Buying a Microphone

I know that I go over the top when I research a new, relatively expensive purchase and choosing a mic to use for podcasting and recording my 5 Towns Radio show for broadcasting is no exception.

I recorded a whole show using my Macbook Pro. It’s one with a maxed-out spec and so it’s up to the task. I used Garageband as the software: three tracks: one for the voice, one for the songs and the other for the bed. I used the built-in mics (there are three of them on this model) on the mac to record my voice and I think it came out pretty well, but it’s obviously not going to be top-notch. Hence my search for a microphone.

My initial research suggested a Blue Snowball mic and so I priced it all up on Amazon and, including a suitable adjustable microphone stand, pop filter and windscreen pack and the USB to USB-C adaptor it came to about £75.

I told someone at work about this choice and he said you should go for road. Road? I said? Yes, he said. Turns out he meant Rode. I completely ignored his advice.

Then I got a call back from Rob Godridge, a fellow presenter on 5 Towns Radio, who also records from home. He recommended the Samsung Go. I looked it up and realised that I had misheard him and he was saying that I should get the Samson Go. It’s a clip-on mic (no, not to your lapel, to your laptop or other structure on the desk) and it’s neat and well reviewed. It doesn’t need a stand and so comes in at only £45 (£50 if you include the USB adaptor). So that sounds good.

Then, when I was comparing reviews and looking at other mics, I came across one called MAONO AU-PM421. The reviews looked fabulous and it was promised to be a mic that exceeded the sound and build quality of items that were three times its price. It also came with a stand, a windscreen and a pop filter, all for a bargain £70. I almost bought it on the spot. I didn’t because when I read the reviews on Amazon, then all talked about the amazing sound quality but said that the stand breaks a bit too easily.

So I thought about it over dinner. I realised that, although having a stand for a mic gives a better quality sound, it’s also the thing about working in the studio that I disliked the most. You see, the mic is always in your face and it obscures the screen where the music is and the phone I want to read my stories from and the pad with my notes on. Suddenly it all became clear. Rob’s recommendation of Samson Go was the way forward.

I’ll think about it overnight and order it tomorrow. It’ll be here on Monday and then I can get on with recording next week’s show. I have it all mapped out and I have the music already. It’s going to be a comparison of the top 12 of this year and the top 12 of 40 years ago (1982 for those of you that can’t do maths). And that’s all I know.

If you have any recommendations for mics then let me know before noon tomorrow. Goodnight.


Update: The Samson Go is on order and, as I said, it’ll be here tomorrow. I wanted it in white and so it’s entirely appropriate that the other two colours were out of stock. Here’s what it looks like:

Samson Go Microphone

Recording from Home

So, something new. Instead of going into the 5 Towns Radio studio in Castleford to record my show live, I’ve recorded it at home on my MacBook Pro. All it took was three tracks on Garageband – one for my chat, one for the songs and one for the bed. A two-hour show is only 170Mb and it’s easy to transfer that to the studio using wetransfer.com. All being well, the show should be on the air on the 13th starting at 4pm. You can either download the app or listen on the website at https://www.5townsradio.co.uk/

Enjoy!

Oh, here’s the playlist on YouTube:

Panto Night – Thursday 16th Dec 2021

There’s no Topical Quiz today because it’s Panto Night (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio!

I’m going to be reading my very own panto live in the air tonight. This will be a proud and significant moment for all of mankind so don’t you dare muss it!

The panto is called Snow White and the Kidnapping of Santa and you can listen to it (and follow along by reading the script on the above link) on the 5 Towns Radio website. Or you can download the app from Google or Apple.

Don’t bother looking behind you because it’s not there. It right here! Right in front of your very nose. 🎅👸👻

Topical Quiz – Thursday 09th Dec 2021

Question and Answers for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

Questions:

  1. What have Boris and Carrie just announced?
  2. What have the CDC just claimed is ‘mild’?
  3. What’s the latest threat to civilization according to Elon Musk?
  4. What do cats think of hugs, humans and happiness?
  5. Which country is planning to ban smoking for the next generation?
  6. What is Plan B?
  7. How’s the cricket going?
  8. There are rumours going around that the UK government had a Christmas party last year. What’s wrong with that?
  9. As experts say that 2 doses of a covid vaccine are not enough to protect against the Omicron variant and that a booster shot is essential, what’s the earliest I can get an appointment to get a booster shot?
  10. Which massive football team are unbeaten in eleven and yet could only pick up a draw against Portsmouth the other day, their third in six matches, and so are rather close to dropping out of touch with the promotion spots?

Answers:

  1. The birth of their second baby.
  2. CDC chief says Omicron is ‘mild’ as early data comes in on US spread of variant
  3. The tech billionaire said low and rapidly declining birth rates are “one of the biggest risks to civilization.”
  4. Not a lot as it turns out
  5. New Zealand will ban the sale of tobacco to its next generation, in a bid to eventually phase out smoking. Anyone born after 2008 will not be able to buy cigarettes or tobacco products in their lifetime, under a law expected to be enacted next year.
  6. The government has announced new Covid rules for England – including working from home if possible and wearing masks in more public places.
  7. England are not doing so well – first man out on the first delivery and then all out for 147. Australia, their opponents, are doing better – 343 for 7. Don’t worry, all’s not lost.
  8. Sheesh c’mon, people – what’s the problem?! If they did have one and managed to keep it secret for a whole year then it can’t have been all that extensive. Probably a couple of blokes having a glass of sherry and a mince pie in opposite corners of the room. Get a grip! And yeah, you’re right – I didn’t watch the video.
  9. A week a Monday. That’s about eleven days. I guess I’ll just have to be careful over the next week and a half then.
  10. Sheffield Wednesday. Come on you blue and white lizards!!!

Topical Quiz – Thursday 02nd Dec 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

Questions:

  1. Which football team won twenty-nil the other day?
  2. What’s the name of the latest Covid variant?
  3. What just hit Scotland and left a lot of damage and people without power and stuff?
  4. Why is the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree being mocked?
  5. Which UK Prime Minister just got his covid booster jab?
  6. Why has Lake Windermere turned green?
  7. Why are more than a quarter if British birds under threat?
  8. Where’s the real news?
  9. Have you got your Christmas tree up yet?
  10. What do you fancy for number one in the singles charts this Christmas?

Answers:

  1. The England women’s football team beat Latvia 20-0. They have now won six qualifying matches for the World Cup by scoring 53 goals and letting in none.
  2. Omicron.
  3. Storm Arwen.
  4. Because it looks spindly, thin, ropey and unwell.
  5. Boris Johnson.
  6. Conservationists say this is due to raw sewage (what humans flush down the toilet), being pumped into the lake as the nearby water treatment site is struggling to handle the amount of excess storm and rain water.
  7. Experts say that human-made climate change, disease and illegal hunting has drastically lowered the population of many of these species.
  8. Dunno. Must be a slow news day. It’s all about death, disease and destruction and who wants to hear about that!
  9. Nope.
  10. Rage Against the Machine.

Indie Music is Alive!

I just made a YouTube Playlist of the music on the first of these two Post-its Millie gave me last Thursday. You can listen to the Playlist here if you like:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSUvr2smGHat5yJZqJeJBugRJSOWs3y92

Indie Songs Playlist

Millie was kind enough to volunteer to step upstairs from Reception at The Hut in Castleford where she was working last Thirsday (25th Nov 21) to do the Topical Quiz with me as I was broadcasting from the 5 Towns Radio studio. She got an impressive seven out of ten – well done, Millie! 😃

Anyways, we got chatting about music and she gave me this list for me to educate myself from.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 25th Nov 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

Questions:

  1. Which famous football team came back from one-nil down to claim a fantastic two-one win over MK Dons to boost them into the promotion spots on Tuesday?
  2. Which rocket ship owner just sold another billion dollars worth of his own shares for tax obligations? How many people could it be?
  3. Which major telecoms company has apparently sparked fear in the hearts of millions of elderly customers by announcing plans to switch from analogue to digital technology?
  4. What is 42% (in York) of your council’s budget spent on?
  5. What has just happened in space to save us all from sharing the fate of the dinosaurs?
  6. Which British US Open winner has just has her first holiday in seven years only the Daily Mail to report that seems posed in a bikini (and had a jet ski ride)?
  7. Why do migrants leave France for the UK?
  8. How do I know that Ralf Rangnick, the newly appointed manager of Manchester United won’t do as well as Sir Alex Ferguson?
  9. What’s just passed the ten million mark here in the UK?
  10. What happened to Richard Madeley and why on earth is it in the headlines when the same thing has happened to 10 million other people?

Answers:

  1. Sheffield Wednesday!
  2. Elon Musk
  3. BT
  4. Adult Social Care
  5. The DART missile is on its way to a rendezvous with an asteroid so that it can try to knock it off it’s path by colliding with it.
  6. Emma Raducanu.
  7. I’m psychic.
  8. I don’t know .Twenty-seven people died when their dingy deflated as they tried to cross .Most deadly day ever.
  9. The number of covid cases in the UK since the pandemic started.
  10. Because he’s a celebrity? Please get me out of here!

Complete Script – Snow White and the Kidnapping of Santa

Characters

Dame Snow White-Claus
Santa Claus
Billy Bob
Billy Joe
Joey Bill
Jilly Jane
Lumpy the Dwarf
Trumpy the Dwarf
Grumpy the Dwarf
Puck the Dwarf
Reindeer
Rambo
Reindeer
Rocky
Reindeer
Terminator
Reindeer
Bruce Lee
Reindeer
Indiana Jones
Reindeer
Jack Sparrow
Reindeer
Yoda
Reindeer
Gandalf
Reindeer
Harry Potter

(more details can be found here)

Act One

Scene One (info about the main characters and location as told by four dwarves)

Lumpy: If we take much longer getting this shopping back home, she’ll not be happy will Snow White, our fair princess of old, who has left the forest with four of her trusty helpers (to whit me, Lumpy and my companions on this shopping trip: Trumpy, Grumpy and Puck) to come live in Cas where she married …

Trumpy: You have to be funnier than that. This is a Pantomime and Pantomimes are supposed to be funny. You’re not being funny, Lumpy.

Lumpy: I thought I could build up to funny as I went on. I mean, we have to set the scene first so that the boys, girls out there in Radio Land know what the heck is going on. How are they to know that we are walking from the shops back to Castle Ford, the great and mighty castle where Dame Snow White-Claus lives with her husband, the big, jolly, fat Santa Claus if we don’t tell them?

Grumpy: You should have got a narrator. Phil the Station Manager said to get a narrator. If you got a narrator then all of this could have been done …

Puck: Put that …

Grumpy: No, Puck. Bad Puck. Puck isn’t to swear on the radio. Bad, bad Puck.

Puck: No, I was just going to say that you should put that cheese in the bottom of the bag, otherwise it’s going to go off in the sun!

Trumpy: Oh, that’s nice. I see what you did there. A clever play on words, Puck. Now it’s starting to look up!

Puck: Puck me!

Grumpy: What’s that?

Puck: I said …

Trumpy: Yes, yes. Your name is Puck. Puck you.

Puck: Rude! Don’t you talk to me like that, you farty creature!

Trumpy: Well, excuse me! My name is Trumpy. Farty is still back in the forest with the other dwarves!

Puck: Farty, Trumpy, Pumpy – whatever! You should lay off the baked beans and that’s that!

(loud toot)

Lumpy: Now see what you’ve done, Puck; you’ve made Trumpy trump!

Trumpy: It’s stress flatulence. I can’t help it if Puck will insist on bothering me like that! At least I’m not called Lumpy, like some people around here, not mentioning no name, Lumpy.

Lumpy: Why are you having a go at me now! I didn’t make you fart! That was Puck!

Trumpy: Well you didn’t do anything to stop it either, did you!

Lumpy: What would you suggest, a cork?!

Grumpy: Enough, enough, this isn’t getting us anywhere nearer to explaining what this pantomime is about to the boys, girls in …

Lumpy: As if you care. All you do is walk about looking grumpy. Grumpy by name and Grumpy by nature.

Puck: Knock knock.

Lumpy: Who’s there?

Puck: Chris.

Lumpy: Chris who?

Puck: Christmas is coming and if we don’t get on with this panto soon, we’ll not have it finished on time!


Scene Two (introducing Dame Snow White-Claus and Santa Claus and the Reindeer living in Castle Ford)

Dame: Sweethearts! How lovely! I’m sooo happy that you decided to join us here at the very nicest Castle in the Five Towns area: Castle Ford: the house and hearth of the bestest and most illustrious family this side of fairytale land: the Claus Family! My name is Dame Snow White-Claus and next to me on this comfy sofa is my darling Husband Santa Claus and we’re blessed with our Reindeer …

Reindeer Harry Potter: Who you talking to, Snowy Mamma?

Dame: Why thank you for asking, Reindeer Harry Potter. I’m talking to the girls and boys out there in Radio Land, specifically the ones who are listening to 5 Towns Radio – the finest destination on your dial for, not just chat and music, but a raw, visceral connection with the 5 Town’s Community!

Reindeer Harry Potter: Oh, that’s alright then. It’s just that you just looked like you were sitting in a corner, talking to yourself like a nutter again.

Reindeer Rocky: She might be old, but she ain’t no nutter is the Dame.

Dame: Ere, who you calling old, Reindeer Rocky? I’ve only been around for … let’s see, when did the nice man Walt Disney do that movie about me?

Reindeer Indiana Jones: That’d be just after I found the Lost Arc but before the fiasco in the Temple of Doom, so about 1937 I would say. I have it on Blu-Ray if anyone wants to …

Dame: Yes, Reindeer Indiana Jones: 1937, so considering I was 18 then and it’s now the back end of 2021, that makes me …

Reindeer Harry Potter: … a nutter sat in the corner talking to herself!

Santa: Oh, what’s the blooming point?

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: ‘Ere we go again! Miserable old Santa Greybeard starts to moan about life and brings the whole room down to the very depths of Davy Jones’s Locker with all his groaning and grating. I don’t know why you just don’t set sail in a pirate ship and follow the breeze on the high seas looking for adventure and treasure and get to see what life’s all about instead of sitting in front of the fire rubbing your hands together and going on and on and on and on and on about your miserable compaints until we all die of boredom.

Dame: Reindeer Jack Sparrow! Why do you have to be so cruel to Papa Claus?

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Papa Claus? He’s no father of mine! Does he look like has hooves on the end of his arms? Or are you trying to say that us nine reindeers are all the victims of a cruel genetical experiment that blended humans, reindeer and certain dodgy movie characters together into … this! And all so that the people out there in 5 Towns Radio Land could laugh at us over their Christmas Puddings and the like?!

Reindeer Harry Potter: That sounds about right, Reindeer Jack Sparrow. I’m just glad that I ended up with a magic wand so that I have something to play with while I’m in bed!

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Yeah, and I’ve told you about that, Reindeer Harry Potter! Absolutely filthy habit; you should be ashamed of yourself. And by the way, when you’ve got a moment, can you show me how you do it. It’s the hooves, you see. I can’t seem to do a thing with ’em!

Santa: Pointless!

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Exactamundo, Santa! I couldn’t agree with you more. And so frustrating too! Especially during those long nights alone in my bunk.

Santa: We should give up on Christmas altogether. No one believes in it anymore anyway. We barely get any letters from the kiddies these days, even with the post office redirecting everything from Lapland to here in the 5 Towns Area. It’s pointless to even bother! The kids all know it’s Mommy and Daddy that buy the toys, and that means that we might as well just sign on the dole.

Dame: Don’t despair, Santa. I’ve got a feeling that a change is coming. I can feel it in my water, and before you say anything, young Reindeer Harry Potter – no, it’s not a urino-logistical infection. This is something different.

Reindeer Harry Potter: Gah, Snowy, you’re stealing my best lines here! I could have gotten a big laugh out of that one!

Dame: Oh listen, that’ll be the dwarves back from the shops.

Dwarves (all together): Hi-hum, hi-hum, it’s from the shops we’ve come (then the whistling part).

Dame: Right, let’s get in that kitchen and get dinner on the stove. It might be the end of Christmas as we know it, but we still need to be fed. But I’m right about one thing: a change is going to come. You just wait and see, boys and girls!


Scene Three (introducing the bad character: Billie Bob and his brothers and sister)

Billy Bob: Rats, scrats and scallybumph.

Billy Joe: What’s up, bad Billy Bob?

Billy Bob: Aaaarghhh!!! This book is driving me crazy, Billy Joe, my second born quad-brother. Here I am trying to heducate myself to be a Captain of Industry in the 5 Towns Area and beyond, and all this book wants to do is scrample my brain into something like what you’d scrape off the bottom of your shoe after you’d stepped in something horrible that one of those pooper-scooper people should have picked up after it fell from their dog’s smelly rear-end!

Billy Joe: Stop reading it then, bad Billy Bob. I mean, what are you going to do when you finish this course anyway? You’re only going to carry on bullying the people at work into doing what you want anyway. You might not have been born with spam-for-brains but at least you’ve got a mean right hook!

Billy Bob: You’re right Billy Joe. There, that’s what I think of this book.

(a loud crash)

Joey Bill: Ouch! Why’d you throw that book at me, Billy Bob? I wasn’t doing anything to you. I was just sitting here playing Candy Crush Balls and a book hit me in the back of the neck and smashed my face into the screen on my phone! And look, you’ve made me lose the game too!

Billy Bob: You are a useless idiot, Joey Bill. You might be my third-born quad-brother but I despair at how bad you are at being bad like what I am. Here’s me trying to set an example of being bad to the bone and all you can do is sit there playing stupid games on your phone. How the heck are we going to show the world that we are kings of capitalism and prodopo… propono… propodo…

Jilly Jane: Proponents?

Billy Bob: Thank you, freakishly-kind, fourth-born quad-sister of mine – I hate you to bits. How are we going to become prodo … examples of consumerism when half of us don’t even care about filling our pockets with loads-a-money?!

Jilly Jane: We can do it by working hard and getting our just rewards. And if we don’t get them here on earth then we will get them in heaven, Billy Bob.

Billy Bob: Sod that for a game of chocolate tea-cosies – I want my rewards here and now and if I have to cheat and shout and rant and rail and …

Billy Joe: I’ll help you, bad Billy Bob. I’ve been thinking about it and we should have a name for us. We should call ourselves The Four Horsemen of the Consumer Apocalypse. You can be an honorary Horseman, Jilly Jane on account of that you’re one of the quads that we are. It don’t matter that you’re more of a Horsewoman. We can overlook that because we’re blood.

Jilly Jane: That’s very kind of you, Billy Joe, to include me in on your game. I’m sure that we’re going to become super-rich now. So let’s see, I’m assuming that Billy Bob, because he’s a sales-supervisor at Aldi, is going to be the Sales Horseman of the Apocalypse, yes?

Joey Bill: Wait, wait – I know! Billy Joe will be the Marketing Horseman of the Apocalypse because he’s the Marketing Director at Neon Sheep, the premium gift shop on Carr Wood Rd and Joey Bill, me in other words, will be the Advertising Horseman of the Apocalypse for the simple reason that I deals with the advertising in the Pontefract and Castleford Express (news you can trust since 1880). I get it, I get it!

Jilly Jane: I suppose I’m the honorary Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, even though I’m a woman because I’m the Public Relations bod at Ann Summers – playful lingerie, fancy dress outfits and bedroom toys in Castleford!

Joey Bill: Yes! How did you know that, Jilly Jane?

Jilly Jane: Well, Joey Bill, I guess I just done gone and worked it out!

Joey Bill: Clever sister, Jilly Jane!

Billy Bob: Sound nice, but it’ll take more than that for business to pick up around here. I reckon we need to do something a little bit more radical than have a fancy name. My name’s not Bad Billy Bob if I can’t think up a better plan than that. I know, let’s kidnap Santa Claus!

All the others: What?!

Billy Bob: The way I see it – he’s the only one that’s stopping us from having a real boom time at Christmas. All this nonsense about him delivering free toys at the end of the year is holding us back from having a bumper end-of-the-year. With Claus out of the way, there’s nothing to stop us all from getting filthy-rich. Right, that’s decided. We’ll do it tomorrow!


Scene Four (The naughty quadruplets carry out their evil plan by bundling Santa into their white van as he is coming out of Aldi. Oh no!!)

Billy Bob: There he is going into Aldi. I told you Santa shopped here. I see him all the time.

Joey Bill: About time too, this van stinks something rotten!

Billy Joe: Hey, I can’t help it, Joey Bill. It’s the beans on toast I had for breakfast!

Joey Bill: It’s not that, Billy Joe, it’s the hole in the exhaust and fumes leaking into the cab. But yeah, you’re right; the fact that you had a second helping of those farty beans this morning probably isn’t helping much. Talk about silent-but-deadly!

Billy Bob: Shuddup, all of you; shuddup. We need to think this out. How are we going to get him into the van without anyone noticing? My name’s not Bad Billy Bob if I can’t get you to think up a cunning plan to bundle Santa into this van when he comes back out of Aldi. What do you all think?

Jilly Jane: You’re not. It’s not going to work, Billy Bob. There’s loads of people here in the car park and even more people coming out of the shop all the time. It’s going to be impossible.

Billy Bob: Thank you, neg-head Jilly. Any more useful suggestions from any of you? If not, I’m just going to run him over.

Joey Bill: You can’t run Santa over!

Billy Bob: Why not? It’s not as if we need him for anything. I mean, we just need him out of the way really. Kidnapped or dead, it’s all the same.

Jilly Jane: Apart from, of course, the life sentence when they nab you, nick you and incarcerate you for all of your natural years. Not to mention that we’d all go down as accomplices. Kidnapping is not so many years in the clink as far as I can figure.

Joey Bill: Yeah, Jilly Jane is right. I don’t want to shut up in a small room for the rest of my natural-born life. I get claustrophobia! It’s bad enough being in this van with the three of you!

Billy Bob: Okay, okay. we won’t top him then. We’ll just lock him in the garden shed until after Christmas – job done! So long as he can’t do any of that Christmasy stuff the economy’ll rebound and we’ll all get rich,

Billy Joe: Tell me again how rich we’re going to become, Billy Bob?

Billy Bob: We’ll be so rich that we’ll be able to move into our own houses instead of living in the three-bedroom council house that Mam and Dad left us in when they … you know …

Billy Joe: Shuffled off this mortal coil to reside ever after in the company of angels?

Joey Bill: Popped their clogs, never to be seen again on this wicked earth?

Jilly Jane: Got hit by a bus after having a few too many?

Billy Bob: Yeah – died.

Billy Joe: Nice! Ow, what you hitting me for, Billy Bob?

Billy Bob: What do you mean ‘nice’! How is it nice that we’re orphans left to fend for ourselves in a lonely and grief-stricken world?!

Billy Joe: Nah, I just mean that it’s going to be nice when all of us have our own houses!

Billy Bob: Oh. Okay. Look, there he is! What’s the plan?

Joey Bill: How about we just drive over there, open the sliding door at the side of the van and then drag him inside?

Billy Bob: Genius. Right, here we go.

Billy Joe: Yee-haaaaaaaa!

Sound of an engine revving, gears crunching, tyres screeching, muffled shouting and a big thud then the engine revving and tyres screeching again.

Billy Bob: Santa is in the bag – mwahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!!


Scene Five (The dwarves see Santa being kidnapped and pile in to rescue him. Hurrah!!)

Grumpy: What are we going to Aldi for again? I thought that Santa had just gone!

Lumpy: Yeah, Dame Snow White-Claus said that she forgot to ask him to pick up cornflakes and so that’s what we’re all here for.

Grumpy: All four of us? How does it need four dwarves to carry back cornflakes!

Trumpy: It’s because the Castle is chock full of people. There’s a momma, a poppa, four dwarves and nine reindeer in the place and so ‘cornflakes’ means, like a dozen boxes. That’s at least three boxes each and, because they’re awkward to carry without bags, ’cause Santy Clause is too stingy to buy any more and we don’t have any bags left in the house due to them all being used to make up food parcels for the poor and needy in the 5 Towns Area in conjunction with Airedale Food Bank (working with local businesses and individuals to help alleviate hunger in our community) then it takes all of us just to buy cornflakes.

Grumpy: Oh. Well, when you put it like that …

Lumpy: Also, the Dame is fed up with us moping about talking about the good old days in the forest where we used to go out every day and mine for gold even though that’s why we were able to travel here to the north of England and buy a castle.

Grumpy: So it’s just to get us out of the house then.

Lumpy: Yup, that’s about the size of it.

Grumpy: And I suppose that’s why she didn’t just call him up on his mobile and ask him to pick up an extra dozen boxes of cornflakes.

Lumpy: I think you’re getting the message. And not a moment too soon because we really need to get on with this scene before the boys and girls out there in Radio Land grow impatient with us or, worse, fall asleep!

Grumpy: Oh, the horror!!

Puck: For Puck’s sake, let’s get on with it then!

Lumpy: Not just for your sake, Puck; for the sake of all of us!

Trumpy: Look, we’re here at Aldi now and, hey, isn’t that Santa over there coming through that sliding door with all the shopping stacked up in his arms?

Grumpy: Unless there’s another fat, white-bearded dude dressed in red clothes here in Cas then, yeah – that’ll be him.

Lumpy: Grumpy. Dude. Christmas is nearly on us – there are, literary, hundreds of blokes dressed like that all over the country!

Grumpy: True that. All the same, that’s our Pappa Santa alright, Trumpy. Look at the way his eyes are twinkling at the kiddies. You just can’t fake love like that.

Trumpy: Let’s hurry on over so that we can buy the cornflakes and then help him with his boxes. C’mon!

Lumpy: Hold on, guys, there’s a white van coming! Don’t you guys ever look before you cross the road? You’re going to get skittled one of these days! Look left, look right then look left again. Always follow the green cross code.

Grumpy: Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

Lumpy: We’ll have none of that, Grumpy. Let’s set a good example for the boys and girls out … What the heck!

Grumpy: What!

Lumpy: Do my eyes deceive me or is it the case that Santa is in the process of being pushed into the back of that white van by two evil-looking clones while a third clone drags him inside and a fourth clone gets ready to drive away!

Trumpy: By jingo, I think you’re right, Lumpy; and look, they’re stealing his shopping too! This is awful. We must do something about it!

(loud toot)

Lumpy: You mean apart from letting rip with the most enormous fart you could conjure up from your backside?!

Puck: Baruk Khazâd!

Lumpy: Yeah, like Puck just yelled: To Battle!

All together: TO BATTLE!!

Grumpy: Let’s be sharpish about it, lad’s the van’s pulling away!

Lumpy: A quick sprint is all it’ll take. See, I’m up with the van already. Let me just use my freakishly strong arms to rip this sliding door off the side of the van so that you can all just inside and see what havoc you can wreak.

(sound of tortured metal being ripped apart)

Trumpy: Nice one, Trumpy. I’m inside! Santa is here. Rescue in progress.

Grumpy: Give us a hand up, Trumpy and I’ll use this knife I keep up my sleeve to cut the ropes binding his arms and ankles. Puck, you stay there and catch Santa when I throw him down to you.

Puck: Puck off.

Grumpy: That’s what I said, Puck: Puck stays off the van.

Lumpy: Santa’s trying to say something. Let me get that duct tape off his face so that he can speak!

Santa: ARRRGHHHHH, you nearly ripped my beard off too, you clumsy oaf!

Lumpy: Oaf I am not! I’m a purebred dwarf through and through.

Santa: Anyway, look out, one of them is behind you.

Trumpy: Oh, don’t worry, it’s only a girl version of the cloned humans. They’re generally the less harmful of the species.

Jilly Jane: Oh, you just go right ahead; don’t mind me. I’ll just sit here and do my knitting.

Lumpy: Sarcasm?

Jilly Jane: Yup, sarcasm.

Grumpy: Can we get on with this rescue, guys? This van is speeding up and we have a little bit of unloading to do here?

Lumpy: Sure. Let me just push the big guy out and we can get back to Aldi for those cornflakes. Catch, Puck!

Santa: Don’t forget to unload the groceries too. Aldi might be ‘great quality with everyday low prices,’ but that doesn’t mean we have to throw money away!

Lumpy: Sure, no probs. Grumpy, Trumpy, give me a hand with these boxes, guys.

Trumpy: Excuse me, lady.

Jilly Jane: No probs. Moving out of the way right about now.

Lumpy: Good, good. Puck, catch!

Trumpy: Right, that’s the last of them. Off we go.

Grumpy: Jumping now.

Lumpy: Ditto to that.

Grumpy: Can’t believe that van just drove off and left us. It’s as if it was being driven by a bunch of evil idiots who didn’t even realise that we’d foiled their evil plan to kidnap Santa.

Lumpy: Ah, don’t worry; you get people like that. Let’s get going; Christmas isn’t going to wait forever!


Scene Six (Back at the castle where they get drunk, sing a celebratory song and generally have a bit of a knees-up.)

Lumpy: … and then I smashed up the van, beat up the evil clones and carried Santa back home on my shoulders with …

Trumpy: No, no! That’s not how it happened! It was me that smashed the evil clones’s heads together and carried off the skinny maiden in order to have my wick …

Dame: Trumpy – I’m shocked! I thought you didn’t like humans!

Trumpy: Ah, whatever. More mead! My glass is empty and I’ve a thirst on me that’ll take a lake to quench!

Grumpy: Let’s have a song. Pappa Santa- sing us a song of triumph over evil. One we can all sing the chorus to and have ourselves a rousing good time with!

Santa: Ahem .. here’s a little ditty I wrote with my good friend, Elton. This is for you, Mrs Claus – it’s called Santa Claus.

All: Cheering.

Santa: (strums guitar) Here we go, sing along when you get the jist.

(singing)

I love my Mrs Claus, Snow White
Sweet lips, lovely eyes
And we’re going to get high
As a kite tonight

I don’t miss Lapland much I’m with my wife
Never lonely in her arms
Oh such a beautiful Life

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til Christmas brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
‘Cause I’m Santa Claus
Santa Claus, burning down the streets of Normanton

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til Christmas brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
‘Cause I’m Santa Claus
Santa Claus, burning down the streets of Castleford

Lapland ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it’s cold as hell
Mrs Claus ain’t there to raise them
Anyway

It’s better here
In Five Towns Land
I do my job at Christmas time
I’m Santa Claus
Santa Claus

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til Christmas brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
‘Cause I’m Santa Claus
Santa Claus, burning down the streets of Pontefract

(all singing)

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til Christmas brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
‘Cause I’m Santa Claus
Santa Claus, burning down the streets of Featherstone

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til Christmas brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
‘Cause I’m Santa Claus
Santa Claus, burning down the streets of Knottingley

And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time
And I think it’s gonna be at Christmas time

All: Cheering and laughing (to fade).


INTERMISSION


Act Two

Scene Seven (breakfast at the castle the next morning during which some are jolly and most have hangovers)

Santa: Ho ho ho ho!

Grumpy: Ho my gosh, how can you want to be so loud, Santa. Have mercy on them of us what have horrible hangovers!

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Shiver my timbers, Grumpy, but you are a man after your own name!

Grumpy: I’ll trouble you to use the correct nomenclature, young reindeer. I’m a dwarf through and through and nevermore shall be otherwise unless, perhaps, I shall be worm-food one day.

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Worm-food indeed! We shall all be that before many years have passed, young Grumpy. With the possible exception of Santa who is, as I understand it, immortal. And if he isn’t, he should be immortalised forever on the basis of the fine song he sang us last night. Elton himself couldn’t have done better.

Santa: I’ll take that, Reindeer Jack Sparrow. I thank you kindly.

Dame: Pancakes! The Dame is here with pancakes for breakfast. I have nine troughs for the reindeer, four plates for the dwarfs and one giant-sized plate for a giant-sized, jolly Santa!

Santa: Ah, my sweet fairy-tale creature, how I adore everything about you Mrs White-Claus!

(clattering of plates and assorted chewing noises)

Reindeer Rocky: Hey, Reindeer Rambo, get your own trough, this is mine. I’ll punch your lights out if you steal my food again.

Reindeer Rambo: If you punch me then I’ll get up and hit you with a hammer when you’re not looking. You choose.

Dame: Boys, boys! Save your mindless violence for the evil clones that tried to kidnap Santa yesterday! I might only be a dame, but I know a little about vengeful creatures and the lengths to which they will go to bring good people down. For was I not, myself, poisoned by my wicked stepmother just for the sake of beauty? And look at me now! All she needed to do was wait for time to play her tricks. These delicious apples I was once so proud of are now going south faster than geese in winter.

Reindeer Harry Potter: You really they will try again, Mother Dame?

Reindeer Yoda: Do or do not. There is no try. Oh, terrible, that was. All the way through the script for the opportunity to use that line I’ve waited and rubbish it ended up being. My pancakes I’m going to eat, and lock myself in my room for this panto all. Unless, of course, evil clones come. In which case, back, I’ll be!

Reindeer Terminator: Oh, come on, Reindeer Yoda! That was my line! I accept that there will be no place in this script for lines like “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle” or “of course I’m going to kill him, I’m a Terminator” but I was sure that I would be able to say “I’ll be back!” Now that you have ruined the panto for me, just give me my pancakes, I’m going to my room to sulk. Erm, Lumpy, old pal – can you give me and Reindeer Yoda a hand with these troughs?

Lumpy: Sure, but it’ll cost you a pancake each.

Reindeer Yoda: Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

Lumpy: Dude, it’s just a pancake! Oh, whatever! Off we go – up the wooden hill again to Bedfordshire.


Scene Eight (the quadruplets hatch a new plot to kidnap Santa that very night)

Billy Bob: So tell me again, Jilly Jane – why didn’t you stop the four dwarves from rescuing Santa?

Jilly Jane: Well, duh! The answer’s in your question, Billy Bob: four dwarves! Four against one is not the kind of mathematics I like. And anyway, it’s not as if any of you lot did anything to help!

Billy Joe: Well, to be fair, we were in the cab up front and …

Jilly Jane: … and the brakes didn’t work? And you couldn’t have screeched to a halt and piled out of the cab to give me a hand? Me being a delicate female Horseman of the Consumer Apocalypse and all of that? No? Nothing? Thought so.

Joey Bill: Listen …

Jilly Jane: No, you listen, Joey Bill – I’m not happy, and when I’m happy I want to eat ice cream and there’s not in the house and …

Billy Bob: Okay, enough. It didn’t work and we lost a van door. But so what! We’re down, but we’re not out. Christmas hasn’t come yet and so we go again. When do you think we should do it?

Jilly Jane: We need another plan.

Joey Bill: A bold plan.

Billy Joe: A nefarious plan.

Billy Joe: An insidiously evil plan!! So, talk. Tell me what you think and then I’ll tell you what we’ll do.

Jilly Jane: This is a bad idea.

Billy Bob: What makes you say that, Jilly Jane? Oh, wait, let me guess: it’s because you’re goody-two-shoes and you believe that people are essentially good and that we should all be kind to small animals, never kill spiders, always give money to people who live on the streets and smile when we stub our toes on raised up paving stones. Am I right or am I right?

Jilly Jane: Well, you’re mostly, oh gosh, I nearly said moistly right then! Oh, the horror! No, you’re mostly right, Billy Bob, apart from the part about giving money. I think that people get better karma when they make an effort to make their own money and if they don’t they get reborn as spiders, and not the kind that I put out of the bathroom, no, I mean the kind that you torture by pulling their legs off and then squashing them slowly.

Joey Bill: Ick! Why do you do that, Billy Bob?

Billy Bob: What, pull their legs off?

Joey Bill: No, squashing them slowly. You should do it quickly to put them out of their misery.

Jilly Jane: We’re kind of slipping off the point here, guys!

Billy Joe: Yeah, we need a nefarious plan to kidnap Santa!

Jilly Jane: No, we need to call the whole thing off and let Santa get on with his life, stop killing spiders and have good karma so that we can be enlightened beings in our next life!

Billy Bob: Over my dead body!

Jilly Jane: Precisely! Look, we failed to kidnap him yesterday and so that must be the universe telling us something. We should totally listen to the universe when it gives us a message. The universe is important!

Billy Joe: Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Look, if we don’t kidnap Santa then we’re not going to get rich because Christmas will just be about kids getting free stuff instead of buying stuff from our shops here in Cas. We have to do it!

Billy Bob: Well said, Billy Joe, so what’s the plan then, lads and lassies?

Joey Bill: How about we …

Billy Bob: Excellent! So we’re agreed then! We sneak into the Castle tonight and steal Santa away while everyone is sleeping. I’m so glad we had this chat and came to a unanimous agreement. Right, I’m going to have a nap now so that’ll I’ll be fresh for our escapade tonight, and I recommend you all do the same. Nighty night.


Scene Nine (the evil quadruplets sneak into that castle and steal Santa away under cover of darkness)

Billy Joe: Ouch!

All: Shh!

Billy Joe: But he stood on my bad foot!

Billy Bob: If you don’t shut your trap I’m going to stand on the other one and it won’t be slowly, it’ll be quick and vicious and it’ll hurt and I won’t let you scream because I’ll put duct tape over your mouth and if you thrash about then I’ll put duct tape over your nose until your eyes go wide and your eyeballs pop out!

All: Shh!

Jilly Jane: Oh, enough of the shushing, we’re still at home practising being quiet! At this rate, we’ll have to have duct tape on all our mouths or we’ll wake the whole blooming castle up tonight! Hic.

Billy Joe: Duct tape! Great idea. We should duct tape his mouth shut so that even if wakes up he won’t be able to scream.

Billy Bob: You know, Bill Joe, if I didn’t know for a fact that you were related to me then I’d swear that the postman or the milkman managed to get to our mother and insert stupid genes into your brain. One more time: we aren’t going to need duct tape because we’re going to chloroform him; got it?

Billy Joe: Ow! There’s no need to get violent! Again!!

Joey Bill: How about we all just settle down and let Billy Bob go through the plan one more time so that we’re all sure.

Billy Bob: Thank you kindly, Joey Bill. Okay, here’s the plan: go to the castle, pick the lock, sneak in very quietly, chloroform the big guy, pick him up, carry him out, load him in the van, carry him home, lock him in the shed, wait for Christmas to pass and then let him loose again. Okay? Clear? Good.

Jilly Jane: Might as well stop the panto right here then if that’s all that’s going to happen. Then we can let the people get back to listening to mince pies, watching their socks by night and singing the Queen’s Speech.

Joey Bill: Erm, Jilly Jane; have you been drinking at all?

Jilly Jane: Nope. Not a lip has passed my drops, Ossifer. I might have imbibed a bottle of cough syrup, though. I had a bit of a tickle and, well, you know: it’s not the best idea to go into a thing like this if I’m coughing like a …

Billy Bob: Oh, that’s marvellous. Blooming marvellous. Not only are we walking into a castle full of heavily armed dwarves but we’re going to do it while under the influence of cough syrup. We might as well give up now and resign ourselves to living a life of poverty!

Jilly Jane: Excellent idea! Now, what’s on TV tonight?

Billy Bob: Oh no you don’t. I see your plan now, you cunning cat. You just want to sabotage the whole thing so that we can …

Joey Bill: Kill Bill.

Billy Bob: What’s that you say?

Joey Bill: I said ‘Kill Bill’.

Billy Bob: I know that’s what you flaming well said. What I mean to say is why are you telling Jilly Jane to kill at least on of her brothers?

Joey Bill: Urm, no, I’m pretty sure I’d know if I said that, Billy Bob!

Billy Bob: Then …

Jilly Jane: Let go of Joey Bill this instant, Billy Bob, you hear me? He was just saying that there’s a film called Kill Billy, ah, sorry, Kill Bill on TV tonight! I asked him!! Remember?

Billy Joe: It’s time.

Joey Bill: No, it’s not on until seven-thirty.

Billy Joe: Not that. It’s time to go. We have a date with Santa, and it’s not Christmas Eve!


Scene Ten (The reindeer find Santa is gone and ride out the rescue him)

Dame: He’s gone! My love is gone and he’s never coming back and my heart is broken and will never mend until my beloved Santa is returned back to my arms where he belongs! Gone, gone and thrice gone!!

Grumpy: Will someone please calm Ma down, she’s giving me a proper headache will all this weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Alternatively, does anyone have a paracetamol capsule? Not a tablet, they get stuck in my throat.

Trumpy: Our king is missing and all you can think about is your head, Grumpy? Has anyone called his mobile to make sure he hasn’t gone out of a jog or a paper or something?

Reindeer Rocky: Santa doesn’t jog, Trumpy. He could have gone out with me, pumping his fists to salute the crowds after running up the massive flight of six steps outside the Castleford Civic Centre but he never wanted to do that, even though he would have definitely stood a chance of having a statue built in his honour! And no, I didn’t see him at the paper shop either.

Reindeer Happy Potter: I’ve searched the castle and he’s not here anywhere. I couldn’t get into the loo, but Reindeer Gandalf was in there shouting something about …

Reindeer Gandalf: You shall not pass! Yes, I was having a little trouble with my bowels this morning. I tried a little reverse psychology and it worked a treat. I can guarantee that Santa was not in the bathroom with me.

Lumpy: Let’s face it, Santa’s not here. We’ve searched the castle from top to bottom, he must have been kidnapped. Again! We are undone! What shall we do?

Reindeer Bruce Lee: Defeat is a state of mind; No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality. I fear not the man who has practised 10 000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10 000 times.

Reindeer Indiana Jones: Ah, thank you, Reindeer Bruce Lee for those insightful words but if no one has anything more to add then I vote that we report this to …

Puck: (panting from running) Puck this!

Grumpy: Ah, young Puck, where’d did you appear from, and what’s that you say that you have there?

Puck: Puck this.

Lumpy: Looks like a number plate. Where did you get that from, Puck?

Puck: Puck in the driveway.

Lumpy: Our driveway? Then this must be from the van that they took Santa away in! The same van that those evil clones used before at Aldi! I told you they’d be back!

Reindeer Terminator: No, Lumpy Dwarf – I said that I’ll be back!

Lumpy: Oh, don’t start that again, Reindeer Terminator, can’t you say something more useful than that?

Reindeer Terminator: Give me the number plate and I will run the plate on my cybernetic computer brain and find out where it is registered.

Lumpy: You can do that? Oh, wow! Here you are then, I’m handing you the number plate.

Reindeer Terminator: Thank you. Logging on. Running scan now. Yes, it is, 666 Kershaw Ave, Castleford WF10 3ES, just next door to the Airedale Business Centre!

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Right, me hearties, saddle up the sledge for we must ride out to rescue Santa!

(music in background (soft) Ride of the Valkyries)

Grumpy: Wait, wait – before we go, let’s run through this checklist before we leave the castle so that we don’t have to be in the situation we were in last month where we pulled the door shut without anyone having a key and so we had to fight with the worms for the spare one buried in the back garden.

Dame: I’ve got the key!

Grumpy: But, m’lady, you should be staying home at the castle. This is a war party and there’s no room …

Dame: Finish that sentence if you dare, Grumpy. This is 2021 and there’s no room for discrimination and bias in today’s society here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And besides, Reindeer Rambo has lent me his spare hammer!

Grumpy: Okay, key: check! Weapons?

Reindeer Rocky: I have my gloves and my fighting hooves in that’s all a gentle-deer needs.

Grumpy: Nice one, Reindeer Rocky. Reindeer Terminator?

Reindeer Terminator: Sawn-off shotgun. Highly illegal, but also very effective against white vans and evil clone legs. My directive states that I will not kill anyone, but maiming is not off the table.

Grumpy: Yes, let’s try not to kill anyone. An evil victim is not a valid defence in court these days. Reindeer Rambo, I assume you have your crossbow for long-range, non-lethal targeting as well as your hammer for close-up work?

Reindeer Rambo: Aye-aye, Captain Grumpy.

Reindeer Bruce Lee: I have my fists of fury to take on this warrior’s journey on the way of the dragon to the game of death.

Grumpy: Fine, fine, Reindeer Bruce Lee. Just remember that we’re not going as far as death today. We’ll get off the station before that, if you don’t mind my metaphor, and merely maim and disfigure. Good, then that’s that settled. Reindeers Yoda, Gandalf and Harry Potter?

Reindeer Yoda: In me, the force is strong

Reindeer Gandalf: Courage will now be your best defence against the storm that is at hand-—that and such hope as I bring. (pause) And I have my staff too.

Reindeer Harry Potter: I have my wand in my pocket.

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: … and there it should stay, you saucy young lad. Indecent exposure is not a good thing to be brought to the dock for.

Grumpy: … and you should know, Reindeer Jack Sparrow. I can see you have your swashbuckling sword there and so I’ll say no more to you. Reindeer Indiana Jones? Reindeer Indiana Jones? Darn it, where is that reindeer?

Reindeer Indiana Jones: (out of breath) Sorry, I was just looking for my gun. I was sure it was in a box on top of the wardrobe. I would have just taken my bull-whip, but I can remember a time when that didn’t work out very well for someone and so I thought I’d better make sure I’m suitably armed. And yes, yes – I heard you from upstairs – I’ll be careful not to kill anyone too much.

Lumpy: Us dwarves all have our hammers. Proper hammers they are, not claw-hammers like Reindeer Rambo uses, but Warhammers with leather grips, shafts as long as they should be and a good, square head for bashing and bashing all day long. Yes. Very suitable.

Dame: These evil clones have picked the wrong family to mess with, this Christmas. Come, children – (shouted) we ride!

All: (shouted) We ride! (background music rises to a crescendo)


Scene Eleven (The bat has flown the cave …)

Grumpy: Well that was a waste of blooming time and energy.

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Quite the anticlimax if you don’t mind me saying so.

Grumpy: You sure you got the right address, Reindeer Terminator?

Reindeer Terminator: I am sure.

Grumpy: Well I’m equally sure that there was no one. Not one evil clone to be seen and certainly no Santa.

Dame: This could end up claiming the record of the shortest Christmas Pantomime scene ever.

Grumpy: Well it needed to be really; that last scene was a tad overlong to my mind.

Reindeer Jack Sparrow: Ah well, never mind. Anyone up for trashing the place?

All: (shouted) Yes!!


Scene Twelve (Somewhere out of town, the quadruplets are arguing with Santa over existential matters)

Santa: (emphatically) Mmm mmmm mmmmmmmm mmmm mmmm mmm mm mmmm!! (translation: (not to be said) Get this fricking duct tape off my face!!)

Joey Bill: Hey, guys – I think Santie’s trying to say something.

Billy Joe: We’re clear out of Cas now, Billy Bob and heading towards our cousin in Featherstone. Do you think it’ll be okay to take the duct tape off of Santie’s mouth? I’m right glad we decided to put it on and fix his arms and legs together with them nylon zip ties because he woke up real quick from that chlorophyll. I’m guessing that the dose wasn’t enough for such a fat bloke. By the way, why are all four of us jammed into the front of this van while Santie has all that space in the back? I mean, sure, I feel safer this way but it’s awful cramped and Joey Bill keeps farting something rotten.

Billy Bob: When you’ve finished your whining, Billy Joe, reach into the back of the van and pull that duct tape off his face. I’m sick of hearing all that unintelligible mmm mmm mmming! Hey, Santie! Grunt once for this to happen so quickly that it rips that beard right off your fat face, or twice if you want it done slow and hideously painful.

Santa: Hmmm.

Billy Joe: Fast it is then. Here we go, hold still.

Santa: (rising to angry bellow) Hmaaaghhhhh!

Billy Joe: What happened to ho ho ho, now, Santie. You not in the mood?

Jilly Jane: Lay off him, Billy Joe, wouldn’t you be upset if you were in his position?

Santa: You should put yourself in my position for one day and see how hard it is. One day! Unbelievable! Unbelievable.

Jilly Jane: Aw come now, Santa, you don’t have such a hard life. Up there in that castle with all those dwarves and reindeer doing your bidding and giving you a life of luxury, not to mention a real-life Disney character; and one of the prettier ones too!

Santa: Hmmph.

Jill Jane: And then there’s …

Santa: Listen, you just don’t know what it’s like to not exist!

Joey Bill: What? What’s that you’re saying? That Santa doesn’t exist?!

Santa: Yup.

Joey Bill: No. Tell me you’re messing with me! Heck, you’ll be telling me next that the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist and that Harry Potter and Snow White are only real in stories!

Santa: Bingo. And there’s more.

Joey Bill: So basically, you’re saying that there’s no basis in reality for all the characters in fables, children’s stories, fairy tales, Disney movies, plays and … and …

Santa: Go on, say it. Feel your inner truth. Accept it.

Joey Bill: … and Pantomimes!!

Santa: Ah, there it is. Feel the power of your belief! Accept the redeeming quality of the truth! Say it with me: I

Joey Bill: I

Santa: Don’t

Joey Bill: Don’t

Santa: Exist!!

Joey Bill: Exist!! Oh, Billy Joe, help me! I can feel myself fading away. Look, the road grows insubstantial before me as the phenomenal universe fades before the glory of the light of the eternal truth: I TRULY DON’T EXI … Ow! What the frick, Billy Bob, why’d you just punch me in the nuts!!

Billy Bob: Can’t you see what he’s trying to do to you, Joey Bill? Next thing he’ll be telling you that, because he doesn’t exist, it’ll be quite alright to drop him off at the next bus or train station so that he can mosey on home to his non-existent castle, draw a non-existent bath, divest himself of his non-existent red pyjamas and bathrobe and soak himself for an hour in non-existent freakin’ bubbles! The. Guy. Is Sitting. Right. In. Front. Of. You!!!

Santa: Ah well, it was worth a shot. Listen, you got anything to drink in this van? Flask of tea, perhaps?

Billy Bob: No. I. Do. Not. Have. A. …

Jilly Jane: Alright now, Billy Bob, calm down. You know what that nice policeman said about your temper.

Santa: Water would be fine?

Jilly Jane: Here. Keep the bottle.

Santa: Little tricksy with my hands tied, but if you’ll just remove the cap? Ah yes, that’s wonderful. Thank you. (sound of glugging) You know, even if I do exist, and I’ll agree to disagree with you on that point, then why are you kidnapping me? I see that you have a very elegant means of conveyance here and you’re all smartly dressed and so it’s surely not for the ransom!

Joey Bill: Because we’re the Four Horsemen of the Consumer Apocalypse.

Santa: Ah, I get it! So you think that if you kidnap me, lock me in the toolshed for the duration of Christmas and then let me loose afterwards then it’ll mean that mommies and daddies everywhere will have to buy toys and gifts for the boys and girls out there in 5 Towns Radio Land and thenceforth the economy will go into a massive boom period thus making you all incredibly wealthy and desirable! Am I right?

Joey Bill: Well, that’s about the size of it, yes.

Santa: A few points for you to discuss amongst yourselves while I quietly avail myself of this excellent water, securely tied up in the back of this van: One: I don’t have any elves anymore. They didn’t want to move from Lapland with me and besides, there was no room in the castle. Two: no elves means no toys. I haven’t been distributing toys since 1984, when Wham! prophetically released a song called Last Christmas. Three: No elves and no toys means that I do not have any influence on Christmas whatsoever. There, now discuss those things and their profound and deep ramifications amongst yourselves at the top of your voices while I, as I said, quietly enjoy this water.

Jilly Jane: (raised voice) See, I told you we shouldn’t have done this?

Billy Bob: He’s lying, can’t you see?

All: (confused and raised voices fade to a background babble)

Santa: (quietly) now let’s see if I can bite through the nylon of these shoddy zip locks. Ah yes, there it is. And the feet too? Yes! I wonder if this door will slide open from the inside. Ah yes, excellent (sound of door opening).

Joey Bill: Red light!

(sound of van screeching to a halt)

Joey Bill: Green. You can go now.

(engine revs and van sets off)

Billy Bob: (raised voice) Listen, we have Santa securely in the back and so we might as well …

(argumentative voices raise to crescendo again and then fade away)

Santa: Lucky they didn’t search me for … (sound of ringing phone and someone answering)

Dame: (phone voice) Pappa Santa, is that you? How are you? We’ve been worried sick! Where are you, my love?

Santa: Hello, Sweet Snowy Pumpkin Love, I’m, let’s see … ah yes, the corner of Ackton Lane and Willow Lane, just outside Featherstone. Any chance you could pop over and pick me up? I’ll be loitering on the corner dressed in red. Should get an interesting reaction from the passers-by!

Dame: See you soon, Pookie. (normal voice) Santa’s safe – let’s go and get him!!

All: Yay!! (wild cheering)


Scene Thirteen (reunited back at the castle for a jolly party and sing along)

(party noises)

Santa: … and that’s the whole story! Right, turn that music up and let’s get some serious singing and partying going down at this castle!

Grumpy: Wait, wait, they’ve tried this twice now. What makes you think that they won’t try again? I mean, once they found out that you were not in the van they probably turned around and headed straight back here. They could be outside right now!!

Santa: Well, yes. But no.

Grumpy: Why are you smiling, Pappa Santa. Do you know something we don’t?

Santa: Well, you remember, Sweet Snowy White, when you me of your rescue plans and you shared that Reindeer Rambo had lent you a grenade?

Dame: Yes, I remember that.

Santa: Well, let’s just say that you are not the only one Reindeer Rambo has been generous with. Right, who’s for a toast? To Christmas!!

All: To Christmas!!

(song starts: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Wizzard)

Santa: Sing along now boys and girls! Ho ho ho!

Oh when the snowman brings the snow
Oh well he just might like to know
He’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face

If you jump into your bed
And you cover up your head
Don’t you lock the doors
You know that sweet Santa Claus is on the way

Well I wish it could be Christmas everyday
When the kids start singing and the band begins to play
Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday
Let the bells ring out for Christmas

When we’re skating in the park
If the storm cloud paints it dark
Then your rosy cheeks are gonna light my merry way

Now the frosticals appeared
And they’ve frozen up my beard
And so we’ll lie by the fire
Til the sleep simply melts them all away

Well I wish it could be Christmas everyday
When the kids start singing and the band begins to play
Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday
Let the bells ring out for Christmas

Well I wish it could be christmas everday
When the kids start singing and the band begins to play
Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday
Let the bells ring out for Christmas

Why don’t you give your love, it’s Christmas

When the snowman brings the snow
When the snowman brings the snow
When the snowman brings the snow
When the snow…

All: (loudly) Merry Christmas Boys and Girls from everyone here at 5 Towns Radio!!

Topical Quiz – Thursday 18th Nov 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

Answers:

  1. Which otherwise fabulous football team fell to a tragic three-nil defeat to Plymouth in the FA cup on Tuesday?
  2. The first long-acting injection for HIV has just been approved. When did the first case of HIV / AIDS in the world appear?
  3. A national shortage of which snack has caused panic in the UK this week?
  4. What is HS2 and where will it not go?
  5. Does 3D the latest plant-based printed ‘meat’ pass the taste test?
  6. If there are almost 40,000 new cases of covid per day in the UK, how come no-one is making a fuss in the papers?
  7. Who just got an invitation to get a covid booster shot this week?
  8. What will the new ‘busyness’ feature in Google Maps enable you to do?
  9. How much weight has Adele lost since 2011?
  10. According to a Guardian News story this week, that have white collar workers working from home started to do?
  1. Sheffield Wednesday.
  2. 1959.
  3. Walkers crisps.
  4. Well, lots of places really, but this week it has been announced that the HS2 link between the East Midlands and Leeds is being scrapped.
  5. Yes, according to the BBC.
  6. Because 200 people per day are dying from it as opposed to over 1,300 when the death rate was at its peak.
  7. Probably lots of people, but me and the wife were among them and we’ll be getting them as soon as we can.
  8. Find (or avoid) crowds of people.
  9. Seven stone! That’s 100 pounds or 44 kilos!!
  10. Work two full-time jobs simultaneously. Apparently some IT support staff have so much time on their hands that they can comfortably take on another similar job at the same time and get paid twice.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 11th Nov 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. Which two countries, that didn’t bother to rock up at COP, just announced a major climate change agreement to save the world?
  2. Which amazingly marvellous, world class football team beat Harrogate Town on Tuesday to progress through to the next round of the cup?
  3. What was the theme for Becky’s rocking show at 2pm this very afternoon on 5 Towns Radio?
  4. Which group released their first studio album for 40 years this week – Voyage?
  5. Which political group, back in charge in a country I won’t tell you the name of, because that would give it away, have just announced ‘opium is here to stay – it is our lifeline’.?
  6. Why did we all have 2 minutes silence today at 11am?
  7. Who has just shocked the entire known world by painting over a painting by Banksy?
  8. Which former Apartheid president has passed away at the age of 85?
  9. How many patients are awaiting hospital treatment in England? 58 thousand, 580 thousand, or 5,800 thousand?
  10. Geoffrey Cox accrued at least £6m from second job while a parliamentarian. What does Boris Johnson say about this?

Answers:

  1. The US and China.
  2. Sheffield Wednesday.
  3. Number one hits of the 1950s
  4. ABBA.
  5. The Taliban
  6. Armistice / Remembrance Day.
  7. Banksy left his mark on the Bristol set of BBC show The Outlaws – only for it to be painted over by Hollywood megastar Christopher Walken.
  8. Last president of apartheid South Africa, FW de Klerk, dies aged 85.
  9. Record 5.8m people in England waiting for hospital treatment.
  10. Boris Johnson defends MPs’ second jobs but says they must follow ruless. If there is a conflict of interest, for example, then they must be punished.