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  • That Was Genius Team

Episode 92 - Bring Your Own Buns to the Sausage Show (Imitations Week)

Tom's Notes:

Audience feedback; some chap on Podbean said we’re the funniest English podcast around. Bold statement and thank you very much!

I stood Sam up this week. We usually record on a Thursday but earlier in the week I spotted someone on Facebook market place giving away a shit load of books for free. I saw that this was an incredible opportunity so ran down to the bottom of our neighbours garden to see what Shazza thought about it all. I tiptoed between the turds and niknaks, and to my surprise there were lots of discarded pens and broken garden gnomes, I knocked on the wheelbarrow and… then I heard a voice say

Have you bought me a biro?

To draw moustaches on these garden gnomes

I find it helps with my hands, carpal tunnel syndrome.

Shazza? Is that you? I replied.

She’s gone on holiday with Barry the mole

To a wheelie bin full of old sausage rolls

I cover her when she’s away from home,

Oh baby, pass me a gnome,

I’m undressed!

So it turns out, Shazza wasn’t there, but Tina Turner was covering for her, and Tina Turner likes drawing moustaches and glasses on gnomes with her tits outs. Anyway, I asked her advice regarding the books and she said go for it.

Oh and what good advice! It was more than a full carload of books, and I had a VW Passat estate filled to the brim, to the extent that when I got home, I opened the boot and loads just fell out on the muddy drive way. Much like Bill Gates dropping a 10 dollar note, it wasn’t worth my while picking these up so I just kicked them into a bush. I then sifted through all the books and we’ve kept about 1/5th. Amongst these, I’ve got loads of Plato, some Greek playwrights, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The Golden Ass of Apuleius (two in fact, one a first edition Penguin Classic), a third edition Penguin Classic Odyssey (the first every Penguin Classic), St Thomas Aquinas, Nietzsche, Piers Plowman, the complete works of Shakespeare, loads of poetry, loads of high street history (Simon Schama stuff), loads of reference books for mythology and folklore, an 1835 Bible and 1837 Complete Concordance to the holy Bible. This is a big reference book for all sorts of things you might want to consult with the Bible regarding, you know, before Google. “Erectile dysfunction. Ah! For matters of the nob, refer to Job. Relationship problems. Ah! Issues with birds, check proverbs. My teenage children are being a pain in the arse. Ah! Pubescent quandary, got to be Deuteronomy.” Just a fucking jackpot.

Although I’m now trying to give the books I don’t want to everyone I meet. GEEZER “Do you want some books? I’ve got lots of books. I’ve got hardbacks and paperbacks, big ones or small ones, fat or thin, whatever you fancy. Oh I bet you like the older books don’t you? Fusty smell and bound in leather. You pervert! I can sort something out for you.”

Anyway, this week I started by research with my epic book collection. I almost went for the phrase ‘wolf in sheeps clothing after flicking through Aesop’s fables, but it turns out that the story of the wolf in sheeps clothing from Aesops fables is very probably an example of an interfering monk inserting Christian stories into Ancient texts because there are no examples of this fable beyond the Middle Ages I read, so it’s actually a Biblical phrase not a Classical one. Regardless, whilst flicking through the fables, I did come across “Why giants are boobies”. Apparently when Zeus created man, he asked Hermes to fill them up with intelligence. Hermes used the same measuring device for all people, so humans were filled to the top, but giants were only half full. Hence being thickos!

I looked in a number of other places too, and discovered information that would have been useful for last week’s episode in my dictionary of witchcraft. Eventually, I settled on the fascinating story of Pavel Jerdanowitch, a Russian modern artist who led the revolutionary school of Disumbrationism in the 1920s.

Jerdanowitch was Russian but moved to Chicago with his family when he was 10. After a spell on a South Sea Island, his family then relocated to California. Early in his career he was a struggling artist but then in 1925, a friend visited a saw one of Jerdanowitch’s works which had been left beside the fireplace in his family home, occasionally being used as a fireguard. This friend was impressed by the artwork describing it as similar to Gaugin. Jerdanowitch decided to take a punt and submit the work to a gallery in New York in the hope that it would be displayed in an exhibition of new artists. It was duly accepted. It’s worth describing this piece, it was called ‘Yes, we have no bananas’ and it consisted of a Pacific Island lady holding a banana in the air whilst she smiles fiercely. Behind her is a skull on a stick.

Jerdanowitch was soon asked by a French art magazine to explain the painting. He described it a depiction of a Pacific Island women coming of age by eating a forbidden banana after she has killed a missionary and put his skull on a spike. The magazine wrote “The artist has a distinctly individual manner in representing people and objects, and uses brush to symbolize the sentiments. In this he is not satisfied to follow the ordinary paths. He prefers to explore the heights and even, if necessary, to peer into the abysses. His spirit delights in intoxication, and he is a prey to the aesthetic agonies which are not experienced without suffering.”

The career of Jerdanowitch was gathering momentum so he set to work on some exciting new pieces of art. Amongst others, we have ‘Aspiration’ which involves a black washer women staring a cockerel on a washing line. One critic wrote that this piece was, "delightful jumble of Gauguin, Pop Hart and negro minstrelsy with a lot of Jerdanowitch individuality."

There was also a work called ‘Illumination’ which Jerdanowitch described as follows; "It is midnight and the drunken man stumbles home, anticipating a storm from his indignant wife; he sees her eyes and the lightning of her wrath. It is conscience at work."

It’s fair to say that the artistic movement of Disumbrationism created by Jerdanowitch was taking off.

Let me introduce you to another artist now, a lady called Sarah Bixby Smith who was a more traditional artist. She drew realistic landscape and portrait paintings at the same time as Jerdanowitch, but her works were receiving a cold reception. The early 20th century was a time when Modern Art was really emerging. The second half of the 19th century had seen impressionism emerge, which was a bit different but I’d say still quite realistic, but things got more bonkers in the 20th century. Against this backdrop, Smith’s work was labelled “distinctly of the old school” despite being really rather good. Sarah Bixby Smith’s husband, Paul Smith, was pissed at this. Paul Smith was a rather stuffy academic who, amongst other things, translated the works of Robert Burton, a 17th Century English writer.

Now, I’d like you to compare the names Pavel Jerdanowitch and Paul Smith. Quite similar aren’t they?

Well that’s because Paul Smith was so pissed off by the pretentious art critics who panned her wife’s art exhibition that he invented Pavel Jerdanowitch. Paul Smith was Pavel Jerdanowitch and he knocked up his shitty art works as a laugh and to his surprise, was incredibly popular with art critics.

Paul Smith was becoming quite bold after the success of his initial piss takes. One of his later works as Jerdanowitch was, as one newspaper wrote, “was a woman kneeling before a totem pole in the Polar regions.” That totem pole was actually a giant cock.

Anyway, by 1927, Smith felt like he’d made his point and revealed the whole thing as a hoax. Jerdanowitch wasn’t completely dead though, 4 years later his works were exhibited again, presumably with everyone knowing full well that it was all a joke, with a new work called ‘Gination’ which depicts a lady, very badly because she looks like Kurt Russell after a stroke, with her rather oddly shaped tits hanging out staring cross-eyed at a bottle of gin on a shelf. I can’t help but feel that this stuffy academic was quite enjoying this outlet for his bonkers side. “It’s satire darling, I’m not enjoying it at all.”

Now some honourable mentions. I almost chose the topic of people pretending to be Native Americans. I found these very funny and wow are there lots of them!

Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance – this was actually Sylvester Clark Long. I didn’t research this one for very long but I think he pretended to be Native American because he was of African ancestry and so he thought he’d have a better lot in life pretending to not be black.

Iron Eyes Cody - Espera Oscar de Corti. He pretended to be native American to further his acting career, he was actually Sicilian. I’m disappointed he didn’t choose the name ‘Sleeps With Fishes’ or ‘Never Rat’, ‘Tony Tomahawk’. Make him an offer he can’t refuse! What like? A new canoe and some firs?

Grey Owl - Archibald Stansfeld Belaney. From what I briefly gathered, this man from Sussex decided to make out he was Native American for Romantic reasons and also possibly to sell more books. He became a trapper and conservationist.

Two Moon Meridas - Chico Colon Meridan. Now I’d probably want a different name if I was named Chico Colon. My Spanish isn’t very good but I think his name translates as Boy Arse-Hole. He lived his early life in the US and had Mexican parents. He pretended to be Native American presumably to help his herbal medicine business.

Lastly, there’s Red Thunder Cloud - Cromwell Ashbie Hawkins West. He was African American but pretended to be Native American and was actually the last, fluent non-native speaker of the Catawba Language according to Wikipedia, thus demonstrating why Wikipedia has to always be taken with a pinch of salt. How can someone credibly be called the last non-native speaker of a language? If I learnt it now, that would then make me the last non-native speaker. Bloody nonsense. Anyway, I’m not sure if anyone actually tested this claim, Cromwell could have just been talking shite.

Oh and there’s also Kevin Costner who pretended to be Dances With Wolves when he was in fact a Hollywood Actor

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