I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clute

ROBERT ROBINSON: And welcome to this week's edition of Call My Bluff, where our panellists try to divine the meanings of a wide range of obscure fanzine titles. First today, we have Saliromania.

Saliromania Cover

TEDDY: Oh, of course I'm familiar with saliromania, which is the practice of destroying ladies' underwear for sexual pleasure. Seems an awful waste, though.

MIKE SIDDALL: Nonsense, Teddy. Saliromania is from the Latin salinus, and is the practice of gaining sexual pleasure from precious bodily fluids such as blood, sweat and tears. (FX: hastily stuffs his hanky back into his pocket).

DR. PLOKTA: Do you have a hole in that pocket, Mike? As an expert on acronyms, I can tell you that you're both wrong. SALIROMANIA is in fact a commonly used acronym on soc.psychopathy.leeds, and stands for Scraping A Living in Remote Outpost, Michael Ashley's Neuroses Imitate Art.

ROBERT ROBINSON: Well, well. Which is it? As usual, answers will appear at the end of the programme. On to our next fanzine, which is Mimosa. Panellists:

Mimosa Cover

JOAN PATERSON: A mimosa is a term for a particular sort of psychiatric patient; in this case one who has a pathological attraction to outdated forms of reproduction, in particular mimeo.

JUDITH HANNA: I'm afraid that's just silly, Joan. As a gardening Australian, I'm particularly well-equipped to define this one. Mimosa is the genus of a number of leguminous plants, including mimosa pudica, the Sensitive Plant. It is also used more generally for acacias, especially the Australian Wattle-tree.

MICHAEL ABBOTT: In fact, you're both barking up the wrong wattle-tree here. Mimosa, or to give it its proper name, Mimosa, is the main trading port of my native country, Wingdingy, known in English as Wingdingia. Wingdingians always talks in the present tense, and have a saying "A man who is tired of Mimosa is tired of poorly remembered and rather dull anecdotes."

ROBERT ROBINSON: So, is it a plant, a patient, or a port? Answers on a postcard. The next title is Warhoon.

Warhoon Cover

TOBES: Ah, Warhoon. A word to conjure with. In Ireland they have shebeens, where you can pick up a drop of the local poteen, but to get the best underground Jersey calvados, made from the native apple, er, potato, er, lighter fluid, er, whatever I can get, you would have to seek out a warhoon. I have some calvados here-would anybody like some? (FX: hands round hipflask)


ROGER ROBINSON (no relation): I wouldn't believe that, no matter how much of Tobes' calvados I drank. When I hear the word Warhoon, I get a sense of Déjà vu, or should I say, Dejah Thoris. Warhoon is a city of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars, well known for its Hordes.

PHIL NANSON: Actually, you're both wrong. Warhoon was the evil cousin of Elric of Melnibon*, who betrayed him to take over the Dragon Throne.

ROBERT ROBINSON: And wielder of the dread sword Mournblade, if I recall correctly. How about Twink.

Twink Cover

KENNETH BELL: (FX: Reads from pink card) I'm not sure I understand what this means, but it says on this card that Twink is gay slang for cute brainless gay jailbait. What does that mean, Auntie Sue?

SUE MASON: (FX: hastily stops sketching) I haven't the faintest, dear. But in any event, a twink is really a clueless newbie, and is Internet slang. Not that I'm any more familiar with the Internet than you would be with a wide range of exciting...

REVEREND SPOONER (boffing his queer) that's butter ollocks, Sue. Frohvet themselves explain that the title of the fanzine comes from the rhyme "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

ROBERT ROBINSON: Or is it, perchance, all of the above? On to our next word, Opuntia:

Opuntia Cover

BRIAN AMERINGEN: I'm glad you asked me this one, Robert. Opuntia, originally "oh-pun-tear" is the drop of liquid that is expelled from the lachrymal ducts in response to a particularly painful example of paranomasia.

CHRISTINA LAKE & LILIAN EDWARDS: No, that can't be right, Brian, or you'd have put it on a t-shirt. In actual fact, an opuntia is a prickly pear.

SEAMAN DOP: Bollocks! I've known for many years that "Opuntia" is the practice of drilling holes in cacti for sexual satisfaction. The desert people have a slogan: "A woman for duty, a boy for pleasure, and an opuntia for breakfast ecstacy" (FX: shifts uncomfortably in his seat)

ROBERT ROBINSON: Would you like to borrow my tweezers, Dop? Meanwhile, I wonder if the panellists would like to ponder the true meaning of Skosh?

Skosh Cover

SUE MASON (again): No, Kenneth, I'll explain to you later. Skosh is American slang meaning "a bit of stuff", and comes from the Japanese 'sukoshi'.

STEVEN CAIN (juggling four skosh balls and a baby): Chotto matte kudasai, Sue. It does come from the Japanese sukoshi, but is now a juggling term, for a rubber juggling ball with thousands of tiny protuberances. These were originally used by geishas to provide sexual satisfaction.

ANDREW ADAMS: No, no, I'm a juggler and I know that's rubbish. Skosh is one of the few mainstream Babylon 5 fanzines, and is a reference to the enigmatic ambassador Skosh.

ROBERT ROBINSON (in rubber environment suit): One perfect moment of fandom. The owls are not what they seem. The Jezail.

The Jezail Cover

JAINE WEDDELL (juttingly): "Jezail" is an old Hebrew word for trollop, used particularly for women from Jezreel. The most famous example of a Jezail is the alliterative Jezebel. So Andy is talking about a loose woman.

HUGH MASCETTI (explosively): That's a lovely dress you're not quite wearing, Jaine. But you're quite wrong about Andy Hooper, who is in fact a loose cannon. More precisely, a flintlock or musket used by Afghans. (FX: Woof! Woof! Bang!)

ZEV SERO (unorthodoxly): Well, you're right to set it in the Middle East, Hugh, but you should know that it has nothing to do with Hebrew, Jaine. It is in fact the Muslim second morning call to prayer, and is widely considered to be idolatry, particularly when practised in a handicapped parking space.

ROBERT ROBINSON: And there we have it, and Jezail is the last word for this week. But I bet you're all agog to find out the correct answers, and here they are. [Ed: Here, our transcript fades out, at the point where the original audio tape appears to have been eaten by a baby.]

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