Friday, October 30, 2009


Before I answer that question let me introduce Mitchell Symons. Back in the days when “If It’s In The Press, It’s Got To Be True!” was a live show at the Global Café in London’s Soho there was also a very successful website of the same name.

One of the features of the website was our “Columnist of the Week” and “Columnist of the Year”. The “If It’s In The Press” team selected their favourite piece written by a columnist each week and the writer who had the most over the year received the acclaimed accolade – well acclaimed by us anyway.

Mitch started a column with the Daily Express and I think was our “Columnist of the Week” on his first outing. He ran away with the annual award that year and almost repeated the feat the following year but was pipped at the post by Carol Sarler.

However there are far more strings to his bow and he was a principal writer of the board game Trivial Pursuit and over the years has published a string of highly successful trivia books. Christ Tarrant, who knows a thing or two about trivia said: “Mitch knows more totally useless things about useless subjects than anyone else on earth.”

Recently my son stated some fact about a well known star having Red Indian blood which I duly rubbished. However I was immediately crushed when he said the immortal words: “Mitchell Symons said it was true in one of his books.” End of argument!

Over the years Mitch has published amongst many titles a series of books – How to Avoid a Wombat’s Bum, Why Eating Bogeys Is Good for you, How Much Poo Does an Elephant Do? And Why Do Farts Smell Like Rotten Eggs? Hence Why Does Ear Wax Taste So Gross? follows a well trodden path.

So why the title? Mitch said: “I don’t think ear wax tastes so gross – well, mine doesn’t anyway. But my wonderful editor (who came up with the title) thinks ear wax definitely has the ‘yuck’ factor, especially when left for as long as a month before being picked!”

Now this series of Mitch’s books are published by Doubleday –Random House Children’s Books. Certainly they are ideal for kids but I suspect most adults would also find them a fascinating read. For instance did you know the swan has the most feathers of any bird? That Lindsay Lohan keeps her appendix in a jar in her bedroom or there are more pyramids in Peru than in Egypt? I suspect not!

Mitch has kindly sent me a copy of the book to offer as a prize. To get in to the draw simply answer this question – according to Mitch – In 1938 Phyllis Newcombe, 22,combusted spontaneously at a dance hall during – a) a waltz; b) fox trot or c) quick step.

Send your answer by email to: by Friday December 4 2009 and the first correct entry will be the winner. The winner will be posted that day on:

(Why Does Earwax Taste So Gross? By Mitchell Symons. Doubleday – Random House ISBN 9780385615709)

1 comment:

Graham said...

I have read a couple of his early trivia books - This Book, That Book etc - they are brilliant!