In today's Random Facts we've hit up our favourite maestro of house to give us the lowdown on the shit that really matters. Luckily Prosumer has got it all covered; BBQ'd whale's testicles, the history of the mp3, toothpaste made from piss, or ginger beards, there's a whole world of facts out there, and we're ready to roll. Hold on fact fans. We're going in.
So… instead of boring you with favourite records and all that nonsense, We're going to play fact tennis, hit some facts back and forth and see how we get on, if that’s OK with you?
The quiz night I’m doing with Kerstin – Tama Sumo – that kind of started because it reflects my personality, and also hers, in the way that we both are people where useless random bullshit knowledge gets stuck in the head, and you cannot really access it. So it's not useful, but it will come up in a conversation where you have the urge to blurt out a random fact and everybody thinks, “Uh, that’s a bit weird.” So yes, there is stuff in my head like that. We did the quiz last week Tuesday, and one of the questions was, “What’s the average life expectancy of a dove?” At the end of the round we revealed that the answer is 35 years, which is not what you’d think. The craziest thing about it, the reaction of the audience was booing! Everyone was booing that doves get to 35 years old.
You compare that to a dog or say with cats they say it's 20 around years. So doves get a much better deal than cats and the dogs do. Interesting. Alright, that’s a good one to start with. My next one is, “Throughout the whole of England, it is illegal to eat mince pies on December 25th.”
Interesting! Is that one of those very old laws that never got scrapped?
Exactly, I came across quite a number of them actually when looking this up. There was another Old English law, “All English men over 14 are meant to carry out two hours of longbow practice each week, supervised by the local clergy.”
Nice! That’s the kind of law that should be enforced! We had a round at the quiz about old weird laws, for example one of the German provinces still has the death penalty, but since the common law of Germany is a level higher, that’s obviously not enforced. My favourite UK law is about the legal position for public urination for men. So if you keep your right hand on the roof of your car and urinate on one of the rear wheels, that’s allowed. So you must own a car and you must be a man!
Wow, I did not know that! That’s English law, is it?
Unless someone took very much energy and made sure it was written all over the internet like that, it seems like it is actually a fact.
I’ve got another fact about urine actually. Apparently the Romans used to make toothpaste from urine.
OK! Do you know more about the process?
I might look it up now. "The science behind historic uses of urine." The Portuguese used it for tooth care as well by the sound of it. Upper class Roman women paid top dollar for their version of toothpaste, which was human urine. Wow. This is interesting. I’ll report back some more on that. High dental hygiene in the Roman era. So there you go.
I mean, there's a lot of skin products that have urea in, which is basically urine, so basically we still use it.
What else have I got? Human saliva has a boiling point three times that of regular water.
Wow, I like that! Just imagine cooking a pot of pasta in human saliva! Probably because of all the minerals and enzymes in it?
They say that less pure water boils higher doesn’t it?
I really have to keep myself from trying that! “So what have you been up to all week while I was collecting saliva to check facts?”
Yeah, "Wil told me this, I need to be guaranteed that’s the right information."
You’ll get a video by the end of the week!
What else have I got? The king of hearts is the only king without a moustache.
OK. Just in classic card decks, or is it really an official rule? There have been countless designs.
That’s true, let me just look it up.
On Facebook over the last couple of days there was something about the scientific reason why men who don’t have ginger hair grow ginger beards. There must be a reason for that but I haven’t read it yet, so we could find out…
There's one about ginger people, apparently they're the devil. Ginger beards…
Oh that must be from the Bible.
When they die they become the devil or something. I was a little bit disturbed about that, with myself. Did you know, a man who shaves spends roughly 3,350 hours of his life in the bathroom? What would you do with the extra time that you have?
Um… looking out of the window, a lot of it! I’m actually going to have my beard trimmed this afternoon. I always do it myself and it’s the first time in many years that somebody’s going to touch my beard, I’m very excited about that.
For how long?
Oh God. The last year that somebody cut my beard was more than 10 years ago I think? Since then I’ve been doing it myself, right now it’s a bit of a mess. There's this idea in my head, I'm probably not going to go through with it, but I thought it might be fun to have it white for Christmas, [chuckles] to visit all my friends with kids. I might do it, but probably at the end will say no…
Oh come on, that sounds like a fun idea, why not?
The thing is, the day after it will just look shit!
Did you know that Donald Duck’s middle name is Fauntleroy?
Well now you do.
Did you know that the inventor of the mp3 player has the same family name as myself? That was a bit shocking, and in my head I thought, "Oh, he must be that part of the family we don’t talk to", he’s responsible for that! And did you know which piece of music they used to work on the player to see how it deals with speech?
I did know this, there was a book about the mp3 that came out… go on, tell me.
It was 'Tom’s Diner' by Suzanne Vega.
Yeah, exactly, and they tested it on lots of different ones didn’t they? Have you read that book? It's really good, it's called 'How Music Got Free'. Very interesting.
OK, the three most spoken English words are 'hello', 'stop', and 'taxi'. People probably could have guessed that. Or, no word in the English language rhymes with 'month', 'orange', 'silver' or 'purple'.
No, I'm not sure about that. I think I saw that on QI, I think they had something that rhymes with orange.
'Syringe'! There you go.
Might be a weird poem!
What else have we got? Catfish are the only animal that has a naturally odd number of whiskers.
I wasn’t aware that whiskers is something that is a fixed number.
The plastic things at the end of your shoelaces are called aglets. That is a completely useless piece of information.
I knew the word in German… uhhhh… no, gone.
Did you know that the elephant is the only animal with four knees?
No! You’re blowing my mind! [Laughs]
Ha, too much! And adult elephants apparently can’t jump.
I can understand that one. It would be fun to see though.
When you get burned you should crack an egg and you wont get a scar.
[Chuckles] I don’t believe that, no.
I’ll produce some follow up proof for you.
It sounds like like – oh, I don’t know the word in English – in German there is an old-fashioned saying, “Oh, if there's snow on the 17th of March then there will be a good crop in the summer” or something, let me quickly Google a good translation…
It's more like for surgery, if you have it you're supposed to put egg white on it, apparently people use it for acne as well. Egg whites and baking soda to remove scars.
Is that a folk saying or country law?
OK, there could be a scientific reason too. Maybe you could use saliva, that will have a double effect!
Reduce the temperature, no, accentuate the temperature! OK, karaoke means ‘empty orchestra’ in Japanese.
I knew it once, forgotten.
There’s other stuff I keep forgetting. I knew the names of the ghosts in Pac Man, and Pac Man in Japanese I think means hungry man… anyway, Blinky? I keep forgetting the names. Nobody really knows which one is which, it's not like Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La-La, Po, where you can clearly assign the colours to a name. Did you know that… OK, long story – the word for a snail in Turkish, literally translated, it’s 2 parts – 'sumuk' and 'bocek'. 'Bocek' means something like bug, 'sumuk' means slimy or snotty, so snotty slimy bug is snail. I think it's really nice, I really like that. Once some friends of mine were talking Turkish to each other and I was sitting next to them and was pissed off I didn’t understand a word, so I started talking fantasy Turkish, and then they said, “Oh that’s actually a word”, and then they introduced me to ‘sumuklubocek’. It happened once on the plane to the States, I was sitting next to a Turkish couple. You had to fill out these landing cards, “Have you been in touch with the following animals?”, and on that list was snail, and he’s asking me, “What's a snail, I don’t understand that word?” And I could say, “You’re literally asking me about the only word I know in Turkish, it's sumuklubocek!” The snotty bug [laughs].
The snotty bug – I guess snail is not so affectionate either, neither of them are very flattering terms. What else have I got? It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
Yep! I knew that.
Seems a bit unfair.
It was on the list of weird laws. Also you are not allowed to show up in full armour, which also makes a bit of sense.
A little bit unfair. OK, only female mosquitos bite.
Yep, I knew that one. I think that has even been used by weird religious groups to show the evil of women. I think, and this is probably also QI, there's this island – I think it was in Greece – where monks were living and they were only allowed to have male animals on the island, not female animals because they are impure and stuff like that. There’s a law in the US, not sure whether it’s the US or one of the states, that says you're not allowed to wear comical beards in church. I think, what defines a comical beard? What is funny, what is not?
Yeah, “you need to justify this this before you come inside.” Matt was saying last time you played at Dance Tunnel you really liked steak, so I found out that the most expensive steak ever sold was Wagyu beef, in Australia, $450 a kilo.
That’s a lot?
I dunno, is it?
Well, it is a lot of money! Food-wise of course it gets more expensive, but for steak, yeah… A friend of mine… no, I’m not going to tell that story [laughs].
You don’t have to name them!
It’s… no, no [laughs].
Alright move on. Polar bears can eat as many as 86 penguins in a single sitting.
In my head now there’s a queue of penguins, and the last one’s going, “Oh good, I’m 87!”
"I made it, I’m ok!"
Did you know that Bill Wyman’s son married Mandy Smith’s mother while Bill Wyman was still married to Mandy Smith?
I did not know that. What? That’s crazy.
Yeah [laughs]. Just imagine – "oh yeah, fuck you Dad, I’m getting back at you!"
Imagine that Christmas!
"Who’s coming to visit?"
"It’s your 'mum’s' sister!" I don’t know [laughs], just imagine…
What else have I got? The ears of a cricket are located on the front legs, just below the knee.
Would look weird on people, but probably crickets think, “Oh, look at these humans, look at their ears!”
I think we've got a nice, broad selection there.
Did you know that an Icelandic brewery company issued a small batch of – probably you would call it artisanal – beer, which was flavoured with smoked whale testicles?
Hah! I did not know that. I don’t think I would be drinking that. Is it new?
I think it must have been last year. Or maybe even this year. I’m not sure about that.
Wow. Dung-smoked whale testicle beer.
Huh. Goes well with the Wagyu beef steak [laughs]. I’m quite adventurous when it comes to food and like to try out lots of things, but, ehhhh.
Just up the road in Dalston, in the kebab shops, they sort of just barbeque testicles don’t they? I can''t see myself eating that, theyre meant to be quite chewy. I’m not that adventurous. OK, I’m gonna finish up with – it comes back round to your dove, brings that round nicely – the oldest known goldfish lived to 41 years of age, and his name was Fred.
Nice. Just imagine Fred was friends with a dove and had to live for six more years without his best friend.
No no, we cannot end with this sad little…
OK, let's end it on something a bit nicer. How's Teddy getting on? You know, the Facebook video that you did.
Oh, oh. It’s a dog. He’s watching over my studio and sometimes comes out when friends are visiting with their kids. It’s basically for desperate measures if you really need to shut the kids up, then the dog comes out [laughs].
Hang on… Have you seen the Golden Girls Lego set?
A friend of mine is obsessed with Lego and I saw it today. They actually do these votes for it to be made, so yeah, he’s gone crazy now that everybody has to vote for this Lego set. It’s quite funny. it has the kitchen and living room and you get all the characters.
And you can vote to have them made?
Yep. Lego seems to be doing this thing where you can have a say in what they’re producing. If a lot of people say "Oh yeah, that’s what we want", they will actually make it as a special collector’s edition.
Is that what you’re buying your friend for Christmas then?
Ummm I have no idea how much this will be so probably not!
That’s a nice one to end on. Back to Christmas again. Well, thanks a lot Achim, thanks for taking the time.
My pleasure. Thanks for all this knowledge that will now haunt me in my sleep! Really enjoyed that.
Prosumer is playing Dekmantel at The Hydra this weekend (Friday 4th December) – tickets and more details are over here
He's also playing Love International Festival , 29th June – July 2016 – more info and tickets here