Hello to all my loyal subjects, aka the Coxettes, it’s your beautiful & modest Prof Brian Cox CBE here. Yet again I am using my unimaginably high IQ to improve your lock-down lives. Twice every year I get asked the same question, or a crass variation on, why do the clocks change… As i’ve answered it numerous times let me just copy and paste my enlightening reposte from many years ago. That way I can get back to watching Strictly whilst zooming my celebrity pals….
The answer to why do “the clocks change” in Autumn and Spring is, like so many of today’s conundrums steeped in mystery, but I can tell you now that once again it’s down to our old friends the Romans. (Who were an ancient people all of whom were born in Rome).
We have to go back to 103BC when the Roman’s lust for entertainment was at it’s height, and audiences we were especially keen on timed gladiatorial fights. The only problem was no one could actually time them as time itself was yet to invented. The promise of time had been bandied about about for centuries ever since a Greek had mentioned it in passing, but no one could actually define it. The roman people were growing restless and wanting to pacify them Roman Emperor Julius Timius demanded that someone invent time and set it as a competition. Many scientists and philosophers tried and failed, but one day a lowly scribe, Minitus Hourius, noted that maybe time could be described as “the duration between the sun rising and setting”, and “that if divided into smaller bits such as hours and minutes things could at last be timed.” Through trial and error over many months it was found that daylight could be divided into 12.03 hours with each hour being roughly 60 minutes long (the 24 hour day and seconds would not be invented for another 200 years). At last citizens could time gladiator battles and were very happy, young Minitus was even given his own chariot as way of thanks … but a few years later unrest returned. Because the daylight hours weren’t exactly 12 hours long every six months there was a whole spare hour left over that no one knew what to do with (hence the expression “to have time on your hands”). Once again it was our friend Minitus who came good and his solution was to put the clocks backwards in Autumn, and to maintain decorum, forward in the Spring. A tradition that continues to this day.
So there you go, another Did You Know This fact complete. Thanks, Prof Brian Cox CBE.
Hello to my devoted socially distancing Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous (still Covid-19 free) leader Prof Brian Cox here, and i’m back answering your (almost) scientific questions…
I’m answering this one a few days early as I want to spend the rest of the week and weekend topping up my beautiful tan. Saturday will, as you probably know, be “the World’s Longest Day” and all over the globe people of all religions will be celebrating, but the question i’ve been asked is “why is Stonehenge the most popular place that dwarves, witches and the unemployed flock to dance naked at sunrise on June 21st, or is it the 20th? And what’s with these old stones anyway, do they have any use?”
You are correct that Stonehenge is apparently the most popular destination, but many other sites attract such low life on the same day, including our very own Hammerite standing stones. Stonehenge actually draws the most people due to the parking, abundance of toilets and the chance to get on TV dancing with gay abandon.
The question of what is the purpose of Stonehenge is one that’s been open to debate for many centuries… Some say it was a burial site, a place of worship or perhaps even an ancient “rock themed” funfair. I myself am inclined to believe it was once a cafe & service station for cave men & women due to the fact it was sited close to the A303, itself an ancient trading route between Exeter and Belgium. This would also account for the fact there’s still a visitors centre on the site. I believe the longest day would have been significant because the cafe would have stayed open late (opening times would likely have been at sunrise to sunset) and they probably also had some good offers on, perhaps 10% off a bison burger or BOGOF on animal furs and dinosaur eggs (good for omelates)…
So there you go, another Did You Know This Longest Day fact ticked off for twelve months. I’m off to do a zoom call with HRH The Queen as she no doubt wants to bitch about some of the wayward members of her family. Keep safe, keep well, Prof Brian Cox.
Hello to my devoted lock-down Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous Covid-19 free mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and i’m back answering your (almost) scientific questions… This week i’ve had a lot of emails, scented letters & postcards asking about “May Day.” First question I will answer is why we actually celebrate the day… This is because since at least the time of the dinosaurs the first Monday of May has always been a day to skive off work (or in the case of cavemen to lay off hunting bison and rabbits), to do a little “spring cleaning” then drink, eat vast quantities of cake, dance and fornicate. It’s one of our oldest festivals and celebrates Spring; when the flowers bloom, the clocks change and little lambs are born. It is celebrated the World over, but it was us Brits who invented it although the Greeks and Romans claimed they did. In some places it’s called Labour Day, because traditionally lots of babies were born on this Monday. Or at least a couple of weeks either side… The next question was why has it been cancelled? Well, it’s not actually been cancelled just delayed until this Friday. This is so PM Boris Johnson can be fully recovered from the virus and have a drink or three to celebrate having survived and also become a Dad for the 15th time… Coincidentally it also falls on the 70th, or 75th, anniversary of VE Day so we can all drink and fornicate even more. With this in my mind i’m going to go online to order lots of drink and sexy underwear for myself. Stay safe, keep well, Prof Brian Cox.
Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous fine-boned mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and for the second or third time this week i am attempting to answer a religious question (in future let’s stick to science)… Today i’ve been asked “why is Good Friday so good?” Once again I tried ringing the vicar to get his insight, but I fear he may be screening his calls, so i’ve relied on the internet to answer this. That did throw up some total rubbish, such as it was originally God’s Friday (with no explanation why God thought to take this Friday for himself). But I wasn’t put off and the answer I thought most likely is that it’s actually a misspelling and shortening of Leftover Food Friday. If you saw my post about Maundy Thursday you’ll know that the Thursday before Easter the Christian leader Jesus had a few friends over to his house for dinner, wine and a knees-up… Then, the next morning he rustled up a rather splendid brunch using the leftovers, and the original “leftovers” name was born. It is also believed one of the dishes he cooked was a rather good omelette, which is why we give eggs… God knows when it became Good Friday (although it is a rather good day), and why are the eggs now chocolate? With in my mind i’m going to go online to order some large Belgian eggs, yum. Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.
Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your devilishly handsome mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and I have to admit, that for the first time one of your questions has completely stumped me. I do have a good excuse in that it’s not a scientific question but rather a religious one… But normally I know everything so am perturbed I can’t answer. The question that’s thwarted me is “why on earth is Maundy Thursday so named?” My first port of call was online but that threw up total rubbish, although it did inform me that the day is in remembrance of the Christian’s leader, Jesus, having a “last” supper for some friends and for some reason instead of washing their hands before eating he cleaned his guests feet… And bizarrely I can find no scientific reason for doing sot! Anyway, the Thursday bit of the name is obviously because the meal was on the evening before Friday morning, but I found no hint of what Maundy means? I even tried ringing our local vicar but he didn’t answer nor does he have an answerphone or email address… So I am flummoxed and can only only guess it’s a misspelling, perhaps of laundry Thursday or quandary Thursday (apt if Jesus didn’t know what to cook). And on that note i’m going to have a zoom call with my good friend Boy George, perhaps he’ll know the origin of the name? Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.
Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your stunningly attractive mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and i’m writing because i’m unhappy. Not only am I having a very rare bad hair day (a bad hair week in fact as my hairdresser isn’t able to visit apart from squeezing hair gel through my letterbox). On top of that I am amazed at the mass of stupid questions I am getting every single day. Lockdown has increased the volume of such inane queries so much that I am now forced to say cease fans! STOP NOW!!!! I am ok with serious, scientific questions but will no longer engage with covidiots. The following extract is the sort of rubbish jamming up my inbox, stopping celebs, such as Bradley Walsh and Sir Elton, getting in touch me…
Dear Paddy Cox (sic), can you help? Last night I put our kitchen clock forward by an hour and the hour-hand fell off. Why has this happened? Could it have caught Corona Virus? Can you come round and check on it? Hopefully, if it’s germ free could you glue it back on?
Firstly don’t call me Paddy. It’s Professor to you. Second, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer says clocks can’t get the virus. Yet. Thirdly, In case they can i’m not coming round to fix it! Fourthly I’ve run out of glue. Besides which I am so busy with my online celebrity life that emails like this tire me out. So STOP sending them to me! Thank you
I’m off now to discuss hair products with my dear friend Claudia Winkleman on zoom. Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.
(Above) Brian Cox suffering from a bad hair day and answering inane questions