I haven't seen Monty Python's Flying Circus for quite a long time. I used to quite enjoy Money Python though I'm slightly suspicious of it, because I have met people who were completely obsessive about it, and could quote huge chunks of the script. I find this quite unsettling.
However, I saw some on TV last week, while idly channel surfing, and it included one of my favourite sketches - The Poetry of Ewan MacTeagle. MacTeagle is a Scottish poet, a gruff character in a kilt, and he composes such memorable works as -
Lend us a couple of bob till Thursday. I'm absolutely skint.
But I'm expecting a postal order and I can pay you back as soon as it comes.
and then there's -
Oh give to me a shilling' for some fags and I'll pay ye back on Thursday,
but if you can wait till Saturday I'm expecting a divvy
from the Harpenden Building Society
And, my favourite, his great masterpiece -
What's twenty quid to the bloody Midland Bank?
Which does make me laugh. The subtext to the sketch, really, is a joke about Scots being mean. Being Scottish, I've occasionally found this offensive, but usually find it funny.
In my local supermarket, there's a machine where you can take your small change, and it changes it for you into pound coins and five pound notes. I've seen people pouring bags of pennies into this machine. But it charges you a commission of 8 pence in the pound. So for every pound you pay in, you only get 92 pence back.
I'm outraged at the thought of this. I would never do it. Never ever. Even if I had thousands of pennies I would stubbornly haul them all to my bank to get the whole value, rather than pay an 8% commission. Nothing would induce me to pour pennies into this machine. It's just throwing money away. I'd crawl over broken glass, clutching my pennies, to avoid doing this.
* says Martin Macteagle, Scottish author *
The Monty Python Sketch is here -