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
Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your manicured mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and although i’m about to take a “beauty nap” before attending a celebs only Skype call with Prince Charles, i’m contractually obliged to write you this missive…Therefore, I’m once again using my immense knowledge of the universe to improve your lives. Today’s question came from a young lad called Neil, who wants “help” with his school homework. He says he and his chums are all going to be schooled from home for a while as the C-Virus has closed their school. I’m guessing a lot of children will be wanting “Uncle” Brian’s help in the coming weeks. Watch this space… Anyway Neil wants know “What Killed The Dinosaurs”
Firstly, to give you some context I shall give you some background information about the dinosaurs. They roamed the earth about 5 or 6 thousand years ago. I say roamed as they didn’t live in houses nor were they kept in cages or fields like today’s animals. Farming and zoos hadn’t been invented yet. These lumbering giants were constantly on the move, apart from when they slept, looking for the next meal. Just like humans dinosaurs were all different, some were tall, scruffy and thin, some short, big boned & sexually inactive, others colourful & beautiful with great hair & teeth making them very attractive to the opposite and same sex, rather like me. Many ate meat, some ate fish and whilst others were strict vegans… But what they all had in common was a lack of wings. They simply couldn’t fly.
And it was this stupid inability to learn to fly, or even to invent aeroplanes, that made them extinct. How come Uncle Brian? I hear Neil and all the young people ask…
Let me take you back in time to dinosaur time. For hundreds of years every creature was very happy. There was low unemployment, plenty to eat and the world was warm and sunny most days. Even when it rained everyone was happy. Dinosaurs probably didn’t wash much and the rain was natures way of making them have a well deserved shower (sadly without soap). But one day the dinosaurs looked up to the sky, it was darkening and sun was becoming blotted out. They probably discussed amongst themselves what it could be? Clouds? An old satellite falling to earth, or perhaps the moon doing one of those eclipse things it did every now again just to annoy them. In the end the dinosaurs decided to run and hide. But the meteorite was so big there were no good places to hide… Not even caves or mud huts could shelter them. So sadly they all perished due to a large rock being fired at the Earth by aliens. In just one morning, afternoon, or early evening they were all wiped out. Dead.
Had they been able to fly (or had helicopters), they would have survived simply by flying out of harms’ way and sitting in trees… If they’d had that one skill, or a pilots licence, they would be around today. That is why we have birds today, they could fly out of the way and survive…And before you ask we still have fish and sharks because the meteorite missed the sea by a few miles. Lucky that, imagine a world without fish & chips or Jaws!
So there you go, another “Did You Know This” fact complete. I’m going to get off now, grab a quick forty winks, wash my hair and get onto my laptop to join Prince Charles and other clever celebs in creating a cure for Corona Virus Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.
(Above) An artist’s impression of Prof Brian Cox, Sir Prince Charles and celebrity chums finding a cure for Corona Virus using the prof’s DNA
Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your handsome, well groomed mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and although i’m busily directing my servants to correctly dress my new Christmas Tree and then i’m attending a celebs only Christmas party, i’m contractually obliged to write you this missive…Therefore, I’m once again using my immense knowledge of the universe to improve your lives. Today, is known as “the shortest day” but how many of us know why? The answer isn’t easy to come by and we must venture back to the time of the baby Jesus to find out… But not literally, I can’t time travel. Yet.
In the time of Jesus no cared, or had probably notice, that each day or week were different lengths… Some days could last 26 or 27 hours, sometimes just 17 hours, weeks could go on for weeks… and they lost count of how many months were in a year or when to start or finish a year. Time was in a right old mess. And it was not helped by a lack of clocks, or watches (no one had smart phones so that way of keeping time alluded them). But one day a wiseman who’d followed yonder start to visit the baby Jesus decided enough was enough. He is quoted in the bible as saying “Due to a lack of accurate time keeping i’m not sure if we wisemen are early for the birth, just in time, or days late… We’re as dumb as the shepherds who’ve come for a gander” It was the latter statement that clearly rattled the wisemen… Something had to be done. And Jesus’s dad Joseph, being a carpenter, was called upon to help the wisemen build a time-piece. Joseph jumped at the chance, he was looking for an excuse to get back to work, leave his wife Mary and their baby and get back into his wood working shed (they were not the enlightened PC times we live in now)…
After a month or two (no one is sure how long as time was only created when the time piece was finished) the large clock was finished and set to 12.00 GMT. Thats when time began. The wisemen divided days into 24 hours and hours into 60 minutes, with each minute being one minute long (seconds weren’t invented for a few thousand years after, as the clock didn’t have a seconds hand). People were very grateful that the wisemen had invented time, they now knew when to go to bed, when to get up, eat, go to the toilet even celebrate birthdays… but as is often the way after a few years people grew bored and restless of regimented time.
To remedy this the wisemen decided that some days could be shorter than others, it added some fun to time keeping. And the Bible tells us they were fun guys, always playing tricks and telling blue jokes. So a handful of days were chosen (at random) to be a few minutes, or hours shorter… The shortest was chosen to be on the baby Jesus’s birthday. A sort of belated present. Unfortunately they got the date slightly wrong, but no one really cared. They were just pleased to have some different length days. And that is why today is considerably shorter than yesterday or tomorrow.
There you go, another “Did You Know This” fact complete. I’m off to the hospital now as I’m giving some of my DNA (from my beautiful luscious hair) to the NHS to cure all illnesses. Happy Christmas, Prof Brian Cox.
Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous, yet scarily dressed Prof Brian Cox here, and although i’m rather busy getting ready to attend a celebs only Halloween party i’m finding time to write you this missive… Why you might ask? Well, i’ve been inundated with tens of emails, a postcard and text message, asking the same question; “Why do we celebrate Halloween? How come we didn’t celebrate it until a few years ago? And what’s the origin of Trick & Treating” To be frank, the latter question is all down to greedy supermarkets, i’ll explain why in a bit but first i’ll answer why we celebrate Halloween… To be factually accurate we are in fact celebrating All Hallows Eve, which began in pre-historical times (otherwise called the dark ages because there was no electric light or candles)… On this eve simple folk would celebrate the end of harvest. But why all hallows eve I hear you chorus… well a hallow was a type of cart used to carry the pumpkin harvest in and traditionally, as decreed in the Bible’s Old Testament, the driver was a woman called Eve. In essence it was Harvest Festival by another name, but the only food being given to the poor was pumpkins (potatoes hadn’t been invented yet so the orange veg was all anyone had to eat). Due to the clocks changing, nights getting dark early and no TV to distract them people began the tradition of playing horrible tricks on each and this soon gained nationwide popularity. Historical records tell us that over the centuries the tricks got so dangerous that it became enshrined in law that if you didn’t die due to a trick being played on you then you deserved a treat… Ancient parchments tell us treats were mainly alcoholic and ended in fights. And often death (which is why kids dress up as ghosts). In the end the King, Oliver Cromwell, denounced the vulgarity of All Hallows Eve in the 1860s and banned ”Trickery & treatering” due to it’s devil-worshipping inclinations. As a way around this, and to get peasants into church, the leader of the Catholic Church Pope Norris The Second intervened (he hated Mr Cromwell). He renamed the debauchery Harvest Festival which proved very popular, especially the consumption of the free food and drink in churches which led to an outbreak of mass fornicating and a huge increase in the UK birth rate. So sadly all hallows eve fell out of favour… That was until a few years ago when supermarket bosses were looking at ways to boost sales in pre-Christmas Autumn (and they also wanted to cease the practice of free food and drink in churches), so they rediscovered All Hallows Eve, spent millions on advertising pumpkins, sweets and naff costumes even gave it the new name Halloween… So there you have it, supermarkets are the reason we celebrate Halloween and trick or treating… Which reminds me i’d better hurry round to my pal Graham Norton‘s house as we’re going on the bus together to Jonathan Ross‘ famed celeb only Halloween party… See you soon, and keep the faith (by buying some of my merchandise). Ta ta, Prof Brian Cox.
Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous, adored Prof Brian Cox here, and if i’m honest at this moment in time i’m slightly anxious & distracted. But not sweating like common folk…. Why? Because i’m writing this (due to contractual obligations) in a taxi as it wings its way to Heathrow Airport so I can catch a flight off to sunnier climbs. Anyway, i’ve been inundated with tens of emails, perfumed-notelets and text messages, which I was hoping wouldn’t need answering. But i’m told they do or else I wont get paid! And even a megastar scientist and TV icon with beautiful hair and teeth needs paying. Keeping on top of my youthful looks doesn’t come cheap I can tell you… Anyway i’m digressing as I’m driven past my favourite hair gel emporium, Harrods…. You’ve been asking in your droves the same question; “What is the Autumn Equinox, and why do we bother having one as no-one apart from scientists know what it is?” Ok i’ll get this done as quick as possible and apologies for any speling misbakes (the road is rather bumby)… The reason we have Autumn Equinox every year, around late September, is all to do with cavemen and horses… The name equinox is latin, or greek, or perhaps french, for horny horse and legend has it that the Autumn Equinox celebrates a day when horses with horns were first seen frolicking amongst the fallen leaves whilst our cave dwelling forebears searched for conkers. It is said that our ancient hirsute ancestors quickly invented bows and arrows and hunted and ate these horned horses (sometimes called Unicorns) to extinction… So there you have it, if we hadn’t rid the World of these horses we wouldn’t be celebrating now. Or have my little pony. Anyway I must dash off as i’m fast approaching terminal five and can see my holiday chums, Joey Essex, Michael & Tina McIntyre OBE and Carol Vorderman waving to me…. See you soon, and keep the faith (by buying some of my merchandise). Ta ta, Prof Brian Cox.