Around this time of year on a Thursday, the questionable people of Santon Bridge, Cumbria hold the World’s Biggest Liar Contest. It came about due to an imaginative publican in the Lake District’s Wasdale Valley called Will Ritson who told whoppers to anyone who’d listen (although he swore all of his stories were true). Despite him dying in 1890 (or did he?), his legacy lives on in this annual competition where the person with the biggest, most elaborate, most mendacious fib wins the title.
So to honour this tradition, I’m going to play a variation of the game two truths and a lie. Except I’m going to give you four lies and one truth (as contestants have five minutes to spin their yarns). All you have to do is spot which is which.
a) When I was seventeen, after watching The Men They Couldn’t Hang at the Reading Festival, I returned to my tent to find it had been run over by a long haired, machete wielding biker off his head on acid. Who I then told to eff off when he revisited the collapsed tent to find me crawled inside in my underwear changing after a rain storm. He did.
b) I was once responsible for stopping a theatre performance of Lysistrata in Paddington for at least three minutes because I kept laughing at the giant penises. My friends and I were sitting on a bank of very squeaky chairs, and every time an actor flashed his tumescent prosthetic at me, I’d giggle. Which made my friends giggle. Which made the chairs squeak. Which made other audience members giggle. Which made us laugh more. Which made the cast corpse. And the show stop.
c) One time when I was in the middle of the South Australian desert, I had a synesthetic experience firing a gun I’d borrowed off a Mancunian policeman who I’d met the night before. Everything pixilated into black, white and shades of grey. I was also a first rate shot, even though it was the first time I’d fired a gun (NB I was firing at a target not anything with a pulse).
d) I once had a recurring party piece with Martin Freeman, him off The Office and The Hobbit, where we would perform dance routines to cop show theme tunes like The Bill and The Sweeney. Because this music wasn’t exactly party playlist material, we also used to sing them and get those watching to join in.
e) For some reason, men who are strangers have a peculiar tradition of confiding their innermost secrets to me (I’m looking at you, random plumber from the 00s). Also in Australia, this time in Denham, WA, while sat round a motel complex pool, within 30 minutes of meeting me a bus driver revealed in graphic detail, how he’d been recently bitten on the penis by a poisonous spider, a story (he said) he’d never told anyone about before.
So which is it? Which is the truth and which are the porkies…? Pop your answer in the poll below and share your theories in the comments! May the best liar win!
I’ll reveal all tomorrow…
The Everyday Lore Project has been running since St Distaff’s Day on 7 January 2020 and will run until 12th Night on 6 January 2021. And today’s post really pained me as everything that’s happened on this blog in the last 317 days has been the truth, I even started taking more photos and recording my adventures as proof. So yes, I really did think I’d seen fairies, tried to do a headstand, and drink rum while doing my laundry. And with less than 50 days to go, how about subscribing? At least you won’t forget to find out the answer to the above as it will be delivered straight to your inbox…
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc