Columnist Tom Taylor on Easter eggs, Psycho and the N.U.T.

Comedian Sara Pascoe.
Comedian Sara Pascoe.

Room for a Laugh - The world of Harrogate Advertiser Series columnist Tom Taylor, organiser of Harrogate’s Sitting Room comedy club and finalist in Nando’s New Comedian Of The Year at Edinburgh Fringe

My Easter weekend was particularly busy this year, producing and performing in four stand-up comedy shows for the National Union of Teachers Annual Conference.

In preparing for the shows I anticipated a magnificent role reversal as I, still a mere pup, stood at the front of the room and dazzled a throng of educators with my witty wordplay.

I’m delighted to say I succeeded in standing at the front of the room.

The weekend was distinctly tiring but certainly rewarding insomuch as the old bean was so fatigued I managed to hide my own Easter eggs and still enjoy hours of fun hunting for them.

Everybody is tired at Easter though. That’s what Easter’s for. Being tired and trying to find one good reason why we shouldn’t hibernate.

Indeed, I vividly remember one school service, on the day we broke up for the Easter holidays, when the college chaplain (whom I suggest was equally tuckered out as I) declared: “As we head for the Easter holiday, let us ask Mrs Craven to come forward and lay an egg on the alter.”

Easter is, of course, also a time for chocolate. Chocolate and murder themed buns.

For unless Death - when he raps his ceremonial scythe upon the door knocker of my life - arrives proffering carrier bags overflowing with cake decorating ingredients for my destiny is to be fatally smothered by delicious jam and buttercream (a medical possibility as I am allergic to dairy), I would not want the method of my execution immortalised on a currant bun.

But, returning to chocolate, for ten points can you untangle the link between actress Janet Leigh and a lot of chocolate?

Well, seeing as I’m still someway off my required word count, I shall elucidate. You will recall the scene in Alf Hitchcock’s Psycho, when Anthony Perkins (as the Oedipally challenged Norman Bates) takes a violent dislike to Janet’s hygiene habits and stabs her in the shower.

The whole scene lasts just forty-five seconds but took seven days and several gallons of chocolate syrup to shoot.

Back in the intoxicating days of black and white, it was the texture and not the colour of things that mattered and, apparently, chocolate syrup is the most excellent consistency for blood heading for a plug hole.

The film may not be particularly scary but it may well put you off ice-cream sundaes for a goodly while.

If the science of chocolate or eggs has taken your fancy, you might want to know that it was today, April 16, in 1705, that Queen Anne knighted one of history’s greatest scientists, Isaac Newton.

Newton’s First Law of Motion, also known as the Law of Inertia, is that the natural state of objects is not at rest.

Anyone with young children will know this to be true, but you can test it with eggs.

Take one hard-boiled and one raw egg and spin them both. Put your hand on the hard-boiled one and it will stop spinning.

Apply the same pressure to the raw egg and then let go. The egg will start to spin again because the liquid inside is still spinning.

I had intended to recreate this experiment last weekend with chocolate eggs but, deplorably, someone ate the apparatus before science had a chance to flourish.

Sitting Room Comedy Club returns to the St George Hotel, Harrogate on Wednesday, May 13 with stand-up elite Tom Stade (Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Stand-Up for the Week, Dave’s One Night Stand), Sara Pascoe (Live at the Apollo, QI, Twenty Twelve, The Thick of It) and Holly Walsh (Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 Out of 10 Cats).

Tickets and more information are available at

Tom Taylor tweets at @tomtails.