The Most Boring Man in Britain & Discovering Scarfolk | SYSK Internet Roundup


(upbeat music) – Hey, welcome to Internet Roundup. I was doing some last second research. – Okay, what’d you find? – And so are you? – Yes. – What are you looking at? – I was just checking my email. – That’s how things go around
here on Internet Roundup, the most casual talk show on web. – Yeah, I left in the
middle of one episode. – [Chuck] Oh, did you?
– [Josh] No. – [Chuck] Okay, I was about
to say, I didn’t even notice. That’s Josh Clark, I’m Chuck Bryant, and we do the Stuff You
Should Know podcast, and also this. That’s what it should
just be called, Also This. We round up the internet two at a time, and today we’re gonna talk about, let’s talk about the less
interesting one first. – Okay. – The most boring man in Britain
is said to be Peter Willis, and a psychologist named Sandi Mann is kind of obsessed with, or let’s just say very interested, with anoraks. – Yeah, I think that’s a dull person. – Yeah. About the psychology of boredom and he, is Sandi a he or a she? – I believe a she. – Okay, could be either one. – Could be. – Sandi with an I, it’s probably a woman. What guy would spell his name with an I? – Sandie Newton’s out there
going, “What gives, fellas?” – So Sandi is interested in
the psychology of boredom, and Peter Willis is photographing 150,000 mailboxes, what
they call postboxes, all over Britain. – That’s his hobby. – That’s his hobby. – Actually, that’s one of several hobbies. He’s into some other stuff as well. He likes sports, he likes
to dance, I believe. – Does he really? – There’s plenty of other
things that he’s into as well, but apparently his passion, and he’s a former postal carrier, is photographing these letterboxes. – I don’t see what’s so boring
about being a photographer. – Well, here’s the thing. The thing that started all of this is the Daily Mail wrote
an article about him. – [Chuck] Well, there you have it. – And they called him the
most boring man in Britain. And apparently poor Peter Willis is like, “What gives? That’s not cool.” He thought they were just doing a spotlight on him and his hobby. When he goes to get the paper, he sees that he’s being called the most boring man in Britain. Sandi, who? Mann? – Sandi Mann. – Sandi Mann came to his rescue and went and interviewed him, and I guess won his trust over, and came back and reported, “Yes, he is indeed the most
boring man in Britain.” – No. – I’m just kidding. – No, Sandi said, “I think
the title is unfair.” Actually, that’s what
Peter said about himself, but Sandi agrees. “Other people think Peter is boring, “others may think his hobby is boring, “and neither one is true.” – Yes. And Sandi, again, is, I think you said, a professor of psychology, right? And she polled her students to find what constitutes a boring hobby. – Yeah, I thought that
was kind of interesting. – Yeah, and there were some
that emerged very clearly, stamp or coin collecting
was mentioned by 43%. And then train, bus,
or plane-spotting, 19%. Fishing is boring for
16%, that’s not right. – What do you mean? – Fishing’s not boring. – Well, I think to people
who are not anglers, they see you sitting in a boat for possibly hours
without catching anything, or standing in a river, or
doing whatever kind of fishing. – That’s meditating, not boring. – I agree, man. I go trout fishing, and I
don’t have to catch anything. I just like traipsing around in a river. – And so Sandi being a psychologist, or a professor of psychology, either one, says, “There’s actually a lot to “things that you might call boring.” They focus the mind
typically on the mundane, and in doing so it actually has been shown to unlock creativity, and I guess she is a
psychologist because she says, “As a mental health practitioner, “one piece of advice I always
give my depressed clients “is to look for pleasure in
simple, ordinary things.” So maybe taking photos of
post offices or postboxes is a good way to stave off depression. Especially in Britain, because it can get gloomy there. Let’s just come out and say it. – You’re a brave man. – Yeah. – Some of the other things
students said were boring, bird-watching, knitting, politics, collecting objects such
as stones or shells. It seems like any kind
of collecting hobby, students were just like,
“How boring can you get?” – Well, especially stuff that is described as useless. Collecting useless things like a stone. – They also mentioned
taking pictures of pylons, making things out of matches, and metal detecting in areas
where there is nothing to find. – How do you know there’s nothing to find until you detect it? – My dad got into metal detecting when I was a kid at one point. – Yeah, my dad had a metal detector too. – It must have been a very 70s, 80s thing. – I think it was. – I guess they thought,
you know what happened, there was probably some big find that both of our dads were
like, “I can get rich.” – We can replace the Malibu. – Your dad and my dad
should go bowling sometime. – They should. – I bet they’d have a lot to talk about. – I think so, too. My dad would have been like, “Huh, never thought of
burning the Christmas tree “on Christmas.” – Yeah, and at the very end
of their bowling session they would say, “What does
your son do for a living?” And they would both go, “I dunno.” – “I don’t know, don’t ask me.” – My dad doesn’t fly Delta
flights, or any flights. Actually, that’s not true. He goes on cruises, and you
gotta fly to go to a cruise. – You gotta fly to go to a cruise, that’s what my dad always says. – So if you’re out there, hi, Dad. – Hey, Dad. – This is what we do. That’s Josh. I’m Chuck. A single tear rolls down my face. – You should have it tattooed. – I think that means you
killed someone, right? – I believe so too, from my
understanding of prison tattoos. Casey’s like, yeah, that’s what it means. – So we’re moving onto Scarfolk, which is something you found, man. I don’t know how you find this stuff, this is one of the coolest
things I’ve ever seen. – You’ve seen something
from Scarfolk before. You have seen the Don’t poster. – Are we gonna put it up? – Yeah. So the Don’t poster, and I wish you could
actually see it right now, because you’d be like,
“Oh, yeah, that’s right.” – What are you talking about? I’m looking at it, and I
totally have seen that. – So it made the rounds,
because it looks like, and all things from Scarfolk are basically supposed to be British
public service announcements, specifically set in the
design aesthetics of the 70s. And if you look on the
Scarfolk website it says, “Scarfolk is a town in northwest England “that did not progress beyond 1979. “Instead the entire decade of
the 70s loops ad infinitum. “Here in Scarfolk, “pagan rituals blend
seamlessly with science, “hauntology is a compulsory
subject at school, “and everyone must be in bed by 8:00 PM “because they are perpetually
running a slight fever.” The slogan is “Visit Scarfolk today. “Our number one priority
is keeping rabies at bay. “For more information, please reread.” – I wonder if Welcome to
Nightvale was inspired by this. It kinda reeks of that. – They have very similar things. So the guy who did
Scarfolk, Richard Littler, was interviewed on
Collectors Weekly about it. – Yeah, a very cool interview, and he said that he was inspired because of his childhood in
the 70s and 80s in England. He just was like kind
of a weird kid, I guess. He had these horrific
visions and nightmares. – I love this guy. – Including one he said, “I had one memory of children
playing school sports “on a railway line. “The children entered a dark tunnel, “and they were injured and
killed by speeding trains “while a brass band played.” And he thought this was some horrific made up dream or memory, but it turns out it was true. He actually saw that, it was, you know these public information films The Blood Spills Red on the Highway, and all these scare films that they would make in the 70s and 80s to scare children into not doing things. He watched one in 1977
called The Finishing Line that showed kids being
plowed over by trains. – And it made quite an impression, it actually led to Scarfolk. So very famously he’s done some non-fiction book covers from the 70s, like the Penguin Guides to
Children & Hallucinogens, The Future of Discipline. That’s a good one. – That is a good one. – There’s also one that I love, it’s a page out of a textbook, and it says, “Jenny finds a foot.” And it’s a picture of a
little girl finding a foot, and the guy’s just really good at not just coming up with wacko ideas, but creating things that look so realistic that when they make their
rounds out of context, they make it off of the
Scarfolk blog and into internet, people are like, “What is
this, this couldn’t be real. “Is this real?” and go crazy. And the one that really
kicked it off was Don’t, the Don’t campaign. You have seen that, right? – Yeah, for sure. – It’s so great. – Whatever you do, don’t. – And it never says what you shouldn’t do, it’s just don’t. It’s awesome because it causes panic. – Littler, is that his name? – Yeah. – He mentions his
influences, Monty Python, Terry Gilliam, George Orwell, Ralph Steadman, the great illustrator, and he also mentions the Boards of Canada, the band that you love, and Casey, because he’s nodding. And the Beatles, and he said, “Whose work on 1967 on, I
consider proto-hauntology.” I don’t know. I’m a big Beatles fan. – He’s making up stuff as he goes along, and he’s dropping dimes. – And, of course, the
early Genesis live shows with Peter Gabriel. My father-in-law, he went to one of those. – [Josh] Oh, really? – [Chuck] Yeah, he’s got
a great story about it. – [Josh] I’ll bet. – [Chuck] I’m not gonna
tell it now, though. – I don’t think you should. So Scarfolk, head on over
to Collector’s Weekly, because they’re doing some great work, but also scarfolk.blogspot.com. – Yeah, I’m a big fan of Marwencol. Did you see that documentary? Anything where you’re creating these different surreal worlds. I dunno, it seems kind of cool. – You know, coincidentally, Collectors Weekly recently
had a long article on that guy from Marwencol. – Our friend Joe Garden,
formerly of The Onion, he moved upstate New York, and he bumped into that
guy at a Salvation Army or a Goodwill collecting things, and Joe’s a big collector of things. And it was one of the highlights, he was like, “I can’t
believe I actually met him.” – I’ll bet they hit it off. – They’re birds of a feather. – Sure. – All right, Joe Garden,
if you’re watching, we love you. And that it is for this
week on Internet Roundup, and we will see you next- – At the movies. – Monday. – Okay. (upbeat music)

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