I borrowed this idea from John Self, who started off with lost property offices, “Keep Off the Grass” signs and magicians in tuxedos. Could have been a Top 100, but these are my favourites.
1. Anvils. Nominated by Average Joe and Paul T Horgan (who bought one from a charity shop).
2. People shaking their fists. Or saying, “Bah!” Thanks to Philip Talbot.
3. Quicksand. Usually marked with warning signs. From Debra P, Joe Earley and Mick O’Hare.
4. Magnifying glasses. Essential for any amateur child sleuth or budding pyromaniac. Nominated by Iain Boyd.
5. Single palm tree on an improbably small island. Thanks to Matt Kirshen.
6. Pile of mashed potato with sausages sticking out of it. Most popular single nomination.
7. Washing someone’s mouth out with soap and water. From Anthony Nixon.
8. Visible skeleton when someone has an electric shock. Eve Wiseman said her daughter was boggled to learn that this doesn’t happen.
9. Vacuum cleaner with a suck/blow switch. From Pete Brash.
10. Cucumber slices on eyes as a beauty treatment. Or a ribeye steak to cure a black eye. Thanks to Sergeant Napper.
Along with people slipping (and somersaulting) on banana skins or stepping on rakes, dogs running away with strings of sausages or cats leaving whole fish skeletons, people being chased by a swarm of bees, pies left on window sills to cool, and catapults, most of these still feature in the Beano to this day.
A lot of nominations for casual anti-German or anti-Scottish racism, but I kept it light.
Next week: Journeys across the political spectrum, such as Tony Benn one way and Oswald Mosley the other.
Coming soon: Surprisingly recently invented foods, such as ciabatta, invented in 1982 to resist the world domination of the French baguette.
Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org