Sunday, 15 May 2011

Respectable People Never Fart In Church

I've heard all the jokes about farts, vicars and hearing aids. I suspect that you have too.

Today, it was different. It was unique where acoustics and immaculate timing combined to create a magical moment of comedy. No scriptwriter could have written it better. No actor could have performed it better.

The time was 3.55pm. The choir were midway through a challenging anthem. There was a break in the music. A brief silence written in by the composer so that the audience could take full advantage of the emotive nature of the music.

Then there was this noise. This thunderous noise. A trumpet? Someone blowing a raspberry? A mixture of the two? A duet?

No, of course not.

It was a loud fart. A loud fart at evensong. A loud fart at evensong in a big church with a few dozen in the congregation. It had a dramatic effect on proceedings. The choir master flinched. The choristers kept their heads directed towards the choir master, but their eyes rolled in all directions. The priests looked at their kneelers. The congregation looked around. Some tried to keep a straight face, others sniggered into their hymn books. Many looked at each other with accusatory eyes.

'Was it you?' I asked one of the congregation who I knew would be horrified by the question. 'We were all certain it was you, Mr Honkinstetson.' Mr Honkinstetson was doubly shocked.

'It wasn't me,' he stuttered. 'It was the old lady standing in front of me.'

I felt that the ghost of Voltaire was somewhere close by. He once said,

'Inspiration: A peculiar effect of divine flatulence emitted by the Holy Spirit which hisses into the ears of a few chosen of God.'

Tonight, the whole congregation was the chosen few. I wonder if the old lady realised what jollity her actions brought to the usually serene service. It was nothing short of a miracle.


  1. I don't suppose by any chance, the 2nd lesson was:-

    "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth" [John 3.8]?

    But no doubt thou smellest the odour thereof, nonetheless!

  2. The advantage of having only one functioning ear is that one mishears on a cataclysmic scale. I came out of Evensong and enquired of Stuart what was with those bangs at the door during the anthem. Was some poor soul seeking sanctuary - no, he said, that was a super fart expelled from a double jointed backside. Hey ho :)

  3. Stuart - it could well have been I am not sure - I had been distracted by then and was thinking of any song titles which may be appropriate ... Blowing In The Wind, Hasten Down The Wind, Candle In The Wind etc

    skybluepinkish - no it was an unmistakeable sound - unfortunately I have an attuned ear having spent too long on crowded underground trains in various parts of the globe, I considered myself to be the poor soul seeking sanctuary - but outside rather than in.