No Such Thing As A Fish

Award-winning podcast from the QI offices in which the writers of the hit BBC show discuss the best things they've found out this week. Hosted by Dan Schreiber (@schreiberland) with James Harkin (@jamesharkin), Andrew Hunter Murray (@andrewhunterm), and Anna Ptaszynski (#GetAnnaOnTwitter)

479: No Such Thing As Fake Coal

479: No Such Thing As Fake Coal

Thu, 18 May 2023 22:55

Dan, James, Andrew and Alex discuss Swiss subduing, supermarket wrong-doing, model choo-chooing and JR Ewing.

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Hey everybody, Dan and Andy here. Just wanted to let you know our special guest on this week's fish is none other than old friend of the podcast. Your friend of mine, Alex Bell. That's right, Alex has returned. I mean he hasn't been on for ages but he has been there in the background the whole time. Anytime he hears a song or a noise, shadowy the spider master. But now he's back, he's funnier than ever. We can't wait for you to hear it. He's brilliant. He's gonna be great. So now I guess with no further ado, let's get on with the only podcast any of us has ever made or will ever make. Right, Dan? Ah, huh? Actually, I've got a bit of news. What? Yeah, I don't want this to be a shock but I've actually launched a new podcast. Alright, what's it called? It's called We Can Be Weirdos. Oh, I see. And I guess it's just about solid facts though, right? It's about stuff with a strong evidential base. Oh, let's ignore that question quickly and focus on what the show is about. So it's a weekly show where I sit down with someone remarkable and I try and find out all the weird stuff that they believe in and all the weird stuff they do in their life. So it features everyone from British Museum Curators like Irving Finkel, who told me stuff about how he sits on buses and stairs at the back of people's head trying to make them turn around. It's got a dexie Cameron who used to be a part of the Children of God cult but who escaped and wrote a fascinating memoir about it. They're Steve Feltham, who is the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous search for the Loch Ness Monster. Ganakroyder's coming on. There's so many amazing guests and it's a weekly show where I ask them to tell me about every single weird belief that they have. That's right. And guys, we, the rest of us know how hard dance we've been working on this. It sounds absolutely great. It's called We Can Be Weirdos. Give it a go wherever you get your podcasts now. And we should say it's all based on Dan's book, The Theory of Everything Else, which is out now in the UK and paperback and it's out in North America on the 27th of June. The Theory through himself has called it totally compelling and utterly bizarre. That's right. So it would mean the world to me if you all fish listeners would subscribe to it, follow it, give it a listen and also pick up a copy in my book and okay, okay, back to the actual good podcast. Here we go. On with the show. Hello and welcome to another episode of No Such Thing as a Fish, a weekly podcast coming to you from the QI offices in Hobern. My name is Dan Schreiber. I am sitting here with Andrew Hunter Murray, James Harkin, and Alex Bell. And once again, we have gathered around the microphone to our four favorite facts from the last seven days. And in a particular order here, we go starting with fact number one. And that is Alex. My fact this week is that when the founder of the budget supermarket chain Aldi was kidnapped in the 1970s, he successfully negotiated a discount off his own ransom. Did he claim that he was going off? And that's the result. Yeah, the yellow sticker on him. So this guy is called Theo Allbrecht. He founded Aldi with his brother Carl. And they've got quite an interesting story in how they founded the supermarket. But in the 1970s, when he was one of the richest people in the world, he was kidnapped at gunpoint by a convicted burglar called Paul Krone. And he was a diamond. And his crooked lawyer, apparently, who had gambling debts called Heinz Huachim Ollenberg. Huachim Diamond. The quote of home alone work bandits. It's kind of duo. And yeah, they kidnapped him for 17 days and held him in office. Apparently he's covered, wasn't he? Yeah, he's covered. And apparently his appearance was so nondescript and he sort of wore quite kind of cheap suits because he was as money-pinching as his discount super market reputation. They had to ask him for ID to check they definitely kidnapped a billionaire. The thing was that he didn't do any interviews did he or anything like that, right? He was really not very well known. He was tight. I read a US newspaper article from the week when he got kidnapped and they described him as West Germany's least known millionaire. Yeah. So, you know, no one knew what he looked like. Yeah. It's just a name. So he was kept for 17 days. He negotiates a cheaper ransom and they agree to it. A bishop comes and delivers it. The bishop of essence, which is the city that they were from. Yeah. I guess it's where they lived at the time. But I didn't realize that was a bishop which was responsibility to do. He mediated. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, what a call to get as the bishop. You must never get that. No. But then he was, he didn't, he isn't either one who left the money. Yes. The actual. Yeah. He did the handover. He did the cash. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But then, and I think Albrecht stayed with him for 24 hours afterwards, stayed with the bishop. Why? Because the police were kept out of it completely. Wow. Because the family didn't want the police involved because they thought he might be in danger. Right. And the kidnappers said they wanted a 24 hour period to get away. Oh, okay. And so they said, okay, well, he'll stay with the bishop for 24 hours. And then after that time, we'll let him go and he'll tell the police who he's seen and stuff. Okay. So he gets out the bishop. They get these 24 hours and they do, they catch them as well. And they catch them. Yeah. That's right. And they only get half the money back. And to the dying day of the two guys, they never recovered the missing 3.5 million. And they died within a month of each other. How weird is that? Because they were about 20 years different in age. That's over a month. It was a number of years. Six years. We're going to do six. Yeah. Oh, yep. What was 87? The other was 93. But no. So after he gets let out, Theo is, goes even more recluse. He goes into total lockdown. No photographs are going to be taken of him every more. He is in every time he gets into a car. It's an armored car, a different route every single day when he's going into his office. If he's staying somewhere, he goes and he finds the exits immediately. So it's obviously left huge trauma. Yeah. The experience. But you're sorry. I know one thing that will make you interested in him, especially Dan, which is the Forbes described the brothers, the old-brecht brothers, Theo and Carl, the two co-founders Aldi describe them as more elusive than the Yeti. I'm pretty sure like the Yeti doesn't have like a business trail. I'm not registered with companies' house. That doesn't make me more interested. If he was a Yeti hunter, that's interesting. I can't just say it. Saying the word Yeti in a sentence doesn't immediately give me a higher threshold for interesting. I do. Okay. Okay. Okay. I think my favourite bit of this whole story was that after the whole ordeal, Orbrecht went to court to try and claim the money that was paid as the ransom as a tax deductible business expense, which is brilliant. I don't think he was successful, but like, that's so cool. I think you can still do that certainly in some places. If you have a good accountant, because I think it's in America, it's been done. In America for sure. Famously Yeti. I guess it's a business expense, isn't it? Yeah. Or is it? Yeah. If the person who is abducted is the CEO of the company, then it's to do with the company. I think that's the argument. His brother Carl stumped up a lot of money for that as well, the ransom. Okay. He was part of it. But yeah, I love how much the Oldbrecht brothers were really sort of stingy with their cash. They're brilliant. I think Theo was the one who they used to approve all the designs for all the shops. And there was one way he was given the plans and he said the plans are fine, but the paper you've printed on his cheek. He used to famously use pencils right down to the end. Like, you see people with the pencil meets the rubber. He would be using pencils like that. And if he walked into the office of the Aldi offices and he saw that the lights were on, but he could see that you could see in a room without the lights, he'd go around turning off all the lights. It's so scrissor, isn't that? I did read one article that said, he and his brother were the first people to ever turn off the lights in the room because they were worried that they were wasting electricity. What I think to invent. That's brilliant. I thought I was thinking like a time. Yeah, exactly. He invented being a dad. Yeah. Time in almost works. That's really funny. I think the story is very interesting because they found it together, didn't they? They found Aldi together. Their mother ran a shop like, I mean, like they took over the shop as part of their journey, but she was already really started there. I think she does load a credit. Yeah, you're a good point. And then actually they were drug-unit to helping their mum because their father he's been a coal miner and he got emphysema so he couldn't really work. So they had to support the family. But anyway, they fell out over whether or not they should sell cigarettes in their shops. And I think Theo said we should and Carl said we shouldn't. And I think it was for shoplifting reasons. Yeah. They didn't care about the health reasons. Was it stinging this as well? Yeah. Just like they're far having emphysema. They were it was hard about. That's so interesting. Okay. And then they had this thing, the Aldi Equator. Yeah. I'm sure you're right. When they divided Germany top to bottom and North was Theo's. Wait, not with any kind of wool, we should say like so many people died crossing the Aldi Equator. People were desperately trying to get to those. Because they did. So this was in the this was 1961 and they had about 300 Aldis all over the country and that's what got split up between them. And if you look at the logos, they are different colors across the the Aldi Equator. And so they are definitely two different operations that are going on. Ironically, if you were kidnapped in Germany, you could use that to work out which half of the country you're in. Yes. Yeah. What a brilliant idea. There's still different companies now. And they, um, Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. Yeah. That's right. And I think which ones do we have? We have Aldi Nord. No, we have Aldi Sud. And in America, they have them both, but one of them is called Trader Joe's. Wow. Yeah. That's what Trader Joe is. Yeah. And Aldi itself is the name Aldi. We said it's it's a poor mancha of Albert Diskunt. Diskunt. I was trying to remember what the German version was. His brother came up with that, didn't they? Yeah. Distingy Kunt. The two of us is called Diskunt and that's what we're like. I think they liked each other. They got on perfectly well. They just disagreed over this. I think it was. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I've never read it to Aldi before. I've been to Aldi many times. God damn it. I love it so much. I don't want to like treat this as an advert. What an operation. Just well, okay. So for example, they don't stock as many items as a regular supermarket will and they've never compromised on that. It's grown ever so slightly, but an average supermarket might have something like 200,000 different items, whereas they might have 2,000 items has grown since the earlier days when it came to Britain. But one of the things was everyone who was working there was required to memorize the price of every single item in the shops every 2000 item, which meant that there was a thing that's known as Aldi Panic, which is when you get to the checkout, the panic is I can't pack my bags as quickly as they're running the stuff through the till. So you get a bit worried. I'm not really coming now because they're so fast at scanning. Well, here's the thing. The reason they're so fast at scanning these days, because this is another Aldi innovation is if you buy a product from any supermarket, you got a barcode, you get there, the person's looking around for the barcode. If you look on Aldi products, sort of specifically Aldi, they print the barcode all over it. So no matter where you turn the product through it, you scan it. Exactly. Yeah. And it's right through. Yeah, because they also open, I think in the 50s, the first self-service grocery store in Germany. But in those days, self-service meant you go in and get stuff off the shelves and bring it to the checkout, as opposed to giving it a list to a clerk who would go and get it for you. So that must be a huge efficiency. Yeah. And they brought in shopping trolleys. And I think they're the first company to bring in the shopping trolleys where you had to put a coin in. That's what they say. I read an article with the communications director Aldi and he said, we're always amazed by the pay-it-forward spirit that happens in our parking lots. And apparently they reckon that in Germany, at least, people will pay for the next person's trolley trolley. And I just, I've never seen that happen in my entire life in the UK. I go around checking to see if anyone's left a quid. I didn't lose an hour or two sometimes. I literally only have one quid that I keep in my car with that thing, as I don't really use cash these days. Right. Do you keep it on a string? Yeah. Because you're sounding a bit like, I'm sorry. A bit like, I can't. They got big in Germany because they started looking at the models of what was happening in America with grocery stores. And so there was a Memphis grocer that was called Piggly Wiggly. So it was Piggly Wiggly, Hoggly Wiggly, and Handy Andy was the last one. These were all of the things going on in America at the time. And yeah, so they became Piggly Wiggly. Piggly Wiggly was famously the first place that would let you take things off the shelves and put them in your trolley and then pay for them afterwards. Exactly. And I'm not sure if we said it here, we might not have done, but they basically people didn't want to do it because they felt like they were shoplifting. Well, I feel like that with the new Amazon fresh tools when you walk in and you scan. Yeah, but you go and wear a motorcycle helmet, don't you? So it's kind of the thing in your shouting and all the pain on that. I actually was going to kidnap Jeff Bezos, but you just walked into my house. It's my cover. Two weeks later they put loads of money in my cover. So when you got Aldi, there's always, and I didn't realize this was a big thing, but in the middle of Aldi, there's always this weird aisle where it's just random stuff. I mean, if I had a room for quiet, it's sort of like every time it's every time it's every time it's just like, it's just like, yeah, so the middle aisle and it's sort of famous amongst online people. There's Twitter accounts where what random thing have you found in the middle aisle? Yeah, it's massive. Yeah, so everything from motion activated toilet bowl night lights, you know, just randomly to traffic cones. It feels like sort of it fell off the back of the lorry kind of vibe. Yeah, yeah, but which definitely is not the case. No, because I remember like you would always get like a flyer through the post and it would tell you what was going to be in the middle aisle in the next month or so. Oh really? And you would know that there was going to be a canoe there and you'd be like, oh shit, we're going to get there on the second Tuesday. Well, they have only ever certain amount. And so if it was something really cool, everyone in the town would want to get there as quickly as possible. And they never re-stock ever. So it's just that. It's like a flash sale. It gets called the Isle of Shite. That's very good. Yeah, that's very good. One of the thing on German kidnapping. Oh yeah, I think German. Do you know about the Pied Piper of Hamlin? Oh yeah. Yes. Famously kidnapped all the children of Hamlin. I never thought of it that way. Ah. I thought he got rid of the rats. And other parents didn't pay him? Yes, then he did the same thing. He played his pipe and led them. He basically hypnotised children to come with him. Oh yeah. There's no question of like consent really. Yeah, so it does sound like there is. There's no question. There was no consent. Like basically he took all the children out of the town because they didn't pay his bills. Pay was fictional. Well, there was an entry in Hamlin town records dating to 1384 that says that it is 100 years since our children left. And that fits in with the date of when people said this happened which is in 1284. Wow. And it's supposedly happened on the 26th of June, the day of St. John and St. Paul. And the 130 children in Hamlin disappeared. And that's what the story is based on. Was there a day of St. George and St. Ringo as well? But we now have theories as to what the pipe hyper was. So we think that possibly the pipe hyper story is a fictional account of something that actually happened. And the children did go missing and did get taken by someone. Right. Can you guess what the actual job of the real life pipe hyper probably was? Ah, okay. Are we going to get it from school bus? School bus? That's really good. I mean, the dates don't quite work for school buses. 1285. I've got it. It's called Cart Drive. Swine herd. Swine herd? Oh, no. No, that's not what I was thinking. I was thinking one of the wiggles then. Oh, yeah. I'll be trolley manager. Ooh, learn them in with free trollies. Well, according to most theories at the moment, he could have been a recruitment consultant. Okay. I'd probably fall in that in the street. I find it so guiley. These children are working like Deloitte. There was an economic depression around that time and a lot of the youth of various towns were taken out of German sort of villages and taken to the bigger areas of Western Europe. And they had locators or recruiters that would go around these towns and try and bring the youth out there to work in different places. And so there's one possibility that the pie-pie-past story is based on the recruitment consultant. Wow. We all got sort of free mugs. We're going to get back to those cool wireless phone heads. Yeah, the ages. Stop the podcast. Stop the podcast. Hey, everyone. This week's episode of Fish is sponsored by Canva. That is right. Canva is a design platform that makes it incredibly easy and pleasant and, in fact, joyful to create gorgeous visual content. Yeah, it's an amazing place, isn't it? Because, actually, Andy, I remember you've actually used Canva, haven't you? I have. I'm really, really bad at thinking of what might look nice. And I went on to Canva. The templates are so easy. They're so simple to use. You can really bring things to life. There are lots of different kinds of templates that you can use and customize. You can make something that feels nice and personal. Genuinely, it did a bit of design and some friends said, Did you hire a professional designer? I'm not even joking. That happened. And I was able, and I said, no, it's Canva. That's right. It's Canva. And exactly what Andy's talking about, you too can experience that beauty. And you can do so many other things on it as well. You can use it for business docs. You can help get your party invitations designed. There are templates for websites. You've got a mug that you want printed something cool on. Canva can do that for you. So head there and if you want to give it a go yourself and feel the joy that Andy felt when he was able to present whatever it was that he showed to his friends, all you need to do is go to slash fish and you'll get a free 45 day extended trial. That's slash fish for a free 45 day extended trial. Give it a go. Okay. On with the show. Open the bookers. It is time for fact number two. That is Andy. My fact is that the world's largest collection of model trains doesn't fit on standard model train tracks. I'm really pleased you added the word stanza in there because there's a big discussion. We had a big email chat about this. No, but I just got to say Alex has got in front of him. Actually, like this is the weirdest bit of research. I'm still now sad. I'm not going to go into it. I'm going to say the basic fact and then we'll have the argument. By the way, thank you to Neil Gibson who sent in this fact. Who didn't realise the chaos he was unleashing in our previously happy team. This is something that's from the National Rail Museum in York. They have a collection of 610 model railway vehicles all made by the same man who was called James Peel Richards 1902 to 1999. He was incredibly devoted to detail and accuracy and he thought he could get his models more accurate if you made them to a 33mm gauge. So it gauges the distance between the two train tracks. The normal gauge for model trains is 32mm and they're not compatible with the vast majority of model railway lines. Even the National Rail Museum don't have a layout where they can put these trains on a train track. I just think it's a very sweet fact. I don't want to make this fact even more contentious. I have a feeling it was 612, not 610. Could you please forgive me for a fraction of rounding? There is. A lot of these model trains take anything that's one foot long and you make it sevenmm longer. You do the same for everything else in all the trains. If you do that then you get your gauge to be exactly 33mm to a 0.0mm. It's pretty much 33mm but historically they've always had 32mm gauges. So all the other trains that you would have are slightly not exact. So that's like the horn be standard for a new vehicle. The horn be standard. The track you'll find is that with. A lot of them is called the O gauge. But basically he decided, well I want mine to be exactly right. So I'm going to get this one millimetre difference even though I won't be able to go on how the early tracks. I'm going to make it because I want it to be perfect. Yeah, he's a hero. Did he make his own tracks? He must have right. I think I went there and I had an amazing two days. I stayed up at night. It was a sleeper train. No, it was all in the same way. Alex Cramick won the finger into the sleeper train. Because they have actual other stuff. They don't just have model. They have actual trains there and all sorts of. No, it's amazing. I remember seeing them. They've got this fantastic. I think it's called an open archive where they've got all this stuff that they can't. They don't really have room to sort of display in proper museum. Just like thrown on the shelves and sort of displays you can see it. And I remember also seeing they've got scale models of Queen Victoria's Royal Train, which is all sort of entirely plush inside with a velvet upholstered toilet and things like that. It's miniature. Yeah, this is all miniature. When they were designing and building the train, the actual full-on steam trains. They used to make scale models of the steam trains that are about, I'd say, like a foot wide and several feet long. They were full-on working models to check that they worked and they were all quite on the right side. So they have these really stonking, great models of like working steam trains. They've also got, you've mentioned it from the podcast. There's a massive train set that was used to train the signal operators. So it was a train set. But the fun of the train set was like all about your signals and not the trains. So can I ask Alex, did you see the entire collection of JP Richards trains when you were there? I don't know because there's loads on the wall. I remember them. They're all stacked up on the wall. I don't know if I saw 610. What's really interesting is that JP Richards never saw the entire collection himself. We think. And that's because he always kept them in his home when most of them were in boxes. So they were never all out at the same time. And when he donated them to the museum, he was really, really sick. It was just before he died. He was too ill to travel. So when it was on display, he never got to see it. So he actually never saw his entire collection on display. I'm really sad about that. What a hero. What a great guy. I love it. The collection is still growing. But actually, I should quickly say thank you to my friend Chris Valkoinen, who is the associate archivist at the National Rail Museum, who sent me loads of stuff for this. Absolutely brilliant. But yeah, the collection is still growing because a lot of his wagons weren't quite finished when he'd got there. So he left them to other people to finish them. Because he wanted the entirety of the train system of the London and Northwestern trains. Well, that's what we want to see. Between 1902 and 1944. So he wanted everything. Absolutely. And they weren't all exactly done at that time. So some people are still doing them now. They're still kind of making them better and better. It is the most impressive thing when you see the detail that someone goes into to recreating an area. Because you make, it's not these aren't things you buy from the shop. You create the buildings and you create, and this is like when you're making a whole landscape. So the tracks, the trees, the buildings around it. I've only ever played with two model train sets before. Oh, yeah. And they belonged to Eddie Azard. So... Clang. Yeah, yeah. No, no, no. It's just a celebrity train set, that I think. This is not what it sounds like. So every time I go to Baxhill on C, which is my family goes there a lot. I always take my boys to the Baxhill Museum. And inside is Eddie Azard's childhood model train set that her father had built. When Eddie's brother was born, started building it then. And then Eddie's mother got a bit ill and eventually she passed away. And part of the project of keeping themselves busy from the horrible depression of it all was to continue building this train set. So you can go in press buttons and it sends two trains around. And it's where Eddie's dad worked. You can see the train he used to get into London. And it shows all the buildings around. And they've commissioned all of Baxhill on C as a train set as well. Eddie's kind of put money into that. And you press buttons and it goes around, it's snow and it's fabulous. It's incredible. Did you guys read about Simon George? No, very well. No, very well. Simon George is a model railway fan currently, currently modeling and making huge sets. So in 2021, he had just made a model railway which was really big with 61 metres. And it was a model of a specific line from where he'd grown up in the 80s. It was the Call of Valley, lots of coal fired trains. And it's one of Britain's biggest, if not the biggest model train set. Really impressive. He spent eight years working on it. And he met his girlfriend while he was making it. Wow. Yeah. It's amazing. This is the thing. Well, it's okay. He was interviewed about it. And he said, when I first met her, she didn't know I was building this. And what it happened was, it wasn't in his home this train set he was building. He'd leased a mill because it had this enormous basement. Right. So, and he said, okay, she knew I leased a mill with a huge basement, Simon said. But I kind of led her to believe I was a wide merchant. Because that sounded cooler than building a model railway. I just imagine in the discussion that he had when he said, now we've been getting on very well. I think there could be something here. I need to tell you that the basement in the mill, I've not let you go in. It's not a wine collection. What was she a thought? Yeah. She turned up unannounced. It was work one day. She wanted to surprise him. And she turned up to his wine merchant. Oh my god. What did he do? Don't come in, I'm working. There was a body, there was a body stand here. She said, she wondered where all the wine mods, but actually she really appreciated the detail and the artistic element. Very, very cool. Herman Goering, the Nazi. Who's Herman Goering not the Nazi? I think there's any others out there. He was an enthusiastic model. Yeah, Nazis love trains. They love models, obviously, you know, that famous big third right one. But, no, sorry. Again, Alex, you spent two days in the National Railroad. Sorry, nothing to do with train, no, sorry. That was a totally, totally off topic. Did they have a bit more? A hit locomotion to huge models, watched the centre of Berlin was going to look like. And it's a really horrible, scary model that said exists. You can go see it there. Okay, right. And it's really bizarre and interesting. But like, I think it's that whole element of control from afar. You know, you're saying Goering had two train sets, just like Eddie is odd. One in the, no, just like so. Wait, you've seen, you've seen two trains sets and you're like, no, I played with it twice. You played with it twice. Both of it, Eddie's, yeah. Right, so okay. So he had, Herman Goering had one train set in his attic and one in his basement. Oh, yeah. Okay. And there are pictures of it and they're really, it's pretty extensive as if you know, it lived in a big old Nazi house and had a huge, a hat, a big basement. And there's a rumor that you can sort of maybe see evidence for in the pictures that there was, there were wires where there went over the one in the attic that planes went across and you could drop little bombs out of the planes to bomb you. Okay, right. Which is, wow. It's been a good fun. Wow. They originated in Germany, didn't they? Model railways, basically. There was a company called Marklin and they'd been making toys and stuff. But they mostly made dolls houses. The idea is you make a dolls house and you sell them the house. And then they have to buy the dolls to go inside and they have to buy the cookers and they have to buy the chairs and they have to buy all the bits and pieces. And they wanted something that boys would like. How are the dolls going to get to work? Yeah. And they just thought, well, by doing the railways, then we can sell the railway tracks but then we can sell the stock and we can sell them. Yeah. Little bushes that gone, I don't know, I've never played that. Yeah, yeah. There's another journal connection, which is maybe the earliest ever model train belonged to the poet Gerta. Did it? This is, this is, this is from the book, this is from 1829. It's six years before Germany had even a railway, a steam railway of its own. Wow. Some English well wishes gave him a tiny, tiny model of Stevenson's rocket, the earliest steam railway engine. Yeah. I think the earliest steam railway engine. And it came with a set of wagons and rails and Gerta put it on his desk. I think he might have given it to his grandtel, isn't it, at the time? Because he was an old man by that point. Yeah, cool. Wow. Do you want to hear it incredibly? Well, so, okay, here's a fact about model railways. I'm just going to take a lot. Okay. That's all we're all here for. Okay. What a change of topic. I know what's about to happen. So, you know how you use different things to represent. So you might use a coffee stirrer as a piece of fancy. Yeah. Like, big things from our world. Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I see. Okay. You could use a marble as a boulder, for instance. Yeah, you paint it or whatever. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Okay, so do you know what they used to make coal? Okay, so it's got to be something that looks like coal. Yeah. But it's much smaller. Yeah. But maybe it's not the same color, but you could paint it black. Right. Is it not just small bits of coal? I use coal. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it with a hammer. I've grinded it up small. What? No. Well, it's definitely a fact. It's a funny chance, the fact, that you message us saying, I just told my wife a fact. And she said, that's the dullest thing you ever said in your life. That's the fact. She just said, stop talking. I've found it so interesting. She took off her eye with this contention. Amazing, Andy. Great fact. Great fact. Thank you. Do you know the really tragic thing? Well. We last talked about modeler always four years ago. I looked through my notes for that show. It was in there. So, the probably the most famous modeler ever. I think it's a bit of a weird thing. It's a bit of a weird thing. It's a bit of a weird thing. So, the probably the most famous modeler always in the world have to be the ones that we see in Thomas the Tank Engine. Oh, the Thomas the Tank Engine. That's, I mean, that's the globally the biggest, most famous. And just a cool connection. So, there is a famously the fact controller, who's now been renamed Sir Topham Hat. He was always called Sir Topham Hat. But he was always called Sir Topham Hat. But they kind of phased out the fact controller. He's in the cartoons. He's back to Sir Topham Hat. And we know someone who was the real life Sir Topham Hat. No. What do you mean that's in the voice? No. So, they used to have offices for Thomas the Tank Engine. When children wrote in, they had an official Sir Topham Hat who would write letters back to the children. And we know that person. They've been on fish. They've been on fish. Is it Craig Glenday? Yes. Craig Glenday. And she for the Guinness World Records. Wow. Okay, that's bizarre. Yeah. When I was tiny, I wrote to Sir Topham Hat. No. And I got, and I got to let her back. Did you? Oh, yeah. It's just small coal. You're a really annoying child. Thank you. Okay, it is time for fact number three. And that is James. Okay, my fact this week is that in 1760, a book was publicly burned in Switzerland because it claimed that William Tell did not exist. That's a game. Yeah. Because I sort of think he did. I saw you wrong. What do you have to do? Well, it's well publicly burned. Is it like the PiPyper and he was just like a management consultant? No. He's less historical than the PiPyper, I would say. He was part of the foundation myth of the country of Switzerland, basically. He's kind of Robin Hood S. Right? Yeah. He's got an arrow stood up to power. You spot on, you know, shot an apple off his son's head to... That's the only thing I know. It's the only thing... Shot an apple off his son's head. I didn't know any of the context. I just knew... Yeah. I never questioned it. It was quite contrive. Like for some reason, he ended up in a situation where they were like, shoot it or we'll kill you and your son. And then he did it and then they were like, well, how come you got two arrows then and he was like, well, if I accidentally killed my son, I was going to shoot you. It was quite cool, wasn't it? Because the reason this whole thing started was he was going through this town, which was called Altdorf. And he was... There's a guy there who was a bailiff called Gessler and Gessler had this thing where he put a hat on a pole. And it was in the center of the town. And if you walked past the pole and you had a hat on, you had to sort of take your hat off and be like, hello, pole. And we should say the pole represented the immensely powerful hat but I can't find it. It's still weird. It's still weird. So he goes past, doesn't take his hat off. I guess Gessler, who's just happens to be monitoring every person passing by, sees that, says, hey, take your hat off. He says, no. And then that's where this thing happens, where he says, you need to now shoot your son or rather... Shoot the apple. He says, you got to put your son. You got to put an apple on his head and you got to shoot through it. And if you get it, then you guys can go free. If you miss, then I'm going to kill you as well. So it was a kind of big challenge. Perfectly fair challenge punishment. It fits the crime. It doesn't make any sense. Of course, it makes sense for someone who's put a hat on a pole and made it to the end of it. Could you choose the apple, though? Could you choose a very large apple, like a pink lady? Like what I saw in Levi and Icarb. I'll carve that time. Honestly, I could have hit that for too long to get. I know you've stopped listening to Alex, but don't have an idea about this very, very big apple he wants to. Actually, it's really weird to get bored on a podcast that you're on. Not even listening to. Nobody's going to be that apple, yeah, yeah. It would be easy. Anyway, look, like that said, and Alex said, this is the story. And then because he did the apple thing, they said, okay, fine, Switzerland can exist. And he became like the foundation myth of this country. So everyone believed him, thought that he was a real character. And then there was a historian called Eguidius Chudy. And he found out that actually the earliest writing of it was 250 years after the event. And then they found the original oath of rootly, which was for the foundation of Switzerland, for the early Cantons all getting together. And it named the three representatives. And none of them was called tell. None of them was called William Tell. And so, and actually they got the date wrong as well in the original sort of the original story. And so the sky called the Haller wrote a book called William Tell a Danish Fable. And everyone in Switzerland thought this was outrageous that he could be a real character. And it was outrageous that he could put this in writing. And the book was publicly burned in Altaf Square. Was he a Swiss author? He was. So Swiss, yeah. And I, because I sort of vaguely thought of William Tell as a bit Rob in Haudenosa, and somebody might have used this. But not really. Yeah. I didn't really think, oh, that doesn't seem like a very significant thing to me. But I read a piece about, it's from the Atlantic, but it's from 1890. And it's just this line, to understand the commotion produced in Switzerland by Cops X-Pose, we must try to imagine what would be the result in the United States if George Washington was suddenly declared to be a legendary character. Yeah. And it's a huge, huge moment to find out. It was a bit of that. And then what happened was everyone was like, De Haller, what are you doing? This is ridiculous. And so he said, oh, no, no, no, this was a literary exercise. I was just, it was just a essay I was writing to see if I could, it was like, you know, it's like coming up with two reasons, whether we should leave the EU or not leave the EU. And this was the one I decided to go with. It wasn't supposed to be taken seriously. It was the first, like, dude, it's a social experiment, like, you're using it. It sounds like he was petrified. Like, it sounds like he had not renounced that. It could have been like a Salman Rushdie kind of situation where he might have gone into, you know, hiding in a cupboard kind of. They were absolutely furious. Yeah. But then obviously he'd open the floodgates and suddenly all the skeptics came in, like skeptics do and said, well, actually, there was no organized up rising after all. And there's no evidence that anyone called William Tell had lived, let alone shot a pull off anyone's head. And they concluded that he was probably a fictional character, possibly based on a little bit of, you know, real life stuff. And then someone found this old story from the Danish sagas, which is basically the entire story. And that was written, you know, hundreds and hundreds of years before William Tell was supposed to have even existed. And so it seems like they've taken an old story from the sagas and they've kind of appropriated it. It was a story of Harold Bluetooth. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's definitely the namesake of it. Danish King of the Tenth Century. Yeah. And it is, like, I looked at it and it's identical. It is the same story. Yeah. And that was a play. Shilla. Shilla's play. Yeah. And then the play became an opera by Rossini. It's such an international thing. So it's an opera about a Swiss hero by an Italian composer, Rossini, based on a play by a German writer, Shilla, which premiered in Paris. Brilliant. As in it's all of Europe is involved in this. And you know, but you know the famous William Tell overture, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, yeah. And Rossini didn't actually write that for the William Tell opera. Get out. He was like running out of time when he was writing the William Tell opera. That's not how it works when you're running out of time, running music. Would it speeds up? No, he, he was running out of time to finish the entire opera and didn't have an overture ready. So he went and borrowed a pre-existing piece from one of his early operas, which is called Elizabeth Queen of England. So that was written almost 15 years beforehand. How interesting, because everything I can think of about Elizabeth, the Queen of England, none of the events in her life fit in with that message. No, it doesn't really work. I mean, like you can't imagine some Walter Rally laying down his cloak and her go, did it, did it, did it, did it, did it, did it. Yeah, the opera was only performed in full three times. Yeah, because it was five hours long. Five hours. It was average time for an opera? No, really? That's very long. Definitely more than a few hours is fine, but five hours is pretty long. Yeah, it's okay. Even three is. Another dental one, I was just always known that a lot of the long. Especially given that some of the music was so fast, like, you would have thought the music would be slower if he was going to drive you out. Yeah. There's a Herman Goring lick. I can't believe there's another Herman Goring with the podcast. The Nazi. Which Herman Goring, by the way. Sorry, he's not saying that. The Nazi one. Okay, sorry, good. Just got to clarify. The Nazi regime made a movie of William Tell. Okay, and they treated the tell story as a kind of Nazi myth, because at that point, well, I think it was before the war. They claimed they were liberating ethnic Germans, living in other countries, who'd been oppressed by those countries. And Herman Goring's mistress was cast in a leading role. Yeah, that was based on Schiller's play, wasn't it? Yeah. But then Hitler banned it later on, because there was an assassination attempt on him by a guy called Maurice Bavol, who was known as the New William Tell. Yeah. I thought, well, I'd better get rid of all of the William Tells. People's Swiss as well. Yeah. That's pretty. Yeah. I've been in Switzerland for Swiss Independence Day on the 1st of August. Oh, yeah. Which is what they have a lot of, sort of fireworks and stuff like that. Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's relatively low key. But probably cheese. Yeah, lots of chocolate. Yeah. Yeah. Where did you go? Like specifically? A few different places. Oh. They sound great. Did you go to Bern? I'd been to Bern. I don't think I did get to Bern. I was very young. I don't think they got rid of all the books. Oh, my. Brilliant. Brilliant. That was worth it. In the Bern, there's lots of bears, because a bear is there. It's the symbol of the city of Bern. And the Appenzell Canton flag. So the area of Switzerland called Appenzell has a flag, which is a bear with an erection. Hmm. Crunky. Yeah. So if you look at it, it's only a tiny little red triangle. If you can imagine a bear rampant. Yeah. And then you've got a little red triangle where his penis would be. And there was a time when St. Gallen, this was in 1579. So the Canton of St. Gallen had a printer. And he did a calendar of all the Swiss Cantons. And he did the Appenzell Canton flag, but he didn't put the erection in the bear. Oh. And this was it kicked off. Really, really kicked off. They almost went to war because they didn't have the penis on the bear. And then it was only averted when the printer offered object apologies. And St. Gallen agreed to destroy every single object. And St. Gallen agreed to destroy every single copy of the calendar they could find. Again, lots of rounding things up and destroying them. Yeah. It's a very spicy time. No wonder Swet's learned to turn a little neutral and calm today. Yeah. They're through all of this. They say they're very, for a very organised country. They've got a really chaotic origin story. But I think they've got it all out of their system. They might have decided, I think, at a certain point, that we could look at the North, rounding up and destroying calendars. Stop the bookers. Stop the podcast. Hello, everybody. Just to let you know, we are sponsored this week by Babel. That's right. Are you thinking of learning a new language, going away on a holiday and don't want to be one of those tourists who knows just English? You can head to Babel and you can change all that. You can find yourself fluent in multiple languages, depending, of course, on your study levels. As quick as I'm going to say six weeks. Six weeks you can do it. That's me saying that, not the site. But it's an amazing place. There are 14 different languages that you can look into. There's Spanish, there's French, Italian, German. 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So head to, that's slash podcast 23, and use the promo code, no fish. And what you're going to get with that is three months free with a purchase of a three month subscription. All right, on with the show. On with the show. On with the show. Okay, it's time for our final fact of the show. And that is my fact. My fact this week is that to make sure that no one leaked the answer to who shot JR on the TV show Dallas, the production team had every main character, film a scene of them shooting JR, including JR. It's an amazing thing. So this is... We need to explain what Dallas is. Exactly. So Dallas was a soap opera in America, went on for a very long time in the 1980s, it began, and it was a show that kind of really transformed the idea of soap having these dramatic plot twists and also cliffhangers and so on. And it created the greatest cliffhanger, probably in TV history, certainly American TV history. And it's about, like, it follows like the Escapes of like a wealthy oil tycoon's family. Yes, it is. It's like a cheesy secession, really. It's about squillianners, and the main character is an antihero. Yeah, like a boy. I do think that succession is a very original idea, and they definitely didn't rip off Dallas in any way whatsoever, just as an alternate opinion. I'm not so sure. I think... So yeah, it's at the end of this third series, it's the finale, and JR, who is the character played by Larry Hagman, is shot. We don't know who's pulled the trigger. And then there's a big break in the season, and in that time, America Go slightly ballistic, we're trying to work out. The world almost. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Who shot JR was basically the big question that everyone... We're T-shirts, next to the... I'm with Discont, who shot JR. Politicians were referencing it. Yeah, everyone. And just a spoiler alert, it was Kristen. There we go. What? But the thing is, the shooting of JR, this huge event, maybe the biggest event in fictional TV history, was not meant to be the end of the series. They had already filmed an ending of the series, and they'd had a load of events. They'd had a deathbed murder confession. They'd had their sectioning. They had all sorts of... You've greatly written themselves into a corner, kind of thing. Yeah, and then they got told, hey, great news. You've got four more episodes. And they had to write four more episodes. And then there was a big head scratching thing in the writer's room, and someone said, why don't we just shoot the bastard? Because apparently a lot of the writers were comedians. Or really funny people at least. Yeah. And this was, I read this in an interview with Lorraine Despras, who was one of the main writers. And yeah, she said that these were really funny guys, who were trying to come up with ideas. And almost, let's shoot JR was one person going, wouldn't it be funny if we did that? Wouldn't it fuck things up if we did that? And then they all went, oh, actually, that would be good. Well, that's... I mean, a lot of the writers of succession are very funny comic writers. Yeah, yeah. The strong Lucy Crebel... Yeah, yeah....the Crabble, sorry. So, you know, it's another link......the two, I'd say. But, you know, I mean, the world went... Grekkers, didn't it? It did, really. If you were on a plane going from Europe to America at the time, if it was an Air France plane, they said that they would tell anyone over the intercom who'd shot JR. If you couldn't watch the show, yeah, yeah, yeah. Someone would radio up from the ground, say it was Kristen, and then they were flying at 40,000 feet, and it was Kristen who shot JR. Oh, my goodness. That is a huge spoiler. There's no way of avoiding a plane tan or a spoiler. True, although in those days you couldn't watch things on demand. Like, you could have VHSed it or made it... Yeah, yeah. So, you actually kind of wanted to ask things for more. Actually, even in 1980, I guess you would have had VHSes, but only just. Yeah, right. So, you know, you had to watch it live. Yeah, you had to watch it live. You were not going to watch it live. Exactly. You weren't going to know. The Turkish Parliament suspended a session so that the legislator's wouldn't......would be able to tune in and wouldn't miss it. Yeah, really? There was a really fantastic piece in Texas Monthly, which if anyone's going to cover who shot JR. Yeah, the front page. Sure, absolutely. But no, there is an amazing piece, which is all about the madness that happened. So, they shot at a real ranch. You know, they shot some scenes at a real ranch. Yeah. It was just shot in interior sets in Hollywood. But the son of the guy who lived at the ranch, they shot out. It was called Joe Duncan. And he says that they had people turning up to take chips of the fence. Oh, my God. Take pieces of rock as soon as they could have taken the chip of the fence and used it as a tiny fence. In another real way. That's like a relics. That's mad. He said, listen to this quote. He said, I was once 20 feet away from a guy who jumped to the fence and went out into the pasture to pick up a piece of horse manure to take home as a superman. That was a time before eBay. Yeah, as well. The name was Dad Shriver. I read an article from... This was the day before they were about to show the who shot J.R. And this was in the Minneapolis star. And they asked some local celebs who they thought shot J.R. And like the head of the coach of one of the local sports teams said, oh, I don't know who shot J.R. But there's a lot of agents of players who I'd like to shoot. And then thing. The police chief who's called Anthony Boosa. He said, I'm happy to report that I've never seen a single minute of that goddamn program. And they asked the mayor, Don Fraser, there's the mayor of Minneapolis. And he said, I haven't the foggiest who shot him. Are you serious? I've only seen one episode of that show and it was quite bi-accident. Wow. Sounds like a life-long fan. Just carefully, they asked him. Like they asked someone and they got these answers and they felt, well, the light is well printed. Yes, that. The thing that I knew Dad was for, because I'd never really seen it. But I know it is a famous, like a famous example of retconning, where you retroactively change what happens. So they wrote, filmed, and shot, and broadcast an entire season in which a character Bob Ewing died. But this character was really popular and they decided they wanted to bring him back. So in order to do that, they reckoned it by the beginning of the next series, they made the whole previous series of dream sequence. Oh, yeah. Which just hailed as one of the like the cheesiest and the rubbish ways of like retconning. But one of the weird, continued things was that Dallas had a spin-off show called Not's Landing that existed in the same universe. Okay. But when they brought back Bob Ewing and was like, oh, this character never died. In Not's Landing, they had referenced the fact that Bob E had died. So at that point, it's like a universe, a split-in universe. It's like Spide of Earth since the multiverse. Yeah. But they were simultaneously taking into it, like they were like keeping track of the different universes. Well, simultaneously wiping entire series off the face of this. Because you would think it would be easier to say, oh, he didn't die. He faked his own death or... Unless they showed on camera the funeral, the open cast gay. I think it was like the main part of a lot of the story of that. They literally were like, forget that series happened. It's weird. There was a real life, Bob Ewing, who lived in Texas and who owned an oil and cattle company. Oh, really? Yeah. And so when this big sort of who shot J.R. thing was happening, they really kind of cashed in and you could buy J.R. dolls, J.R. Cologne, J.R. playing cards. And you could also buy fake certificates for Ewing, Land, Oil and Cattle Company, which was signed by Bob Ewing, the fake Bob Ewing. But then the real Bob Ewing, who lived in Texas, sued them and said, well, you can't do this because... Yeah. It makes it look like you're selling my company. And I found out that it was settled in the end. And the real Bob Ewing wasn't allowed to sell any novelty items. And it didn't say, but I assume he got a massive, you know, payout. Yeah, he must have done, right? Yeah, that's amazing. Larry Hagman, he played J.R. So obviously there's a big break for the, you know, when they're not shooting. Yeah. He hadn't signed his contract when they started shooting the next series. And he held out for a long time. And he was... Because he knows he's a star now, right? Yeah, everyone's talking about him. Yeah, he wants a huge pay rise. He dispatched his agents to negotiate wearing white sets and hats with the management of the show. And that was his kind of... That was his look, sorry, yeah, that was his thing, yeah. But they... I feel really stupid if I was as Asian and I was told to do that. Yeah, well. They were like, you're overreaching with the negotiation. And you want us to go and fancy your ass. It was worse when Mr. Blubby asked for a pay rise. LAUGHTER He wouldn't come in and be like, I'm Mr. Blubby. I'm like, what? When they were... When they were trying to shoot the next series, they had to start shooting. But without J.R. being present and having signed off his contract... You know, without having signed his contract. So what they started doing, they shot a couple of different versions. One, they just shot J.R. from behind. It just shot someone with the same hair, which they, you know, they could just, like, fill in later. Yeah. And then they also shot scenes with a guy bandaged up like he'd... LAUGHTER And they said, if we have to bring in another actor to play J.R., we can claim you had to have reconstructive surgery. And I would have to have a guy's surname. And then his problem is J.R. was shot in the stomach. LAUGHTER No reason. LAUGHTER That's great. Hagman... What an interesting kind of personality he was generally. He used to do a thing for many, many years, called Silent Sundays. He just didn't talk on Sundays. So funny. Yeah. So what happened was... That was just religious. No, no. It was part of... He used to be on a different show called Idreama Genie, Brilliant Show. And during it, he had vocal problems. And so he went to a doctor and the doctor said, why don't you try not talking for a few days. And he thought not only did it work nicely, but he really enjoyed the experience. So every Sunday, he thought, I'm just going to do this. And didn't speak for decades. It's so good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He claimed that for 25 years, he never spoke on a Sunday. I think it's not 100% true. I think he kind of cheated the fair amount. Because it's something as your birthday or... Yeah. Triddle some Lego. Yeah. Because sometimes he would go like four days in a row without talking. And his family would hate him for it. So really? He kicked it because he says that he started realizing he was missing a lot of opportunities. He says in LA, a lot of business is done on the weekends. And so he said he couldn't call his agent. He couldn't talk to them to say, hey, get on the case of doing this. It was incredibly good negotiating to stay silent. He probably should have done all this on a Sunday. It's just sit there in silence while they just keep upping the offer until the club goes over to Monday. And he's like, yeah, great. That's so funny. And Nazi, who's a fan of Dallas? Right. Rudolph has. No, it was. Rudolph has. Rudolph has Sonatsy. Very true. Did we come around, person? There was another, there was Jenny, there was another Rudolph has. Really? Oh, he was called Rudolph has. The other part of the car, the other guy. Go behind the house, have a car, it was called Rudolph has. Wow. And this one was the Nazi. And presumably training, he's just. Is he still alive when he watched that? He watched that. He's found that prison. He used to watch it. He used, it Dallas and Dynasty was two favorite TV shows. Did he? Did he? Did he? He went all bad. That is right, Colin Alex. Okay, that's it. That is all of our facts. Thank you so much for listening. If you'd like to get in contact with any of us about things that we've said over the course of this podcast, we can be found on our Twitter accounts. I am on at Shrubbeland Andy. At Andrew Hunter F. James. At James Harkin. And Alex. Oh, I've quits with her. Are you on, are you on Insta? No. Are you on anything? Are you on B-Reel? No. That's good though. I'm still on B-Bo. Are you on Master Don? No. Don't be disgusting. That sounds more of a bad thing. Mafia-based porn site. Yeah, or you can email us a podcast at or you can go to our website. No such thing as a, all of our previous episodes are up there. Do check them out. We'll be back again next week with another episode. We will see you then. Goodbye.