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July 30, 2018 | by  | in Podcasts | [ssba]

No Such Thing as a Fish

Last year, a member of Iceland’s Pirate Party injured her eye and had to appear on TV wearing an eyepatch. In 2013, six people in the US named their child “Mushroom”. If every car in Monaco tried to drive at the same time, they wouldn’t fit on the roads. When zebras run away from lions, they fart with every stride. This but a glimpse of the treasure trove of information that is No Such Thing As A Fish.

The podcast comes from four of the researchers (fondly dubbed “elves”) for the tv show QI. In their endless quest (a labour of love) for intriguing factoids, each week they share with the others their favourite fact from the last seven days, and, using these as bases for their own further research, riff on wherever the conversation goes. The show lies at the confluence of knowledge and humour, the hosts’ elephantine memories rivalled only by their quick wit.
In a typical three minutes of the show, Anna tells us about the works of art on the inside of Japanese firefighters’ coats; Dan relates that firefighters used to have massive beards which they would drench in water, bite into and hold in their mouth in order to breathe; James pipes in that the guy with the longest beard ever died tripping over it while trying to escape his house in a fire; and Andrew brings it home with the firefighting goats of San Francisco.
The podcast format means that we get to be part of the hosts’ weekly hui, and over time get to know their personalities. Dan Schreiber’s stories are random (and a concerning number of his facts “dubious”), Andrew Hunter Murray (with whom I may be in love) is incredibly nerdy and genuinely hilarious, obsessed with comic sans and the Casio F-91W, Anna Ptaszynski (she’s amazing) we learn hates festivals and loves wine, and James Harkin’s puns are per-fact: when he tells you that Norway once knighted a penguin, he’s the P-U-N G-E-N-I-u-s who will call it Pungu (its real name is actually Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav). I reckon if you could have any four people over for a dinner party, Barack Obama might have to wait for the next one.
It may never come in handy to know these facts, but whakarongo mai to this show and it will improve your life. It’s kinda good to hear that democracy is alive and kicking in the sneeze-based voting system of African wild dogs. And we can take solace in the fact that Ken is officially an accessory to Barbie.
They are as comfortable on the stage with a mic and a Powerpoint as holed up in their “Covernt Gar-den” offices, and this makes for a mean live show, as this lucky writer recently personally experienced when they played in Wellington. Although my best efforts and multiple emails (I wish I was kidding) hadn’t resulted in an actual coffee date beforehand, I did meet the tangata rongonui themselves after the show (it was amazing and I got pics to show the grandkids). That episode was actually released just last week, so check that out. (Beware, friends, for my guffaws).
In the meantime I can get you started with a couple more goodies for when the food is running late and the sand in the conversation hourglass is dwindling: Volkswagen sells more sausages than cars; dolphins have names for one another; in Welsh folklore, corgis were the preferred method of transportation for fairies. Hey, if you’re feeling it, you could even go for when the brothels of Paris closed down so that everyone could go to Victor Hugo’s funeral in order to pay tribute to a devoted patron. At any rate, never be afraid to peacock your facts, people!
Also, the Queen’s nickname is Gary.


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