Bitesize Episode 35 - A Parody of a Children's Book by a British Comedian, Pt. 1

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this episode, Charlie retells the parody of the British Children's Book "The Tiger Who Came To Tea" called "The Tiger Who Came for a Pint". This was written by a British Comedian called Sean Lock who introduced this book to a live audience on an episode of the British TV Game Show called "8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown". This parody will expose you to a huge amount of cultural references and British English. Furthermore, it'll show you a fun way to take the original of a story and create your own unique version of it which is an excellent way to get active with your English studies.
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 35 - Transcript

Hello and welcome to another bitesize episode of the British English podcast with your host, Charlie Baxter. That is me. The last bitesize episode went for over double the length that we intend it to go for. So let's see if we can actually stick to the runtime that I aim for with these bitesize episodes, which is around 10 minutes. But I fear that I might fail on this one. And the reason it ran on so long last time was because I gave you a commentary on the children's book "The Tiger Who Came to Tea". So I read that out and then went through it again, explaining the language and any thoughts I had on the cultural references.

But the real reason I did that episode was because I watched an episode of a comedy panel show that has been going for about ten years now called "8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown". And within that episode, a comedian shared a parody he had written of the children's book "The Tiger Who Came to Tea", and the new title was "The Tiger Who Came for a Pint". And I believe I mentioned how recreating a children's book or any story really in your own new way is a wonderful exercise you can do to improve your language skills. So I wanted to show you how a professional comedian managed to take an original and turn it into his own unique story.

But of course, to ensure we all knew about the original, I needed to do an episode on the original "The Tiger Who Came to Tea". So I encourage you to listen to that episode before continuing with this one, which was bitesize episode 34. So now I can assume that you have listened to that, we can all continue on with this one by reading through Sean Lock's parody in full, and then we'll go through it again, stopping when we come across some interesting cultural references in colloquial language. So without further ado, let's get into it.

The tiger who came for a pint by Sean Lock. There once was a tiger who fancied a pint. Not Carling of course, that was too weak and too gassy. He wanted a pint that packs a punch like a Stella or Kronenbourg. The tiger was thirsty and needed something to wash down the zookeeper. He'd just eaten. He liked the atmosphere of Wetherspoons. Plus, he was barred from the king's head for mauling the darts team. Tiger drank his pint quietly besides the quiz machine. Soon, what with the beer, fags and flame grilled McCoys, he'd spent all his money. But he didn't half have a thirst on. So when George went to the cellar to flush out the Strongbow line, the tiger drank all the beer from the kegs and all the rum they were saving for Caribbean night.

Then he ate the meat raffle. Very naughty, tiger. Then he went to toilet on the bar.

We're going to have to call you a mini cab home, Tiger, said George, the deputy manager, bursting from the cellar. Where do you want taking?

To the zoo you silly bollocks.

It took a while to get one because the first two drivers they sent said, Are you mental? Finally, Pavel from station cars agreed to it. The journey went smoothly and eventually, after a lot of questioning, the tiger said,

Look, for the last time, it's not a onesie.

Wetherspoon's Deputy Manager George never saw the tiger or Pavel, the station car's driver ever again. The end.

So I hope you enjoyed listening to the tiger who came for a pint. Let's go back through that parody and see what needs explaining, because I'm sure you definitely noticed a bunch of words that were new to you or were used in rather unusual ways. So let's see.

There once was a tiger who fancied a pint, not Carling. Of course, that was too weak and too gassy.

I count 3 to 4, maybe even five things in this sentence that we need to touch on before moving on the first one, the word fancy. Brits use the verb form of this word with the meaning of to like something more than any other English speaking culture I know of.

Americans generally find it quite posh and old fashioned, and I'd imagine they think we mean the subject of the sentence romantically likes the object, so the boy fancies the girl, and it's got a bit of a young teenage feel like, who do you fancy that kind of thing? In the playground we would use it, but in British English we use it in the playground, but we also love it as adults. This is a very common collocation, using it with an alcoholic drink. I fancy a glass of wine. I fancy a gin and tonic or I fancy a pint of Carling.

So moving on to the word pint there we order beer in pints or half pints in pubs across the UK. Typically guys have been labelled as feminine. If they order a half pint and girls are welcomed to a group of lads if they order a pint. Although a guy might be a little taken aback if the girl ordered a pint of Guinness on their first date. In the current climate of cancel culture, this is something metropolitan people are conscious of trying to avoid, labelling and even noticing. But there is still an undertone of it in my opinion. And if I was to order a half pint with a group of guys, I can only imagine the disapproving energy coming from that group. In fact, the last group of guys I drank with, I wanted to have a gin and tonic straight away, and they were so unhappy with me not ordering a beer like them that they made several comments attempting to highlight that I'd had a sex change.

Just to be clear, this was a mix of Brits and Aussies in Sydney. But yeah, so the measurements of a pint and a half pint still have male and female connotations, as does the drink choice. I'd like to be clear though. I think we should be drinking or doing whatever we want, whenever we feel, regardless of any demographic we associate ourselves to [with*]. But let's see. Typically a fancy cocktail, a glass of rosé wine and even a white wine are associated as being more womanly in the world that I've existed in, and that is predominantly growing up in the UK throughout the nineties and noughties. And then on the other side I'd say a pint of Guinness is one of the most manly drinks at the bar, followed by any pint of ale or beer. And as the night progresses, guys typically lean towards a whisky based drink or nowadays gin and tonics but as a first drink for a guy, as I said earlier, I think it lends itself towards being feminine. Oh, earlier I used the word fancy as an adjective, like a fancy cocktail, meaning expensive or decorative. The noun form is available as well, but I don't hear it as much although the phrase take or tickle your fancy is used by rather well-to-do Brits, or used a bit more sarcastically by other groups. You could say it like what tickles your fancy? As in What do you want? What do you like?

And then Carling is a popular brand of beer that is in most pubs across the UK. It's known as being pretty weak in terms of alcohol percentage and and lacking in flavour, often crudely referred to as drinking a can or pint of piss. Lovely, lovely. Very crude. Very crude. Yes.

Okay, let's see what the next sentence was.

He wanted a pint that packs a punch like a stellar or Kronenbourg.

Ah, yes. A nice phrase there. Something packs a punch, which means to have a lot of force. Well, a food with spice in it could pack a punch. Or as I would imagine the origin of it comes from an athlete in a boxing match. You know, watch out for his right hook because he packs a punch. But coming back to beer, it means that the beer brand, Stella and Kronenbourg have a higher percentage of alcohol in this context.

And now we're on the topic, I'd like to let you know that Stella Artois used to have a bad name for itself in the UK as a beer that was linked to binge drinking and aggressive behaviour. So people used to make a joke about those that drink Stella and normally, you know, downing ten pints or necking ten pints and going home and beating up their missus.

Nasty stuff. I don't know why that link exists. Perhaps it was the high percentage of alcohol and the ease of access to it. But in the last 15 years I know that they have lowered the percentage to try and desperately shake the stigma attached to the brand. Oh, and another theory is that there was a female lead called Stella in the popular play called "A Streetcar Named Desire" who suffered from domestic abuse. So there could be a link there. Either way, don't worry yourself too much. If you do order a Stella nowadays, you won't be labelled a wife beater unless you're wearing one as well. Yeah, then you're just asking for trouble. And I'll explain that one if you need in the glossary. And if you're wondering about Kronenbourg, I've always found it to be a safe bet if you're looking for a good lager in a pub across the UK. All right. Next sentence.

The tiger was thirsty and needed something to wash down the zookeeper. He'd just eaten.

Nothing major to comment on here other than the phrasal verbs, to wash something down, meaning to eat food, or perhaps swallow medicine with a drink that helps or improves it. Let's keep going.

He liked the atmosphere of Wetherspoons. Plus, he was barred from the king's head for mauling the darts team.

Quite a bit in that one. Let's start with Wetherspoons. I believe this is the biggest chain of pubs throughout the UK. Each venue varies somewhat, but the main feeling I get from it is that it's a place to go if you want something cheap and cheerful. Unless, of course, you're in London, which, you know, any pub you go to could break the bank. But outside of the city, it's probably one of the cheaper places to go for a pint. However, you will most likely have some retired gentleman leering at you when you approach the bar to order. But don't worry, that's just what the regulars like to do. And hey, if you're lucky enough, they might even give you some listening practise. Although that will be a challenge in of itself, actually.

Oh, barred to be barred means you are no longer allowed in a place, usually because the last time you were in that place you behaved rather mischievously, e.g. you started a fight, you created your own toilet somewhere, or you abused the bar staff. Either way, you're not getting in the pub for a while. You're barred get out. The King's Head is a typical name for a pub, along with names like the Crown, Red Lion, Royal Oak or The Plough and fun fact you'll most likely see a picture next to the name of every single pub you go to and this is because pubs were present before literacy was common among the masses. So they needed an easy way for people who couldn't read to know where they could go get a pint from. And often if you look, the pictures relate to the brewing process. To make it extra clear, they are a pub like the name the Barley Mow, for example.

Oh one more fun fact that I found out recently. When you see a pub that looks like it reads ye like Ye Olde Smuggler's Inn or Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese the ye y e most of us pronounce that ye. But apparently old English had a character that looked very similar to a Y that represented the T-H sound. So really it was just the old smugglers in the old Cheshire cheese. But I would guess that the majority of us don't really know that, and we continue to pronounce it as ye and not the.

Let's see, check the glossary for the verb to maul and then the darts team. This is referring to the popular pub game where we throw a small spike with flights at a cork board and score points depending on our accuracy. This is considered a sport in the UK, despite nearly all professional darts players being clinically obese and would probably be diagnosed by a GP as having alcoholism.

If you do like drinking though, going to watch the darts is an activity the Brits love to do. Just don't order a G 'n' T on that night. All right. Next part of the story.

Tiger drank his pint quietly. Besides the quiz machine,

A perfect location for a local to be sat right next to this machine that attracts a small social crowd, you know, sitting in a very desirable location in terms of a nice view to the window and the overall aesthetic of the pub and nice atmosphere would lend itself to perhaps a couple who are on a date or a family, perhaps. This type of clientele, you know, the family or date are far less likely to humour a regular who's asking for a spare ciggie, let alone a tiger who's drinking the bar dry. So yeah, a good place for the tiger to be sat right next to the quiz machine.

Right. We will actually have to leave this bitesize episode here for today. And I will continue with the explanation of the cultural things in this parody in the next bitesize episode, because I'm not even halfway through this, and I think we'd be missing some useful information for you if we try to finish it in one episode. So until next time, go easy on the Stella and be kind to your partner. Happy learning and see you next time on the British English Podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

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Alright geezer, how's it going?

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Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

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Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

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Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

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Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

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Oh, hi.

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I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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