EOTWQ – Casting Couch

I WAS going to the Beacons festival in Skipton today, http://greetingsfrombeacons.com/, with the Kirklees over-55s club (aka Distressed Gentlefolk of West Yorkshire Association). Anyway, I have just had a titanium plate screwed into my arm, which looks much more colourful than the arm in the photo above … rather like a beacon, in fact … but I digress. (Beth, I’m assured it won’t set off airport security alarms). The upshot is I’m here with a sore arm, spare time and a spare hand to type with and debbym gave me an idea … so here’s a little quiz to take your mind off the news and anything else you’d rather not think about:

1. Sign my cast with a bandage / plaster / titanium related song.
2. Tell us a tale about getting plastered, interpret this how you will.
3. Let us know if you’ve been to a good festival or a good live band event this summer.

That’s all, short and simple … have fun and please try to post links rather than videos otherwise they will gum up the blog.

Off you go!

End of the Week Quiz

There seem to be a few wisps of tumbleweed on the ‘Spill lately, so maybe this will create some interest. There is also the possibility of a small prize, if you read on:

1. You have not decorated your living room for 15 years. You make a start, but are hampered by small child, attached to X-Box and assorted paraphernalia with umbilical cord. Do you:

(a) Decorate around him, leaving the middle of the room murky yellow while the rest is terracotta and coral flair?
(b) Call a computer geek to sever the cord and lead him howling to his bedroom?
(c) Give up and contact a painter and decorator (it’s only money)?

2. You have too many books and, to your horror, you discover Aubrey Beardsley next to “The Children of Green Knowe”. Do you:

(a) Donate all the books to Oxfam, no one ever reads them;
(b) Take all the books off the shelves, go through them, decide you can’t bear to lose them and put them back?
(c) Sit on the ladder with a cuppa and a biscuit, and start reading the Aubrey Beardsley?

3. Your son assures you he can play blu-ray discs so you buy “Life of Pi” as neither of you has seen it. He rips off the wrappers (so you can’t return it) and then tells you you’re stupid because he can’t play blu-ray. Do you:

(a) Take him back to the shop, abandon him there and buy yourself a blu-ray player / download relevant software?
(b) Flog it on E-Bay, if you can be arsed;
(c) Forget about it, you’re too engrossed in that book?

There you are – the prize is “Life of Pi” on blu-ray disc for the first person to tell me they want it. Otherwise it’s ‘Spill points as usual for the wittiest answers. Have fun.

EOTWQ…is woozily romantic

I’m trapped in an abandoned building

Come find me now

We’ll hide out

We’ll speak in our secret tongues

Will you come back to my corner

Spent too long alone tonight

Would you come brighten my corner

A lit torch to the woodpile high

My current earworm is the Frightened Rabbit song, above, I love the you-and-me-against-the world lyrics, a bit soppy maybe but it’s the certain romance that appeals to me, I’ve always believed companionship to be the most important thing – so here are the woozy romantic questions:

1. What’s the sweetest, or most romantic thing you’ve ever done? 

2. What’s the sweetest, or most romantic thing that’s been done in your direction? 

3. What’s your favourite thing to take the edge off? 

4. Did you ever run away anywhere? Where did you go, how far did you get, were you with anyone? 

5. I know I banned music questions from EOTWQ, but what’s your favourite romantic lyric? 

kisses xx

Punky’s EOTWQ – Getting to know you

After a discussion last week with Aba, Maki and leaveitallbehind about ways of welcoming new members to the RR community, I put together this EOTWQ as an icebreaker, so to speak. So everyone, from the most regular of regulars to the newest of newcomers, please join in and take the quiz! Usual rules apply, 6 questions, my answers are at the bottom of this post and feel free not to answer one if you don’t want to!

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Buttons and Bows: EOTWQ

Here’s a little something to wile away a snowy January night, if you’re not already tucked up under the duvet.

My mum died about 14 years ago and I “inherited” her Singer sewing machine. When it was purchased in the 1930s it was powered by hand / treadle, but at some point she had it converted to electricity and incorporated into a wooden cabinet with drawers for all the sewing equipment, and a cunningly designed top which slides off when you want to use the machine. Since 1998 it has been moved around my house and gradually crammed full of my sewing stuff; young Munday’s toys and all sorts. Today I decided to tidy it up, and found mum’s paraphernalia still under the rubble; bits of lace and elastic from her old petticoats; hooks and eyes; wool for darning socks; old Yardley’s Lavender soap boxes full of ribbons and bows; name tags; needle cases; a complimentary sewing kit from the hotel we stayed in for my brother’s wedding in 1968 and Easter chicks I made as a child. It was a strange feeling, like finding a time capsule. So my questions are:

1. Do you have a similar experience to share?
2. Do you keep things in case they come in handy, or
3. Do you chuck things out rather than have a load of clutter?
4. What can I do with my chocolate box full of buttons?

Links to any relevant music are welcome, as always. Have fun!

Apropos of nothing – EOTW quiz

Kathy & wombat Jan 08

I have posted a picture of my friend with a wombat for no particular reason, other than it is an example of how wombats can be very good friends. I have nothing interesting to say; I am slightly lost, slightly bored and slightly drunk. So here are some spill-it-all questions for you:

1. Cutlery drawer. I have asked this before, but it was a long time ago. How do you do yours? Knives, forks, spoons/ forks, knives, spoons? Spoons, knives, forks? You get the idea. And does it annoy you when someone buggers it up?

2. You have just eaten a nice piece of banana cake off what you now realize to be the cat’s dish. You have also spilled instant coffee on the work top in the kitchen. Do you:

(a) throw up; clean up the coffee and apologize to the cat?
(b) apply the 5 second rule, stop worrying and leave the coffee for the morning?
(c) take your mind off both by posting a spurious quiz on t’Spill?

3. You have given up work to look after your child / parent / wombat / aunty Flo. Do you embrace the opportunity or lament the demise of life as you know it?

4. What is the worst thing about getting out of bed in the morning?

5. What is the best thing about getting out of bed the morning?

Light-hearted answers requested and here is some music to jolly you along:

Apologies if I have pipped anyone to the EOTWQ, it’s not even the EOTW yet.

Punky does an EOTWQ! SHINY!

This is a picture of Ginevra Molly ‘Ginny’ Weasley as played by Bonnie Wright in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Because I can.

OK, this is my first time so please be patient with me! Some of these questions may have been asked before, I which case feel free to ignore/berate me… There’s no obvious theme this week, except all these questions came up in a conversation I had yesterday.

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Chilly EOTWQ needs a cardigan

It probably isn’t so bad where you may be in the world, but the new heating system at the collective where I have my workspace isn’t functioning yet, and I’m an ice block. This has led me to think up an EOTWQ with a couple of wintery questions in. Here goes…

  1. Which film scared you as a child? Why? And does it still?
  2. A colleague of my wife asked another colleague on a date recently….via a note in her bag!!! Tell us about your worst romantic disaster?
  3. Off the back of all the literary questions, here’s another. Which literary character would you swap lives with?
  4. Winter’s coming, is there anything in particular that marks the start of winter in your eyes?
  5. What’s your favourite winter food?

I’m off to the Aberfeldy Festival to see some bands, I look forward to reading your answers on my return!

The idle, lazy EOTWQ

At about 1 o clock this afternoon, I pondered on how I could get another cup of tea without getting out of the bath I was enjoying. I didn’t manage to solve this problem, but decided to be thankful that I had one nice cup of tea in the bath, and went back to reading my book. The dog came in and licked my knees; it was at this point I decided to set the End Of The Week Quintet of lazy, idling questions for the lovely inhabitants of The ‘Spilliverse.

1. What’s your favourite idle moment, and do you have to be clever to achieve it? Of late I make sure I have a decent book to hand in all rooms in the house, so if the children deem to leave me alone for a minute, I can pick up the book

2. I have been reading a lot of Tom Hodgkinson lately, and his theories on being free from the Puritanical notions of hard work, which leads me to ask – what’s the most awful, soul-crushing job you’ve ever had? I once worked for one of those companies who may phone you up and ask you questions about current events, or other banalities. Every second lasted a minute, every minute lasted an hour, the clock was watched and watched again.

3. Technology is meant to help us, make our lives easier, but anyone who’s wrestled with a spreadsheet on one of those awful windows microsoft computers, will know that it’s quite often not the case. But have you come up with any clever use of technology that actually helps you ease through life? A good number of months back I created the Peppa Pig randomizer, which played endless random episodes of the show to save me from having to put a new one on the telly every five minutes for the demanding toddler.

4. When I cook, I really hate following recipes and having to endlessly measure out stuff, drives me round the bend. So I have invented my own style of cooking, where i vaguely remember a dish I like, and try and cook it – no measuring, no complicated stuff, lots of shortcuts. The end result is always different, never the same dinner twice, and the kids usually like it. One of my fave shortcuts is garlic puree in a tube, when I discovered that this existed I was exceptionally happy as it meant no more fiddling around, or cleaning, the bloody garlic press ever again. What’s your best kitchen shortcut or secret? 

5. Due to this being the lazy EOTQW, I  can’t really be bothered thinking of a last question, so please think of your own question and write the answer only as your answer to number 5.

Time for a cup of tea now I think and maybe a wee nap…

Speed Dating EOTWQ’s

See? I get kid humor.

As per request. For the uninitiated – I believe EOTWQ’s stands for either “End of the Week Questions” or “Questionnaire” or “Quintet” (5 questions) depending on who you ask and how faulty their memory is.

1) Where ya from? originally?

2) Where ya live now?

3) Where would you want to live if you could?

4) What’s your status? (A question my dad used to periodically ask the cat.)

5) Top 5 Desert Island Discs? (Yeah, i think the rules are that there aren’t supposed to be any music questions. Tough noogies, this is a music blog, it’s important. Innit. Besides, you might end up on one. With someone else, even.)

EOTWQ: the return

Totally Extinct Enormous Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs: would you bring them back?

Anyone want to fill some time before the new topic goes up?

It’s a long time since we’ve had an End of the Week Quintet/Quiz, isn’t it? So long in fact that some of our newer members may not be familiar with the concept. You’ll probably pick it up quickly enough though. Basically, there are some questions, and you can answer them, if you want. One rule: on no account should questions or answers be about music. Unless you really want them to be.

1. Whatever happened to…? Well, who or what’s current whereabouts would you like to discover? (but not quite enough to look it up on Wikipedia)

2. What thing or idea would you like to bring back? (e.g. Top of the Pops, artificial colouring in Smarties, socialism…)

3. You can bring a historical figure back from the dead to help sort out the problems of the world: who and why?

4. Using your powers of resurrection once again, you can give a famous person who died young a full lifetime: who?

5. This time, you can restore an extinct species, lost natural wonder, ancient civilisation… whatever takes your fancy: what?

EOTWQ with Ellis

Ellis really likes posing better than pancake

I have three grandsons – couldn’t possibly choose one favourite. So currently I have a favourite big boy, a favourite little boy (that’s him in the photo) and a favourite baby, and that’s how I get round it. Here’s an EOTWQ that’s all about favourites.

So…what’s YOUR favourite

1 Pudding (dessert, sweet, afters – whatever you call it in your culture)?

2 Breakfast?

3 Mode of transport?

4 Way of spending a lazy day?

5 Antidote? (Choose your own poison…)

Immediate EOTWQ’s

The first crocuses have just come out, and the light is good and overcast. I know i should get my camera set up now for the year and go out and get my first shots. I didn’t have a good night’s sleep, i’m tired and don’t feel like it. But in springtime plants bloom and die so quickly. A few days of strong wind, bright sun, or a bad rainstorm, and the plants are gone the next time it’s feasible to shoot again, so i really need to grab the moment when it comes, or it’s gone.

On a more serious note, my boss had his first baby (at 50) in January, and was going to go down south to visit his mom in April so she could meet his girlfriend and the new grand child. His mom passed away in her sleep last week.

A rushed EOTWQ here, for obvious reasons. Carpe diem.

1. What are you reading right now? (and not this blog, wiseacre).

2. What are you currently listening to? (ditto)

3. What opportunity did you miss in life, that you may regret, and is never coming back?

4. What opportunity did you grab onto in life when you had the chance, that you may have otherwise missed?

5. What is the next thing that you need to do, before it’s too late?

Some Domestic EOTWQs

I don’t really have time to do this properly, and I really ought to be doing several other things – but since everyone else is clearly in the same position, that is going to provide the theme for these last-minute stopgap EOTWQs. Apologies for the fact that they’re rather mundane, but it’s that sort of day, and in any case I’m hoping that in true ‘Spill fashion the most mundane questions will actually yield the most fascinating answers…

1. What domestic task do you complete every week without fail – or get very twitchy if for some reason you’re prevented from doing so?

2. What is the task that you will avoid doing by any means possible?

3. What thing do you always forget – genuinely forget, rather than accidentally on purpose – to do?

4. Who wears the apron in your household?

5. How domesticated are you?

EOTWQs – Where does the time go?!

This is Julie’s latest exercise – not really a time-waster but it IS an album cover for a record that doesn’t exist! She was doing it to hone her newly-taught Adobe skills, ahead of her next assessment at college.

I know I’m getting in a little early, but that’s kind of in keeping with my loose theme. Having spent an inordinate amount of my time around issues relating to the new Drive-By Truckers album, various time-related or opportunities seized/missed thoughts ran through my head.

1. What do you wait for pointlessly?
It doesn’t matter how long I sit there hitting ‘Refresh’, I’m making no difference to whether or not I get any response to my Amazon reviews. Why the hell am I so flippin’ needy on the subject? (That bit’s not an official question, by the way!)

Whilst I’m at my desk with nothing happening on Amazon/ RR / The ‘Spill, I should get through more work than I actually do.
THIS little blighter is partly responsible! So -
2. What’s your favourite way to waste time?

One of the things I used to do almost automatically during the day was go make a(n instant) coffee whilst waiting for the PC to finish tasks, but since being poorly at Christmas, I’ve gone right off instant. I’ve turned it into a sort of New Year Resolution to drink less-but-better-quality coffee, and so far I’ve not had a single granule of instant in 2011. We’ve had this question before, but the other way round: mine to you is -
3. What drink or foodstuff did you used to love, but can’t stand now?

And the strange connections a brain makes … I thought back to an American friend who just never did understand how anyone could stomach instant coffee. And then I realized just how long it is since we spoke to him, or in fact even got so much as a Christmas card from him. So -
4. Who have you lost touch with? How long has it been? Why haven’t you done anything about it?

In Tyler’s case, it’s been so long since we saw him, that we still had the Jeep Wrangler – I remember that because I went looking for some accessories for it when we last stayed with him in Ohio. THAT thought then led me to a cold-sweat memory I’d long-since buried. In 2001, when Julie was 7 months pregnant with Jess, and big with it, she was commuting in the Wrangler. One morning it just conked out and flat refused to restart – IN THE MIDDLE LANE OF THE M621 DURING LEEDS RUSH-HOUR!! She rang me when the AA said it would be over an hour before they got to her (in spite of her condition), but I was over an hour away too. I told her to ring the Police, but those bastards said until she actually caused an accident, she wasn’t a high enough priority to come out to.
She sat there, mostly on the phone to me, both of us panicking, with cars swerving around her for over half-an-hour. Finally, when we were both completely frazzled, a car pulled up across lanes 1&2, put its hazards on, and three apparently HUGE security guards first stopped the traffic, then escorted Julie to the embankment, then pushed the dead weight of the Jeep up onto the hard shoulder. They checked she was OK, asked if she wanted to use their phone, and when satisfied she was sorted, promptly got in their car and drove away. Julie was so freaked by this time, and I (on the phone miles away) was so enraged at the lack of response from the official services, that neither of us even thanked them properly, let alone found out who they were. So -
5. What random act of kindness has someone shown you, that you never got to thank them for?
Here’s your chance to shout it to the world. You never know: this is the internet … they may see this and recognize themselves!

EOTWQ waxes nostalgic

All your aspiring rock star needed in 1978. Including the boots.

So, when I was looking out my B sides the other week, I couldn’t help but have a little muse about my Dansette.

As you know, I’m hoping to move house this year; and I won’t be able to take all my stuff with me. I definitely DO want to take my LPs, 45s and 78s – but that’ll mean taking my very horrible 70s stereo too, or I won’t be able to play them. If only I still had my Dansette, I thought. How lovely that would be.

1 What bit of kit do you think should make a comeback? (Not just music kit. Any kind. Clothes even.)

2 It’s February. What first signs of spring do you look for?

3 Would you write your autobiography? Why? Why not? (You’ve got the appropriate writing skills, so don’t worry about that part.)

4 Duvet, or blankets and sheets?

5 Do you research your family history? If so, what’s the furthest back you’ve got?

[Supplementary question: what's the LP that you can just see part of in that stack? The photo will enlarge if you click on it. I've no idea of the answer, but I need to know.]

EOTWQ has got the munchies

1. What’s the best thing you can put on toast?

2. If I say “childhood” – what’s the first thing that springs to your mind?

3. Coming over all Prince Charles, if you could destroy one building (without hurting anyone in the process) – which would it be?

4. Tell us your favourite anecdote about one of your pets, past or present. If you’ve never had any pets…why’s that?

5. When was the last time you got high, by what means, and what music did you reach for? If you’ve never got high…why’s that?

EOTWQ really should go to bed….

1. I should go to bed right now, but there’s something stopping me, maybe I don’t want the day to end without doing a bit more living. Sometimes I can’t get to sleep ’til I’ve spent equal time lying on all the sides of my body – but what keeps you up at night?

2. Being of an English persuasion I’m awful at complaining, and wouldn’t return a dish in a restaurant even if it walked off the plate flicking the vs at me. My Scots other half on the other hand will happily complain if anything’s amiss. This evening I caught a bit of a show on BBC3 that was so awful I had to voice my concerns to the Beeb about wasting my money. What was the last thing you complained about, or what has been your most memorable complaint? And what was the outcome?

3. Reading about Glasshalfempty’s pilgrimage to New Orleans, I thought about places I’d like to go that are to do with music. I remember paying homage to Blur’s “For Tomorrow” video by rolling down Primrose Hill once (I met Graham Coxon that day too, but that’s another story). I also thought about one of my beloved previous pet cats, who I named Mogwai after one of my favourite bands back in ’99. So, tell us about a musical or film tribute/homage/whatever you have paid, no matter how small.

4. It’s taken me nearly a month to return the one Lovefilm DVD rental we have out just now, and nearly 24 hours to clear up the half eaten mouse that was under the kitchen table. Out of sight, out of mind it seems. My side gate also needs to be repaired but I keep forgetting about it until I notice on my way out somewhere, but at that point I can’t do anything cos I’m off out, and then it slips my mind again…what’s the one thing you need to get done but keep overlooking again and again?

5. Before I went to university my Mum showed me a couple of frugal recipes that I learnt. “Packet Of Ham Risotto” is very popular even now in my grown up-with kids-household. What recipe did you inherit and still use today?

Coincidence City (where it’s two to one)

A few months before I had my Tom Petty epiphany, I chanced upon this album of surf music. The notes with it implied, rather intriguingly, that the Blue Stingrays weren’t a real band, but a nom-de-disque of a very well-known band who happened to be into surf music. Well, I like surf music so I downloaded it, and I liked it very much, and eventually I found out that the Blue Stingrays are – yes, you’ve guessed it – the Heartbreakers.

So, I know we’ve had a coincidence question before in EOTWQ (which this is), but maybe now you’ve had more time to remember them:

1 Have you encountered a coincidence as good as my one? If yes, what?

2 Are you ready for Christmas?*

3 What was your best Christmas?

4 What was your worst Christmas?

5 What are you hoping for THIS Christmas?

*People who don’t celebrate Christmas may substitute another festival of their choice. Or, you know, just ignore the whole thing.

EOTWQ – The Outdoor Type

I meant to post these questions back in early summer, but, you know, stuff came up. So here, unseasonably, they are now.

And here’s some music to get you in the mood (or possibly not).

See that picture? That’s where we camped back in July. St Agnes, Isles of Scily – last landfall this side of Newfoundland. It looks idyllic – but we were pleased to have my dad’s house to retreat to when the sou’westerly gale came in. Some unlucky souls ended up sleeping in the church hall. So my question:

1. Camping?
a) Yay! Bring out the billy can.
b) Not on your life.
c) Only at festivals.

And what’s been your most memorable camping experience, for good or ill?

2. Have you ever had to spend a night in the great outdoors due to unforseen circumstances? (e.g. the motor on the boat you’ve taken over to an uninhabited island conks out, and it’s the days before everyone has a mobile, and despite your desperate waving of a luminous orange rucksack from the highest ground, nobody sees you, and then it starts to get dark, and you haven’t got any food, and your brother’s beginning to suffer mild hypothermia having got soaked in seawater trying to get the boat started… actually, we got rescued by the lifeboat at around 11pm, so maybe this doesn’t count).

3. Not far from where the above happened, my dad recently saw a pod of more than 100 dolphins. I am unspeakably envious. We had a question some months back about scary animal encounters, but what’s your best experience of seeing an animal in the wild?

4. What natural wonder or landscape have you found most awe-inspiring? We’ll allow some human influence, but it should be about the setting – so, say, Machu Pichu counts, but the Taj Mahal probably doesn’t.

5. Where do you go when you need to escape? Or if you can’t get there, where would you like to go?

EOWTQ – ‘Spill The Movie

S’pose we has to have some questions, but why not aim higher? Is the world ready for ‘Spill – The Motion Picture?

1. The Pitch: How to approach this cinematic masterpiece & acquire some cash to get it made? Remember to keep it simple if you’re trying for big bucks from Hollywood – it’s like x meets y, often works. You can get away with being more arty if going the indie route, as long as it doesn’t cost too much.

2. The Director: Who best to capture the glorious ‘Spill on film?

3. The Cast: Who should we get to play who?

4. The Location: Where should we shoot our epic?

5. The Soundtrack: Who’s scoring or appearing on the soundtrack to provide just the right atmosphere?

& for extra credit, a sample scene wouldn’t hurt, if your creative juices are now flowing.

EOTWQ at Rick’s

1 “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Ever suddenly found yourself in the wrong place? (Or the right place?)

2 What’s your favourite weather?

3 Do you Skype? And, if not, why not?

4 When the going gets tough, a ‘Spiller…..

5 So, 5 years of RR. Will you still be RRing in another 5 – and/or what else will you be doing?

EOTWQ (or should I be waiting for Blimpy to start a new month?)

This week’s theme: Home Economics (in the broadest sense of the term)

1) My back yard – can’t really call it a garden – currently looks very much like the above photo. [OK, our bench might not be in such good nick]. Is it really worth destroying the weeds (I’m thinking in particular of a particularly aggressive non-flowering bindweed-type plant smothering everything it can reach) and planting up dinky pots of herbs and  flowers for the 20-odd days in a year you actually get to sit outside and enjoy them?

2) Anyone know a cure GUARANTEED to get my voice  back and my head clear within the next 36 hours?

3) We’ve done ‘food’ any number of times, but I need your Number One emergency recipe involving no more than five (storecupboard staple) ingredients. Spill pints awarded for comfort factor…

4) Having been stupid enough a couple of months ago NOT to take the money and run (aka ‘voluntary’ redundancy) I would be very surprised to find myself still ‘gainfully’ employed come Christmas. As we are several ‘Spillers whose ‘home economics’ have been threatened of late (Shoey & Ali spring to mind) – what great money-making joint venture would you recommend?

5) Ending on a lighter note – our resident Canadian tincancomic is taking a break, so let’s grasp this golden opportunity to roll out all those Canadian gags we’ve been holding back for so long. My favourite Canadian joke?

Bryan Adams!

Over to you…

(P.S. If anyone was waiting with a real EOTWQ, feel free to ignore this)

Eddie Orders The Wrong Question?

As a relative newbie, i still don’t know what EOTWQ means. It’s like one or those Mock the Week segments where they post a news photo and letters, and the panelists have to guess the caption. So I’d be grateful if someone could fill it out for me. I got drafted on the spot here, so a quickie with softball questions this week after the last two anorak editions, i’ll do my own anorak version when i can be arsed another time.

1. Cat Person or Dog Person?
(also acceptable answers – both, or other animal. Photos welcome with full bragging rights.)

2. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure reading material?

3. What instrument do / would you play?

4. One from MTV – What embarassing songs are on your ipod / playlist / music collection?
(One answer i remember from Ja Rule was Party All the Time by a certain Mr. Murphy)

5. Hey, baby, what’s your sign?

Decline and Fall of the EOTWQ

Yes, I know it’s a bit early, but I have a piece of work that I’m supposed to be finishing, and so wanted to get this distraction out of the way. Many apologies also for the shameless self-publicity; in my defence, this is the first time that one of my books has made it into the window of a proper bookshop (even if I did have to drop a note to the proprietor to mention that I’m a local author who recently gave a reasonably well-attended talk to the Gardening Society), and, perhaps more relevantly, the acknowledgements do include the first, but surely not the last, reference to the ‘Spill in print… Anyway, in honour of this event, some more or less historical – and, of course, utterly pretentious – Roman-themed EOTWQs.

1. “My favourite subject at school: invasion of the hot Italians” (Amy Pond in Doctor Who, on the Roman conquest of Britain). Which is the sexiest ancient civilisation, and why?

2. Toga or woad? Or chiton?

3. According to one recent commentator, “modern hi-tech terrorists are the new barbarians”. What’s the crassest and/or most unhelpful historical analogy you’ve ever heard?

4. The Romans ate honeyed dormice while sleeping with their sisters and smothering their enemies with rose petals (allegedly). What’s the most obvious indication of the decadence of modern society?

5. The empire has fallen, the oil is running out, capitalism has run its course: how do you plan to make a living in the new Dark Ages?