Matthew Munson: Getting to the facts of the matter

Lie or truth?

Writing a weekly column for this esteemed organ is a pleasure, and I always have enough going on to have something to write about. But there are some weeks that I struggle to decide what to write about; my brain won’t let me choose one particular thing.

This week, for example, shall I tell you about my sojourn to Brighton? I watched the pride march, had a brilliant dinner, and a long stroll around the town, Hove, and along the sea front.

Or what about my plans for Folk Week, where I’ll be avoiding morris dancers like the plague and soaking in the atmosphere as much as I can?

Random facts

But if I tell you either of those things, then I won’t be able to tell you about the deliciously random facts I’ve learned about this week. You see, I’m something of a magpie when it comes to facts; I collect them in the same way some people collect milk bottles or corks. You think I’m joking, but there are people out there who will collect anything.

For instance, did you know that there’s a growing market for the cardboard tubes from toilet rolls amongst creative types? Artists buy up sackfuls from Ebay to do artistic things with; I’m not entirely sure what, but there’s some money to be made from people dedicated enough to save up their loo roll.

You’re nicked

But if I talked to you about that, I wouldn’t have the space to tell you that many of you – I’m almost sorry to tell you this – commit an offence every Christmas Day without realising it. You see, eating mince pies on 25th December is illegal in the UK due to an ancient statute that’s never been repealed. Sorry, but put down the pie and walk away slowly.

Nor would I have the space to make you think about how much of knife-edge history rests on. For instance, did you know that Hitler’s mother considered an abortion, but was talked out of it by her GP. Talk about a bad career move. Oh, and here’s an interesting fact; the deaths of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden were both announced on 1st May, 66 years apart.


I’d also love to spend some time discussing the Pinocchio Paradox. As we all know, Pinocchio’s nose grows when he tells a lie, so if he declares, “My nose will grow now”, then he’s caught in a paradox. If his nose does grow, then he wasn’t lying. But if he wasn’t lying, his nose wouldn’t grow. But that would make his statement a lie, which would mean his nose would grow. But then the statement wouldn’t be a lie … so his nose wouldn’t grow. And so on.

You get the picture, I suspect.

So, there is so much I want to share with you – so many facts that could fill out acres of space, and I wish I had time to tell you about them. But there’s always next week’s column, I guess, where I might spend some time telling you about the Twitter bird’s real name of – ah, but let’s save that for another time.