’s version of the NFL rules of overtime:


    (Make sure to appreciate the careful pronunciation of’re-gu-la-ti-on’and so on.)

  40. 40
    Ted Mills says:

    Two pop songs that use the Shipping Forecast:
    Thomas Dolby – Windpower


    Beck – The Horrible Fanfare

    The description of ambient talk is very apt.

  41. 41
    andy says:

    @Schlemizel: sorry, i work nights. i like to think of the teevee as a day-people thing…

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