A few years back, there was a massive flood in our street in Hampstead.
Everything was under several feet of water.
There’s a really nice gay couple next door, and they were telling me their whole library was ruined.
They said they had it themed on ‘The Titanic’.
They did it because of the bit where Leonardo di Caprio holds Kate Winslett over the bow of the ship.
Where Celine Dion sings, “I Will Always Love You”.
That was their song.
So they’d bought lots of Titanic artefacts.
Things that had been recovered from the actual wreck.
They had them on display in their library, but the flood had ruined them.
So they were going to claim on their insurance.
It made perfect sense to them.
But I think, if I was insurance company’s loss-adjustor I might have seen it differently.
“Let’s see if I’ve got this right:
These items have been laying 7 miles down under the Atlantic Ocean for ninety years, and you reckon an unusually heavy rainfall in Hampstead ruined them?”
But, although that may not make sense to everyone, it made perfect sense to them.
Things sometimes make sense in one person’s world that don’t make sense in someone else’s.
The TV censorship authority is called Clearcast, it used to be the BACC.
We wanted to run a TV campaign for Holsten Export.
We had the comedian Neil Innes in different locations.
In one particular commercial he was playing the piano on the moon.
Around him were lots of cans of his favourite beer, Holsten Export.
The BACC said they had a problem with that.
We asked what the problem was.
They said, “You’re showing too many cans of Holsten Export. That could imply excessive drinking.”
So we asked how many cans of Holsten Export we could show.
They said, “That depends, does he have a fridge?”
Well, we said, he could have a fridge on the moon if it would help.
They said, “Well if he had a fridge he could conceivably be getting his week’s supply of Holsten Export ready to chill in the fridge.”
We asked how many cans that would be.
They said, “Well it’s okay to suggest drinking two cans a day, so two times seven is fourteen.”
We said okay, we’d have fourteen cans on display and several huge crates.
They said, “Ah.”
We said, are the massive crates a problem?
They said, “Massive crates of beer could suggest excessive drinking.”
We said he’d come all the way from the earth to the moon.
He’d have to bring a large supply of his favourite beer with him.
They said, “If you had ‘One Year’s Supply of Holsten Export’ clearly stencilled on the side of each crate. That would show it’s got to last a long time.”
So that’s what we did, and that’s how I ran.
I don’t think anyone but the BACC ever noticed it was there.
You’d need to freeze-frame the picture to see it.
But it made perfect sense to them.
Another time Dave Waters and Paul Grubb did a campaign for The Daily Mirror.
It featured news footage of famous people falling over, or pulling funny faces.
Dave and Paul wanted to superimpose a copy of the Mirror hitting them immediately beforehand.
So it looked like they were reacting to getting whacked.
We had lots of funny footage of famous people.
One particular clip was Frank Bruno, the boxer, getting his OBE at Buckingham Palace.
As he held up his award for the cameras, his top hat fell off.
We thought we could add a copy of The Mirror to make it look like it was knocking his hat off.
But the BACC had a problem.
They thought that Frank Bruno wearing a top hat looked too much like Baron Samedi.
One of the main deities of the Haitian voodoo cult.
And knocking off his top hat could cause offence on religious grounds.
Now in that situation, your immediate response is to say, “You’re joking, right?”
But if you say that, your commercial won’t be allowed to run on TV.
So you say, “Hmmmm, I see your point.”
And you take the scene out.
Because, whatever we think, it makes perfect sense to them.