Magazine article The Spectator

Useless Information: Jaspistos

Magazine article The Spectator

Useless Information: Jaspistos

Article excerpt

IN COMPETITION NO. 1965 you were invited to supply a poem providing a great deal of useless information.

There is a Society for the Preservation (or Propagation) of Useless Information, with Keith Waterhouse as president. I know this because last year a letter (alas, never published) was addressed to The Spectator pointing out, for the Society's benefit, that all the Underground stations in the London area contain at least one letter included in the word 'mackerel', except for - the answer, if you care for answers, is St John's Wood. In judging this comp, I could not possibly know whether or not your information was true. It would have taken me days to check that Chicago's first refrigerator arrived in 1913, that spiders have no sense of smell, that the largest British potato was grown by J.H. East, that haggis originally came from France, and that the Christmas issue of The Spectator weighed 200 grams. I have swallowed it all whole. …

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