Monthly Archives: December 2014

Property damage costs in Paddington

Paddington is a really great film. It’s got something for everyone, not just kids. And Ben Whishaw (aka Me), brings loads to the role. Basically, go and see it.

But one thing struck me about the film. It’s very much a fun family comedy. Paddington gets into lots of misadventures, but a much stronger emphasis on slapstick than in classic Paddington. He gets in so much trouble, that I found it almost jarring.

RIP the inner child in me, as I sat in the cinema thinking “who’s going to pay to clear all that up, eh?” Perhaps the filmmakers were aware of this to an extent, as the characterisation of Mr Brown as a ‘risk analyst’ sets up a juxtaposition to Paddington’s chaos that forms the thematic core of the movie.

I wondered, is it possible to put an actual value on the amount of damage that Paddington causes? It’s worth a go at least.

Oh, and [SPOILER WARNING] I guess???

Here are the rules:

  • Any damage directly caused by Paddington on screen is counted.
  • As is any damage that can be inferred from what the other characters say.
  • Damage caused by non-characters is not considered (ie. the earthquake at the beginning)
  • Damage caused by other characters is not considered (eg. Mr Brown causing damage to the exterior of the Natural History Museum whilst scaling it)

For the most part of the beginning of the movie, there isn’t much damage that we can count. Paddington’s journey from Peru to London mostly involves sitting in a lifeboat eating marmalade. The discarded jars can’t really be construed as property damage, and would fall under some littering offence instead most likely. Moving on then.

There isn’t really anything to speak of until Paddington arrives at the Bond house. The famous bathroom scene is the first major set-piece where major damage occurs. Here’s a rundown:

  • 2 x toothbrushes ruined by Paddington inserting them into his ears (Average non-electric toothbrush price: 99p).
  • Shower hose. Ruined by Paddington tying it in a knot to stop the water flow. Average price: £8.
  • Antique traditional-style toilet. It appears to be an old one, so extra value should be added for that. £150.
  • Bathtub. Paddington literally rides it down the whole staircase. That’s got to need replacing. £200.
  • Flood damage repair to the bathroom. Taking into account labour and supplies, I’d place this around £1000, given the need to likely replace the floor, doors and walls.
  • Brown family toiletries. Judy explicitly says her beauty products are ruined, so we can assume the same for the whole family. Worth around £20 in total.
  • SUBTOTAL: 1,379.98

But wait, Richard, you’re probably thinking, doesn’t Mr Brown’s insurance cover accidental property damage? Well, it’s hard to say. We see Mr Brown attempting to temporarily add Paddington to his home insurance during the bathroom scene. But given that the damage is already happening, I’d say it’s highly unlikely he’s going to see a payout. You can’t call up for fire insurance while your home is burning down, after all. And the fact Mr Brown is trying to add Paddington at all suggests he’s not covered under their main policy (and as a risk analyst, he surely knows best!). So no it doesn’t.

Also, property damage is still property damage even if the insurance pays out. Someone is still paying for it.

Next up, Paddington and co. head to Portobello Rd. market to get his hat appraised. During this section, Paddington apprehends a pickpocket. But along the way he gets into some misadventures. Here’s the costs:

  • Skateboard. Paddington borrows this from a child and isn’t seen to give it back, so we can assume it’s lost/destroyed. £30.
  • Gift stand. Paddington smashes into a stand (ending up with a police hat and umbrella in the process). It’s hard to put a value on this, but let’s be relatively conservative and say £100.
  • Aerials. Paddington smacks into about four of these whilst flying about the rooftops. At about £20 each, let’s call that £80.
  • SUBTOTAL: £210

After this they head to the guild of explorers. This is a tricky one because the main property damage is to the central pneumatic tube system. Looking online, I’ve found a 1 tube, 2 station system for around £5000. The system in the movie is much more complex than that, featuring potentially hundreds of stations and dozens of tubes. So for this one we have to basically pluck a high number out of the air.

  • Pneumatic tube system. Clogged up by a sandwich and burst. £100,000.
  • Damage to historical archives. Again, hard to be exact. But let’s call it £1000.
  • SUBTOTAL: £101,000

Back in the Brown home, Paddington gets into some trouble when the villainous Millicent breaks in and attempts to kidnap Paddington. This is again a grey area, as the damage is partly caused by Millicent, though Paddington himself is at least partially responsible for much of it. There’s one major cost though.

  • Hob oven. Exploded after Paddington leaves the gas on and sets off the pilot light (actually quite a violent sequence in retrospect). £300.
  • Assumed property damage to the kitchen caused by gas explosion (parts + labour). £100.
  • SUBTOTAL: £400

The final sequence revolves around Paddington’s capture and escape from Millicent in and around the Natural History Museum. Most of the damage here is caused by other characters, and there’s potential damage to the exhibits – such as when Paddington slides down the Diplodocus in the main lobby. But this appears to be only cosmetic damage at best. We’re also not counting the damage to the museum’s infrastructure caused by Jonathan’s DIY dynamite explosion (somewhat inappropriate for a kid’s movie, I thought).

  • Two handheld vacuum cleaners, used during the incinerator escape scene. £20 each.
  • SUBTOTAL: £40

And there we have it! There’s presumably plenty more damage along the way, and I don’t actually have a copy on me to check so this is all relying on memory. Given that, along with some of our frankly arbitrary estimates, we get a grand total of….


Assuming this all comes of the Brown family pocket, that’s a pretty hefty amount. Plus Mr Brown could be considered criminally liable for much of that, especially given his breaking and entering during the explorer’s guild scene.

I actually thought it’d be more though.

Well, at least Paddington didn’t actually kill anyone. In real life, a stray bear in London would have likely killed/injured many many people.

Get the cookywook look! [XMAS SPECIAL MK.2]

So I know I ALREADY DID a Christmas edition of ‘get the cookywook look!
(missed it? check it out here dummy ;P)
but since Christmas Day is such a fashion haul, I simply HAD to do another.

So without further a-doh, let’s bring on the

FASHION !!!!!!!!!!*****€€

Yeah, fashion with ten exclamation marks, five christmassy stars, and two EURO signs.

Why the Euro signs? Well, they’re the closest I can find to….

2014-12-25 12.24.29


I know right.
Someone better write to the head of fashion and let them know it’s pretty much over at this point. Because I think I just WON FASHION FOREVER.

People have said I’m a ‘snappy dresser’ before but I now I literally have the claws to prove it. They’re just the greatest.

Well, they pretty much suck at holding things, picking things up, turning things, using my phone, pressing buttons, or opening things – BUT they’re lobster hands. And that outweighs all other practical considerations.

(And since when has fashion been about being useful anyway, EH???)

Besides, they work just fine for this…

2014-12-25 12.35.44-1

Yeah that’s right! Drinking prosecco from a wine glass because you are a CLASSY GUY WITH LOBSTER CLAWS FOR HANDS.
(Think about it. You can’t spell “class” without c-l-a-w-s!!!!!! Tee hee)

Also lobster is totally what rich people eat all day.
I’m yet to eat lobster WHILE wearing my lobster hands, but when I do I’ll have officially reached PEAK EXCELLENCE.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about youuuuu <3<3<3

How to get the cookywook look:

GIANT LOBSTER CLAWS: Firebox (£24.99)
JUMPER: Xmas Present
JEANS: Topman (£30)

HAIR: Boots – Black and White Pluko Hair Dressing Pomade (£4.65)

Thanks for reading! I hope you had a great Christmas and Santa CLAWS (omg!) brought you everything you wanted.



Get the cookywook look! [XMAS SPECIAL]

Hello fashionistas! (And fashionMISTAS!)

That’s right, I’m back! With even more….

FASHION !!!!!!!!!!*****

Yes, fashion with ten exclamation marks and five Christmassy stars!

The last blog was supposed to be a one-off really. But I just couldn’t help myself. I know, I’m just SO random!!!

So LET’S GET TO IT :{p (that’s a smiley with a moustache, btw!)

Richard, what are you wearing this Christmas?

Wow, thanks for asking! Again! Aren’t you just a darling?

Well, it just so happened to be my work Christmas party this week. And being a dedicated follower of fashion I obviously had to go all out. Here’s the outfit I settled on:

2014-12-11 15.28.33


The theme of the party was burlesque, and the dress code was stated as “as decadent & debauched as you dare.” So what choice did I have but to go for a classic red velvet blazer and buttoned up top look? That’s right, none!

Most people just opted for suits and ties, of course. YAWN! :O
It doesn’t hurt to be original, people. (‘Fashion original’, not ‘Islamic State original’, of course!)

But I know what you all really wanna see.

Time for my close-up…

2014-12-11 15.28.42


Yeah, I grew my beard out a little for the sophisticated stubble look.
And the shirt’s got spots on it. Just to add some character 🙂

I got my HAIR cut a few days before at Peppy’s barbers on East Road. They did a great job of thinning the top out without losing much of the length. Swept over to the side, I think it came out PERFECT.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take any other photos. So you can’t see my trousers, socks, or shoes. But they looked GLAM AS HELL I assure you.

To the important bit, then…

How to get the cookywook look:

SHIRT: H&M (£9.99)

HAIR: Boots – Black and White Pluko Hair Dressing Pomade (£4.65)

Thanks for reading. Who knows, maybe I’ll do EVEN MORE of these next year :{o



The State of Twitter Comedy

I love Twitter. It’s great for comedy.

There are so many good comedians on Twitter you can, and should, be following. Here’s a quick pick:

@serafinowicz – great thoughts and jokes from Peter Serafinowicz
@ryanqnorth – just one of the funniest people on the internet in general
@meganamram – surreal funny stuff
@robdelaney – pretty much the king of twitter
@joejwest – Jack’s mate. Funny.
@AstonishingSod – worth mentioning if only for the extreme number of Twitter accounts they have (a chap after my own heart)
@fart – just “weird twitter” stuff
@millsandboom – possibly the one person who Twitter who shares my exact thoughts on everything. Some days I almost RT every tweet.

And loads more of course. What’s common to all of these is that they do JOKES. All sorts of different jokes, but things that are recognisable as jokes. Puns, observations, funny signs, surreal nonsense – all things that are funny with words or pictures.

What I can’t stand though, is bad Twitter comedy. And sadly there’s loads of it.

You may or might not know about my @jokeisntfunny Twitter account. It’s an online “anticomedian’ persona where I pretend to not get jokes that aren’t funny, and also point out jokes that have been overdone.

I got the idea when I saw some tweets from Adam Bloom bemoaning the state of standup, and how some subjects have just been done to death. I’d noticed the same thing on Twitter, and thought something had to be done.

I’ve been only marginally successful I think. At most I’ve maybe managed to annoy a few comedians, coming across as some attempt at trolling (which of course it is) rather than changing the state of Twitter comedy for the better. So I’d like to have a go at better articulating what I don’t like on Twitter. And what better way to do that than with some case studies?

Case Study 1: David Schneider

David Schneider is a comic actor I actually quite like. I love him in Alan Partridge and The Day Today, and all that. The problem is I just really don’t like his Twitter. And it took me a while to figure out why. But I’ve boiled it down to at least some of the following:

  • Constantly doing political ‘satire’ that’s being done so much better elsewhere.
  • Relying heavily on photoshopped images.
  • The jokes basically all being the same.

The jokes are frequently such-and-such has been leaked from [some political thing] and it’s supposed to be really funny. Like in the above example, which is supposedly a government memo.

Obviously we all know it’s not a real government memo. It doesn’t even look like one. So why did DS go to the effort of trying to make it look like one? Or when even make a joke at all?

Cameron’s repeated emphasis on the raised terror threat is an obvious attempt to shift attention away from UKIP defections could actually be quite an insightful comment. Making it into a joke is pointless, especially when much of the surrounding padding is so weak: I mean, twerking? Really?

So yeah, it’s lazy and not that funny. But it’s insanely popular. The above tweet got 1.1k RTs, and 417 Favs. I’m not suggesting that RTs/Favs are any indication of success, but they do indicate popularity. And Schneider’s 194k followers speak volumes.

Oh and by the way, David Schneider also offered a £99-a-ticket seminar on how to be successful on Twitter. Read about it here. Pity those who actually paid up and went.

Case Study 2: The Poke

The Poke is just a bad thing. And it should feel bad.

Every single one of their posts is either a video or a photo. There are literally no actual jokes coming from @ThePoke. It’s mostly just links to their own site or images. Plus they repost A LOT.

Worse still, it’s not even their own content. The above sloth post for instance, was originally crafted by @death_stairs. They credit him on the actual site, but not in the tweet (where it matters).

And posting without attribution is a pretty serious issue. It’s particularly bad for cartoonists, who’ll often find their work with their name missing (in some cases even deliberately cropped out). Passing off someone else’s work as your own isn’t just lazy, it’s pretty shady and not funny.

I also don’t like The Poke because of the emphasis on photo/video. Great jokes can be told just through words. I know people HATE reading. But some written jokes can actually make you laugh at loud. Here are some I’ve LOLed at, in real life:

Funny stuff, right? And ORIGINAL too.

The Poke currently has 175k followers.

IN CONCLUSION, there wasn’t really a direct point to this rant. But what I’m trying to articulate through the above two case studies is that there’s an unfortunate tendency on Twitter for lazy, derivative jokes to go viral. While actual quality comedy goes under the radar, loved only by a ‘weird twitter’ crowd.

And mostly I’m just annoyed that my own great tweets don’t get the respect they deserve probably.

Follow me on Twitter here: @richardcook2

Or @jokeisntfunny for more of the above spite.