With his reputation in tatters, his career all but over, and his fürstlich acquaintances abandoning him at an alarming rate, everyone’s erstwhile favourite blue-blooded populariser of Dublin’s fine arts, Byron Chaffinch Frump, clings obstinately to the one final thing he can be sure of:
Eleven foot lizardmen from the Bacchanalian dimension are among us and threatening everything we hold dear.
If you’re not familiar with Professor Frump, this might not make a lot of sense to you. That’s alright. I’ve got you covered. Byron Frump is a man of good breeding, science, the arts and malapropisms, but if you were to know him, it would be as the presenter of The Invisible Tour Guide, a weekly podcast written by Gareth Stack.
Frump’s voice, loaded onto a suitable mp3-playing device, guides listeners through Ireland’s most noted sites – The National Gallery, Trinity College, The National Museum so far – providing expertise and singular commentary on the treasures to be found within. It’s not strictly necessary to actually GO to these places to derive full enjoyment from the Guide, however. Nor is it particularly necessary to care about the arts. Frump’s guidance, delivered in the most outrageously Oxbridge-camp accent imaginable, sticks only loosely to the facts.
Thus, while the podcast WILL synchronise with your walk around these sites, you will learn some things that no ordinary guide-book could possibly tell you. For example, the Old Library in Trinity contains “two copies of every book written, two copies of every book yet to be written… and one copy of every book never to be written”. Frump’s commentaries, pseudo-insights and downright falsifications are surreal to say the least. If you have a space in your life for some earnestly created, free, (dare I say it) high brow comedy, download the episodes of the Tour Guide created thus far, and immerse yourself in a world about ten times as bizarre and a hundred times funnier than the current self-loathing recession-stricken one we inhabit.
HOWEVER If you think you’re ready for it… if you’re confident enough in yourself… if you think you can handle the world’s weirdest radio play ever made… There is a Behind The Tour Guide documentary.
- in which Professor Frump presents a paper to the Royal Society on the menace of lizardmen.
- in which the good name of Italian is sullied.
- in which the young Antonio Frumpling grapples with his sense of self-worth.
- in which Rapunzel Frumpess is taken in mercilessly by a cruel deceiver.
- in which a scally and an American upset the way of the countryside.
- in which…
Just listen to it. I can’t express how weird this whole thing is, and I probably haven’t given a good idea of what it’s actually like, but you’ll need to listen to understand. Gareth Stack, neé Analogue, Pirahna, etc, wrote, produced and voiced the thing, with (I think) cameos from a Claire Hennessy and (perhaps) a Mark Hughes?
Here’s the dramatis personae:
Byron Frump, renowned expert, as himself.
Announcer, Cloff ‘Leather Britches’ Chuffbunting.
Dr Grayskin, Grand Inquisitor of the Royal Society, as himself.
Periwinkle Trebuchet, dean of St Martins College, as himself.
Member of Muggles Against Frump, as himself.
Terry, Byron’s Manservant, as himself.
Chip Brewster, American Ladies unmentionables millionaire, as himself.
Rapunzel ‘Punzie’ Frumpess, Byron’s sister, as herself.
Antonio Frumpling, Byron’s Nephew, as himself.
Tolly Cleft, Byron’s School Friend, as himself.
Chav, as himself.
Lord and Lady WhinnyPidgeon, as themselves.
Venora Draperage, an artist, as herself.
Vice Corporal Lance Ducks, as himself.
Flashman, a bully, as himself.
Alisdair Hennigan ‘Pimpleface’ Pimpernickle, a boy, as himself.
Cresanthamum ‘Crissy’ Frumpette, as herself.
Hard Bob, a hoodlum, as himself.
Wicked Tim, another hoodlum, as himself.
Queen’s Courtier, as himself.
Queen Caroline, as ourself.
Amelia Sledgehammer, yet another hoodlum, as herself.
And the link again, so you don’t have to scroll up.