Series G, Episode 13 - Gothic
The panel are dressed in black and the set is decorated with grotesques, bats, black cloth and candles.
- The panel are shown a weird looking statue and are asked what they should call it. It is a "grotesque". The difference between a grotesque and a gargoyle is that gargoyles are used to drain water, whereas grotesques are purely artistic. The word "gargoyle" comes from the French "gargouille", meaning "throat", from which we also get the word "gargle". (Forfeit: Gargoyle)
- The thing that is Gothic about the Goths is that they helped to destroy the Roman Empire. They were a Scandinavian tribe who also defeated another tribe called the Vandals. Other Gothic things include architecture, which is any kind of architecture which is not done in the classical style. The word was used in Renaissance Italy as an insult to describe any architecture that was not done in the classic style, because the Goths were people who destroyed much of the Roman Empire and thus civilization. There is also Gothic literature, which involves the macabre. Then there is Carpenter Gothic which is a type of design for a house in the USA, most famously recognised in the painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood. The building that was painted is in Eldon, Iowa. Then there are the young people who wear black known as "Goths".
- The panel are show the painting of the Sunflowers and are asked who painted it. It was painted by Vincent van Gogh, but his surname is actually pronounced "van Hoch". The answer is given to them by Arthur Japin, novelist and the host of the Dutch version of QI, who is also in the audience. The resident panellist in the Dutch version is called Thomas van Luyn. (Forfeit: van Goff; van Goth; van Go)
- Supposing if Alan was a zombie, who in turn bites Jimmy, who in turn bites Jack, who in turn bites Sue, who in turn bites someone else and so on, at this rate it would take 38 days for the entire world to turn into zombies. This is an example of a geometric progression.
- The panel are shown a picture of some people holding a large, painted wooden fish and are asked where it is going. The answer is that it will either be a graveyard or a crematorium because it is a coffin. In Accra, the capital of Ghana, a trend began in the 1950s and has been continuing ever since for the dead to be buried in unusual coffins. They can cost up to $400 which is about a year's wages in Ghana.
- XL: The panel are shown a gravestone which is a pillar cut in half and what it signifies. It means a life cut short. Other symbols given on graves include broke chains, which means a loss in the family, or an apple, meaning sin.
- One way to make sure that your family never forgets you after you have died is to have yourself stuffed. Probably the most extreme example is Hananuma Masakichi, a Japanese artist who in the mid 1880s was diagnosed with tuberculosis and knew he was going to die. He made a statue of himself so life-like that it was hard to tell if it was human or not. He made hand-crafted glass eyes and then he bored tiny individual holes into the statue for every pour of his body. Then he took the hairs from every pour in his body and put them in the statue's pours. He pulled out his own fingernails, toenails and teeth as well, putting them on the statue. The statue then became part of Robert Ripley's Odditorium in Los Angeles, then was damaged in an earthquake in 1996 and is currently waiting to restored.
- XL: The vampire squid from Hell, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, is a deep-sea squid which has the biggest eyes of any animal in the world in relation to its head. If a human had eyes the same size in proportion to it they would be a foot wide. Unlike most squid that use ink as a defence, they use bioluminescence which they fire, dazzle their foe, and then flee.
- XL: The toughest way to become a mummy is to do it to your self and start while you are alive. Sokushinbutsu was a practice performed by Japanese Buddhists which was a form of self-mummification. For 1,000 days the person ates nothing except nuts and seeds while also doing vigorous exercise. For another 1,000 days the person would eat just bark and roots. Then they would drink a poisonous tea made from the sap of the urushi tree which would caused them to vomit. Then they would lock the person up in a tiny stone tomb with an air tube and a bell. The person would sit in the lotus position and every day would ring the bell to show that they were still alive. Once the bell stopped ringing, people outside would know the person was dead. The tube was removed, the tomb sealed, and then another 1,000 days past before the tomb was opened to see if the body had preserved. If it did, then it showed the person was a truly enlightened Buddha. This practice was declared illegal in the 19th century.
- In the 1960s, two-thirds of Americans who had accidentally lost a limb all lived in one town in Florida. The reason for this was that the locals were trying to claim money on insurance. All of the claimants were men. More than 50 occurrences in a town with a population of around 500 happened, most of which were limbs shot of with hunting rifles. Claims made including accidents while hunting. The insurance companies noticed people always shot of the limb they needed least like the hand they did not write with.
- XL: The panel are shown a bleep from an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine and are asked what it means. The bleep means that your heart is beating.
- XL: The panel are then shown the same machine but with nothing coming out and a long tone, known as flat-lining. It means that there is a fault with the machine like a wire coming loose. The idea that when the line goes flat it means you are dead is nonsense, mainly made popular because it appears in so many films. Similarly, fibrillation machines do not restart a heart that has stopped. It is to help with arrhythmia. (Forfeit: You're dead)
- After the Vietnam War, someone we know the identity of was buried in the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A family learned that the Unknown Soldier died in a helicopter crash, like their relative had done, so in the 1990s DNA testing was done and it was indeed their relative. As a result, the Unknown Solider is known. The body was removed from the tomb which is currently empty. Unknown Soldier tombs are increasingly unlikely because all British and American soldiers are DNA-profiled. (Forfeit: Nobody knows)
- The saying, "Saved by the bell" comes from boxing. It is a myth it comes from people being buried alive and ringing a bell from their coffin to let people know someone was buried underneath. (Forfeit: Buried alive)
- Mozart was not given a pauper's burial. His funeral actually was rather expensive, costing 8 guilders and 56 kreuzer. During his lifetime, Mozart had a pet starling that died in 1784. The whistling inspired the last movement of Mozart's piano concerto K453.
For correction information, see QI Qibble Blog.
- Friday 19th February 2010
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|James Harkin||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Katie Taylor||Executive Producer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|