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Laurence Inman’s Blog



Prompted by seeing David Edgar’s Testing The Echo at The Rep, Laurence Inman ponders a test to sort out the true Brits.

I had a very pleasant evening at the Rep on Saturday.

Three things especially pleased me about Testing The Echo by David Edgar.

It was a fast, funny and provocative series of connected sketches about how ‘Britishness’ might be defined and tested in the context of our ever more diverse society.

Second, there was no pointless interval.

Lastly, I was not robbed of £3.50 for a programme which was little more than a booklet full of ads. Instead, and for only £3, I got a paperback copy of the play’s complete text!

I even had the pleasure of bumping into The Stirrer himself afterwards, although I didn’t take up his offer of a drink; I have a dread of waking up in a police cell thinking ‘I wish I’d never had that conversation last night.’ The two things may not be connected, but you never know these days.

There wouldn’t be much point in telling you more about the play because Saturday was the very last night of its tour. But it did give me an idea which the government might want to take up in the light of current criticisms of its bone-headed obstinacy in continuing to inflict absurd tests on the nation’s children, starting at the age of three months.

Scrap all school tests and just administer one as each victim of the system leaves. It can also double as the nationality test for all newcomers to the country.

Just circle the appropriate letter.

In Britain, if someone spills your pint in the pub, do you

  1. a) Politely stab him in the neck with a knife
  2. b) Politely stab him in the neck with a bottle

Christmas is

  1. a) A religious festival
  2. b) A drinking contest

Easter is

  1. a) A religious festival
  2. b) A chocolate-eating contest

After St George slew the dragon, did he

  1. a) Eat it
  2. b) Leave it on the pavement

According to British etiquette, do you eat your evening meal

  1. a) In the dining room at a table
  2. b) In the street
  3. c) On the bus
  4. d) On the bog

In Britain, it is illegal to break the speed limit, unless

  1. a) You’re late for Match Of The Day
  2. b) You’re too pissed to care
  3. c) You just feel like it

In Britain, if the pavement outside your house tilts at 60 degrees, do you

  1. a) Complain to the appropriate department at the council
  2. b) Find out if a councillor actually lives on your street

Invading other countries is

  1. a) A good idea
  2. b) A very good idea
  3. c) If you can get away with it, why not ?
  4. d) Not a good idea if the Americans don’t want to
  5. e) Not a good idea of the Daily Mail says no

Rudyard Kipling

  1. a) Wrote poems and stories
  2. b) Makes exceedingly good cakes
  3. c) Is a peculiar thing they do in the country
  4. d) Is the name of a village in Lincolnshire

                    (For advanced students only)

How many questions are there in this test ?

  1. a) 10
  2. b) 9
  3. c) 8
  4. d) 4
  5. e) 1
  6. f) 0
  7. g) -1
  8. h) None of the above
  9. i) Some of the above
  10. j) All of the above
  11. k) Above us the sky
  12. l) Villa ended the season above the Blues
  13. m) Heavens above
  14. n) I didn’t get this far

Your answers will now be put in a drawer and later burnt. We hope you enjoy being educated and British and look forward to seeing you again.

See The Stirrer’s review of Testing The Echo here


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