Cello Scrotum and Radium Water: Citation Needed 4×03


This is the Technical Difficulties, we’re playing Citation Needed. Joining me today, he reads books you know, it’s Chris Joel. Hello. Everyb… I was expecting that to be longer. [LAUGHTER] Everybody’s favourite Gary Brannan, Gary Brannan. Three speeds and only one of them reverse. The bounciest man on the Internet, Matt Gray Willkommen YouTube! In front of me I have an article from Wikipedia and these folks can’t see it. Every fact they get right is a a point and a ding [DING]. And there’s a prize for particularly good answers which is… And today we are talking about… cello scrotum. Is it something to do with banjo strings? Oh. Ohh. Sorry, it took a minute. — I’m gonna go for this.
— Oh! Okay. Is it a condition that cellists suffer, because of the position they must place themselves in, when playing the cello? And therefore the vibrations cause some kind of of painful rash? — No!
— Waaaargh! Is it when you’ve got two F shaped cutouts in your nuts, for better acoustics? Er, no. No, the thing is that’s what the article in the medical literature said it was. So I’m going to give you the point anyway. [DING] But why is that more notable? Did it happen to women as well? Woah! No. No it didn’t happen to women. Horses? Didn’t happen to horses. Old blues men? Cello Scrotum? Didn’t. It’s a good name though. Didn’t happen to blues men either. Is this a fantastic dose of the clap that went round the Royal Philharmonic one time? You’re all assuming that anyone was actually injured here. Was it just completely fabricated? Point! [DING] Ah! Completely, utterly made up, as a case report.
That made it into what? Er, medical journal? Yeah, the British Medical Journal. [DING] The prestigious British Medical Journal, in 1974 and purportedly, an affliction affecting male cello players. It was a reply to ‘guitar nipple’. Nipple?! Guitar nipple. What’s rubbing? If you played your guitar up this high, that’s… For a while the Beatles did! I say, shotgun bass player! ♫ Bum ba-diggley bum ♫ Dr Elaine Murphy thought that whoever was sending in the “guitar nipple” was having a laugh. So then sent in ‘cello scrotum’.
She did it as a joke which was published in the British Medical Journal without someone pointing out what rather obvious thing? That it was bollocks? — Eyyy!
— Awww! That’s a golf clap. It’s not biscuits! It’s a golf clap. It’s good. That’s good, that’s good. I didn’t even know I was making that joke ’til I’d done it! What was wrong with it? Well, you wouldn’t have a cello that high up, for a start. That’s exactly right. Yes. [DING] Between your knees, isn’t it? –Yes, have a point.
–If you have a cello up that high, you’ve got legs at that angle. Yes… That is entirely right. Also, don’t you rest cellos on a spike? So you’re kinda [SHUCK] –I’ll tell you what…
–[URGHAAAH!] Tell you what, that’s how you would get cello scrotum. If you got that spike placement wrong. I’ll give you that now. Ah yes, you are absolutely right. A cellist does not put a cello anywhere near… their crotch. Well, in normal service. Speak for yourself. Which means Elaine Murphy, Baroness Murphy, has a wonderful Wikipedia article, because at the top there is all the sections, of you know, like member of the House of Lords…life peer… And then ‘Cello Scrotum’ controversy. Point! [DING] Very last section, is a well referenced section, to a BBC article, that’s simply titled “Peer reveals ‘Cello Scrotum’ hoax”. That’s one to put on the expenses claim. Yeah. Why is this important? Why is the fact that this was published, as an article in medical literature, important? Did it change how…did it like need peer review, double blind…testing stuff? It should have had. I’ll give you the point for that [DING]. It should have had that. Something shouldn’t make it in to the BMJ without at least running it past someone going… Cello scrotum?
–REALLY? Cello scrotum? Really? “Johnny! Johnny, you play the cello don’t you? Would you mind just dropping them for a second, “so I can have a look if there is any redness or soreness, down there?” “Drop trou!” “No… it looks…it looks rather, rather abrased, but I can’t prove it’s the cello. That’s the problem.” “Is it that you’re a fantastic deviant?” No, that’s just the band name. Johnny and the Fantastic Deviants. They all played their instruments wrongly. Ooh! “You don’t want to see what he did to his contrabassoon!” “Quite, quite frightful. Very bad for the wood.” Um, yes. So there was a letter in another one in 1990, which is simply titled “‘Cello Scrotum’ questioned”. which sounds like the worst police report I’ve ever heard. “Did you do it?!” But I’m mainly using this as a jumping off point [GASP!] to a whole load of other “person’s body part”. And I’m gonna do a quickfire round for a little while here. What other afflictions are there that have been mentioned in… that now have… Henderson’s Hooch? Shatner’s Bassoon? That’s not real. That’s from Brass Eye. Chris? Nelson’s left eyeball? — I hope it was that one. 50/50 chance I got that one.
–We’re talking stuff like tennis elbow –Yes, have a point [DING]
–Housemaid’s knee. –[DING] Yep.
–Erm… Juggler’s bum! Juggler’s? What’s juggler’s bum? Juggler’s bum is where you keep dropping, but you always bend down the same way to pick up the dropped juggling balls. You end up with a pull across one cheek. I wonder…I can’t do a full medical literature check here… I’m sure it’s not in there. Golfer’s nipple. I don’t have golfer’s nipple, I have a different body part. What’s golfer’s nipple? It’s where it’s cupped at the end, so you can use it as a tee, in an emergency. I thought it’s during the swing. Because a lot of them wear a kind of polo you have to wear a collared shirt…they wear polo t-shirts And they’ve all got branding, just over the… comme ça! You’re right. That’s kinda it. It’s abrasing the nipples, so you often… I’ve heard, like having plasters underneath or something to stop that happening in the swing. Yes. There are a couple of references to that. I’ll give you that. But the one I have for golfing, is not the nipple. Elbow? ELBOW! Have a point [DING]. Golfer’s elbow. That’s exactly the same as tennis elbow, isn’t it? –More or less, yes.
–But longer? –Yes.
–Implement. Not elbow…it just grows. Got a long elbow. Can anyone else feel it, if you put your finger close to, sort of the top of your nose there can you feel like a…tingling? That’s psychosomatic isn’t it? I can genuinely feel it, there. Wait! Hold on. No! This is a set up, to have all of us, doing this… No it’s not! Genuinely. I’m not joking. Genuinely. If I do that If I hover my finger there, I can feel a tingling feeling. You’re right! You’re actually right there. This is not a hoax, viewers — Like the time I invited you all on the podcast…
— I have a monobrow! I’m going to feel it! Yes I can, but it’s because there’s hair there. It’s further away than when you actually hit the skin. It’s about here. I can feel it… if I’ve got my eyes closed. This sounds like reiki. –In fingers or hair?
–There…I can feel it there, tingling. So that’s quite far away. It starts to feel tingles. –It is…
–It starts to get stronger. It is just your body being aware there’s something there and I think being slightly nervous that someone is going to just hit you. In the eye! It’s just a funny thing you can feel. Close your eyes and tell me when you can feel me doing it to you. Don’t do anything daft! I’m not going to do anything, just I want you to tell me when you can feel it. OK. I’m coming closer. I want to say I can feel something, but I’m worried there’s nothing there now. Yeah, you’re absolutely right! You are absolutely right… SCIENCE! It’s the truth. But you can feel it. It’s a weird thing. Yeah. So yes, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow is in there. What else do we have? Footballers having nothing wrong with them, but rolling around on the floor anyway? Cyclist’s sphincter? — Oh, actually… there’s…
— Thighs! It’s quite a small seat. Well, yeah. There is that. And there’s also a type of cyst that cyclists get in a delicate area. More prone to it there, than anything else. A cyclist’s cyst. A cycle cyst’s cyst. It starts with peri, doesn’t it, and you don’t wanna Google images of it? Ohh! No! Really? Because you’re on a saddle, there’s certain pressure points. Yes. — Yes, um, that…
— Moving swiftly on… …oddly enough, is not listed as a specific complaint. There is an entire category of occupational diseases, but most of those, because they’re not about leisure are actually pretty horrifying. Miners’ black lung. [DING] Asbestos. Vibration white finger. [DING] And radium jaw. –Ooh no! That’s horrible!
–Oh, from the paint brush thing. The phossy jaw… phossy jaw. Yeah. You have a point there [DING]. You have a point there [DING]. Yeah, that was nasty. Yeah, these were the match girls. This wasn’t licking radium paint on its own. This was licking phosphorus. Mmm… That’s Phoss Jaw, isn’t it? That’s phossy jaw…phosphorous jaw. There’s also a reference here to Eben Byers. American socialite, athlete and industrialist. He won the 1906 US Amateur in golf. Er, what happened to him? Golf ball in the face? Something to do with radiation in his jaw then? I was hoping someone was going to say his jaw fell off. –Oh! His jaw fell off.
–His jaw fell off. Yeah! Absolutely right. In fact… [DING] The Wall Street Journal have a wonderful thing here, “The radium water worked fine until his jaw came off”. Ohh! No. He took a patent medicine, that was made of what? Radium. [DING] Dissolved in? Water. [DING] Point!… Points all round! Was it called radium water? It was radium water, yes. –It was a common thing though.
–It was called Radithor. Yeah, there was a time when radiation would cure all. Wasn’t there? Well, specifically radium was the thing that would cure, basically anything. So you’d take it in liquid form. You’d stick it up your bum. You’d do everything else that needed it. We visited this last time as well, didn’t we? Yeah we have. This was a minimum of one microcurie in distilled water. The owner of the company, head of laboratories, was Dr William Bailey. Who was not what? Any doctor at all? He was not a medical doctor. No. Not in the slightest. [DING] Is this…erm…homeopathic radium? — No! If it was homeopathic radium…
— You’d be fine! You can actually buy that. I nearly… I tell you what. I didn’t have time to order it. But I only thought about this… one of the prizes I was thinking of getting. I was actually going to get a physical prize, rather than a cheap joke. Because I was going to say: congratulations, you win homeopathic kitten chlamydia. Then I was going to get a small vial of pills, of homeopathic kitten chlamydia. Which you can order, for about four or five quid.
From Her Majesty’s Homeopathic Suppliers. I am not joking. What would I do? What would I use homeopathic kitten chlamydia for? Curing chlamydia in your kitten. Not a joke! I don’t believe a word. Wait a minute. So I’m giving my kitten chlamydia, to cure my kitten’s chlamydia? No! You’re giving your kitten water that used to have chlamydia in it. In order to cure the kitten’s chlamydia. Not a joke! But I don’t… [stutters]… but I don’t cure chlamydia by giving myself yet more chlamydia! That’s not how it works. They will also sell you homeopathic Berlin Wall. What’s that for? Communism?! Claustrophobia. F*** off! How does…the Berlin Wall was f***ing outside anyway! I could walk past it. I could see the sky, the ground. I could go in any direction, barring the one the wall’s in front of! Sell me a ****ing room if you want to cure claustrophobia! The only way I’d get cured off the Berlin Wall is bloody intolerance between East and West Germany. That’s ridiculous! Breathe(!) Just eat some ****ing concrete, if that’s your issue! Calming down. Calming… William Bailey who was the man who sold the radium water was never actually tried for the deaths that he caused. Although… Well he was tried in a very large amount of water. Yes. Not homeopathic. If it was…wouldn’t have killed him. Sorry, that was me with the homeopathy there, wasn’t it? The Federal Trade Commission, the US government, basically shut down his radium water business. What did he then go on to do? Radium beer? Radium milk? Radium letters? Ah, you know what? Radium paperweights. You can have a point for that. [DING] — S***!
— Radi-weight? Er, yeah. Radioactive belt clip. But more importantly… “Warm your knackers!” More importantly…a mechanism that did what to water? Heated it? Well, yeah, it would have done that. With radium. YES! It made water radioactive, so you can make your own radium water. [DING] Even though it had already proved that killed people? Ah, yes…yes, that was. That was what he made… Well, he knew what he wanted and he went for it. Yes. As we continue this chain. We have Eben Byers, who was the man whose jaw fell off. Yeah. He’s buried in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. What is special about the way he was buried? Lead coffin? Point! [DING] Lead lined coffin. Absolutely right. Because they don’t want him to irradiate everyone else. Yes! And they don’t want him to irradiate the ground around him. Hmm. So we’ve got golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, we’ve got cello scrotum, which turned out to be false. Ah! We also have er…oh, [LONG BEEP] He’s seen a picture of it! I clicked on what was labelled as “jeep bottom”. Alright. Is it where you’ve got tread marks? No! You remember I mentioned earlier, that cyst. Ah yeah! No! It linked me straight…it just went…redirect me to that… PICTURE! That’s the risk I take with the screen in front of me. Have you just seen a cysted-up man’s bottom then? Aah! Yes. Cysted-up! Oh! He’s all cysted… What happened to Dave? Oh, he got all cysted-up. As we doctors call it. Our last one. Is Nintendo thumb. That’s from playing…console games all night. [DING] Yeah. Specifically can’t be just Nintendo. Other consoles… you can’t have PS3 pinky? Or something like that. No, no. They trademarked it. Yeah, it’s also gamer’s grip. It’s just repetitive strain injury. But if you go with Nintendo, what pun does that let you have? Given that it’s to do with Nintendos…and the little things that run up and down here. — So tendons?
Veins? Ninten…Oh…Nintendonitis! POINT! [DING] Absolutely right. So you imagine, they’re all sat round in their white coats, with their stethoscopes Nintend…Nintendonitis! More worryingly, I think I’ve just worked out why Sega-stroenteritis got invented. They had to stop making consoles. Ah! There we go. And also: X-box. Aaw! Congratulations Gary, you win this week’s show. Alright! You win a subscription to the Badger of the Month Club. Ooh! Do try to be in when they deliver them though. They get a bit angry if you leave them with the neighbours for a while. With that, we say thank you to Chris Joel. Woo! To Gary Brannan. To Matt Gray. Bye! I’ve been Tom Scott and we’ll see you next time. [Translating these subtitles? Add your name here!] [We really do mean it.
Don’t search for jeep bottom on Wikipedia.]

100 thoughts on “Cello Scrotum and Radium Water: Citation Needed 4×03

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *