The Full English Exposé teaches you more about the English speaking world, so you can be confident you know what you are doing, and you don’t do or say the wrong thing, and don’t get egg on your face.
This edition of the podcast we’re helping make sure you don’t get egg on your face, with the Full English Exposé, all about Silly Season.
If you follow UK news, or read the UK papers, you might have noticed that things got a little strange in August. There was less political reporting, the quality of the articles went downhill, and there were more weird and wonderful stories than usual.
Why? Because Parliament was on holiday. September is when our MPs take their breaks, so there’s a lot less news about, especially for the more serious papers. Hardly any laws get passed, there aren’t many votes or debates or press releases, and there’s no Prime-Minister’s Questions.
But, people still want news, and companies still want to sell newspapers and advertising space. So, what we get, is “silly season”, and we’ve had it for a long time, the term was used as far back as 1861.
Why is it called “silly season”? Because so many of the stories are just plain silly and would usually be ignored. We get lots of stories about animals: livestock running away from abattoirs, pets escaping or having strange operations, getting drunk or getting stuck in strange places. Enormous or oddly-shaped vegetables make the news too. There’s a lot about the weather, especially if it’s close to breaking records for the hottest or wettest summer. Any record-breaking attempt will feature, however ridiculous. There are stories about local heroes, and celebrity rumours, even in the more serious papers. The less serious papers descend to stories of people spotting celebrities out and about, and even their likenesses, like when an image of Michael Jackson appeared on a piece of toast. Sightings of UFOs, ghosts and monsters are also reported. There are always shark sightings (we don’t get too many big sharks around the UK), and plenty of strange scientific studies and unimportant polls and surveys.
Where do they get all this odd news from? Local papers are a good source of stories that usually wouldn’t be interesting on a national level. Other stories are saved up throughout the year, specially, to be release when there is no real news. Some of the news is just made up. There may not even be that many more silly stories being reported to the papers than usual, just that usually they wouldn’t get published.
This year UK papers ran their fair share of unimportant stories. Police were called in Germany to rescue a man who had been attacked by a baby squirrel. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver made the news for making a version of ‘jerk rice’ which wasn’t very traditional. Dangerous jellyfish invaded UK beaches. A snake was spotted eating a pigeon in Leyton. A television audience was not convinced by someone claiming the moon landings were faked. And the summer of 2018 was the hottest ever recorded in the UK.
Luckily, for people who like more serious news, silly season doesn’t last very long. In September the politicians are back from their holidays and the Courts are back to work and the silly stories are taken off the front pages as the newspapers get back to reporting something a bit more, well, newsworthy.