I’ve decided to close this week off with a look back at one of the pieces in the mini-series ‘The £20 challenge’ during which Tim Badger and SWC took their collective lunacy to new heights

It all stemmed from Tim finding a £20 note inside a book he’d bought from a charity shop….and deciding it should be recycled back to various charities by the purchase of CDs, with not more than £2 being spent at any one time and that the results of the various purchases should be shared with the readers of TVV.  This was week four…….and it appeared on 13 May 2016.  There’s a fair bit of conversation in this one…direct quotes from SWC are this colour, from Tim appear like this, while Mrs B (who as usual steals the show) has her words in this colour


Readers of our blog ‘When You Can’t Remember Anything’ will know that SWC and I have spent a week in Newbury for work purposes. We were called late on Saturday night and told to drive there for a 10am briefing on the Sunday Morning. It has been a fairly hectic week, with things not really calming down until Thursday. On the Thursday SWC nipped out to buy this week’s CD from a charity shop, he played it safe choosing an Oxfam store about ten minutes’ walk from where we are working this week.

I’m going to drop the CD surprise early this week, as it becomes relevant to the story below. The CD he chose was ‘Flood’ by They Might Be Giants. It cost £2.50 (SWC blames South East/London Bastard Inflation for ignoring the £2 rule – but we are actually in credit still so I ignore it). Meaning we know have £13.00 in the kitty – its an envelope we haven’t stuffed the money inside a cat or anything.

They Might Be Giants are band I have heard of but never really been into. Weirdly in one of those strange events, SWC and I both saw They Might Be Giants in concert at the same time back in 1994 – at the Reading Festival I was waiting for Echobelly to come on I think – he was probably down the front. I can probably name two of their songs and perhaps hum one or two more.

There is obviously ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul’ but then again I think everyone probably could name that one.

mp3 : They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse in your Soul

Birdhouse in Your Soul is the story of a nighlight that is in the shape of a blue canary and is a wonderful song – telling the story of the nightlight and painting a picture of the room its in – talking about its ancestor the lighthouse. Its brilliantly surreal.

SWC gives me the CD after a night out in Newbury with some of our hosts for the week. – a decent Italian meal followed by several beers in a Wetherspoons pub. Football is the main topic of conversation. I keep quiet that I am a Spurs fan, fearing the derision and laughter at Leicester’s recent success.

SWC is in top form though, telling anyone who will listen that he is a Stranraer fan and regularly travels there from Devon to watch ‘The Blue Brazil’ (he is aware that this actually what they call Cowdenbeath but I don’t think he cares). That’s the thing with SWC sometimes I can’t tell if he is winding people up or being serious. Its 449 miles from his house to Stranraer’s ground – yet people are convinced he makes a 1000 mile round trip there every two weeks

The following morning we are going home and SWC asks to put the new CD on – as he wants to listen to it. He then tells me this: –

“This album was once featured in a Steven Spielburg cartoon series. It features Plucky Duck and Hampton Pig playing along in a music video style cartoon to songs off the album. Plucky and Hampton were the offspring of Daffy and Porky if remember the series correctly, I think the songs chosen were…..”

mp3 : They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)


mp3 : They Might Be Giants – Particle Man

“The second one was about wrestling I think”

I immediately laugh and think he is winding me up and say that its ok, we not in the pub anymore. ‘True Story’ he says. I laugh again. Last night he told me that ciabatta was only invented in 1976. He said this whilst the waiters brought us some ciabattas in the Italian restaurant we were sat at. I think people believed him until he added the ‘In a back room of a dentists just outside Croydon’ bit. Then he laughed. I remind him of this and tell him to stop winding me up. A small argument ensues and for the first time in ages SWC looks generally cross with me.

We listen to the album and I agree with him that it is very good. His mood lightens.

I get home and dump my bags in the lounge and start to sort out my washing, Mrs Badger wanders into the room and see the CD. “Where did you get that?” she say holding it and adding “I used to love this album…”.

I tell her the story of the CD and she says three things: –

“Can I buy SWC the next CD?” – definitely is my answer (he doesn’t know that bit yet).

“I got into They Might Be Giants through Jason, my gay ex boyfriend – they were the first band I ever saw live – well – the second if you count the support band (yes you do, so the first band my wife saw live was indie no hopers Family Gotown, ha ha ha ha ha – sorry where was I). It was at a theatre in London and we went with a chap called Nick, who turned out to be a massive racist and actually stood for election for the BNP. The idiot.”

mp3 : They Might Be Giants – Your Racist Friend

“I once saw an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures which featured two tracks from this album recreated as cartoons, one was about wrestling. It was brilliant.”

“What? I say – meaning the bit about the cartoons, I had been listening. “You mean it was true – SWC told me that in the car and I thought he was winding me up. Then again he also told me that ciabatta was invented in Croydon in 1976, so you can’t blame me.”

“Its definitely true” she says and after a few clicks on here computer I can actually watch the cartoon, its brilliantly mental, totally bonkers. Sorry SWC.

“Oh” she says and you better read this

“Ciabatta is Italian bread invented in 1976 by a baker from Verona in response to the sudden popularity of French baguettes…” ah crap.

The Skinny

Bought – Oxfam Newbury

Price £2.50

Left £13.00

The wife is off on Saturday to buy SWC the next CD. I can barely wait.*

mp3 : They Might Be Giants – Lucky Ball and Chain


* it was a Simon & Garfunkel CD.  Here’s how that story unwound…..


  1. This is one of my favorite pieces of Tim Badger/SWC writing and interaction! It is so very, very memorable! They Might Be Giants and Ciabatta…just fantastic!

  2. Oh, man. When my band toured England in 2017 the highlight was meeting JC, who came down for a show in Manchester. But there were supposed to be two highlights: we were booked to play a gig in Exeter and I was going to meet Badger and SWC! Then the venue burned down and we were re-routed to EuroDisney. I really regret not meeting Tim and Mrs Badger and SWC. I know we all feel that way. Great series, JC, thanks for the memories.

  3. Hi everyone. Thanks for all the kind words over the just week. I know Lorna has been touched by the warmth shown. It would have been Tims 52nd birthday last week and that she has found it really hard. This series will have put a smile on her face. I know it has mine too.
    Thanks JC. It means a lot.

  4. This has been the perfect way to pay tribute, JC.
    And maybe that baker from Verona happened to
    be in Croydon when he created the first Ciabbata.
    Just a thought.

  5. This is a wonderful post Man. I like the sound of Tim. You’ve all got a great way with each other and recognise a fun game when the opportunity arises. And Flood is a fantastic record.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.