There's more to London's Lord Mayor and tousled albino toff Boris Johnson than meets the uninformed eye, according to a new study, writes Pseudo-Science Correspondent, Quentin Baffle.
Most people think of Boris - who has recently been in the news urging London Councils to eradicate urban foxes - as the genial upper class buffer who can laugh at himself on Have I Got News For You?, and cultivates a public image of eccentric aristocratic buffoonery. He might be an Oxford Classical Scholar, but he tends to be regarded as a clown.
However, a new study by University of Jutland scientists headed by world-renowned polymath Professor Jens Convolvulus has delved beneath the surface of Britain's favourite Upper Class Twit, and found previously hidden depths.
"We have collected sufficient data and I can say that our results are statistically-significant", claimed Professor Convolvulus yesterday. "How it came to be, is like so. My team have been studying this year the ancient palimpsests, namely, the Codex Ridiculo, which is an example of a hyper palimpsest, in which a wax-covered tablet has been used and re-used many times in the ancient times. We have been able to uncover many generations of documents. Most significantly, we have discovered the so-called lost letters of Cornelius Frotto, as well as a full copy of Cicero's Favourite Dirty Jokes Vol. 23, which was considered lost. All this from the one hyper palimpsest."
This, then, is a palimpsest: a document that has been used, erased and overwritten and on which the remains of overwritten text can be detected by sophisticated scientific processes.
But what has this got to do with Boris Johnson? (I'm glad you asked that, as I was just about to - Ed.) Professor Jens Convolvulus revealed all that there was to reveal about what had been revealed to reveal about what had been revealed about what there was to reveal about what had been revealed.
"From our studies of the palimpsests, we became expert in the art of palimpsest identification. My senior research assistant, Ulrika Nichazoff, with whom I often work intimately through the night hours uncovering hidden treasures, pointed to a portrait of Boris Johnson in Tousled Albino Fanciers Monthly magazine which she keeps for research purposes. 'Professor!' she cried. 'This man, he is surely a human palimpsest!'
"I was sceptical. However, I know Ulrika. We have intimate knowledges of one another. She is a professional. I instructed her to set up the experimental equipments appropriate, and to acquire the experimental subject, namely, Boris Johnson, the London Mayor."
Thus was set in train (they were unable to afford to fly Boris over, due to draconian research budget cuts by the Juttish (are you sure that's the right term for being from Jutland? - Ed.) Government) - thus was set in train, I say, the events that have led to a series of extraordinary scientific discoveries likely to change public perceptions permanently.
"We have used the most modern techniques", continued Professor Convolvulus. "Our processes of ultraviolent light, multispectrum pillaging and meretricious x-ray effulgence penetration - these are among the world's foremosts.
"With these machineries we have indeed found that Boris Johnson is a palimpsest. In scientific terms, we have succeeded in exceeding the statistical variance threshold for a non-profligate ionance quandary. This means that, far from merely underlimning our original hypothesis of vexed quasi-linearities, we found ourselves privy to the multifaceted configuration corridor first delineated by Lopple, Gravender & Von Kruppelbunder of the Sacramento House of Imaging Technologies in 1975. This, which is known as the SHIT orientation, has proven most fertilising."
In layman's terms, the Jutland team, headed by Convolvulus and Nichazoff, had discovered that what we perceive to be Boris Johnson is, in effect, a mere image which is itself only one of a successive series of nested signifiers forming a virtual hyper palimpsest in human form.
The simple image-shattering news is that Boris Johnson is in fact an earlier image latterly overlaid with that of German tennis player Boris Becker. "By applying our machineries, we have indeed found it so", said Professor Convolvulus.
And there is more. Further work by a specialist team led by Ulrika Nichazoff and colleague Lydia Tumbelova has found that Boris Becker - as you would expect from his appearance - has been overwritten on tragic genius painter Vincent Van Gogh.
I will allow you to collect your thoughts and catch your breath after being vouchsafed these amazing insights into the very nature and structure of our perceived world of shifting appearance, which is nowhere near as solid or substantial as we would like to think.
And having paused, to take in this new knowledge, please now be apprised of of the forthcoming palimpsest hypotheses to be tested by Professor Jens Convolvulus and his team at the University of Jutland:
- that David Cameron is a palimpsest of Margaret Thatcher
- that David Hockney and Alan Bennett are a "parallel voice palimpsest" and share a "visual hyper palimpsest" with Andy Warhol
- that George Osborne is a palimpsest of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Georgian Fop and Dandy Lord Fritter of Ponsonby who was made out of 19th century arsenic-pigmented wallpaper
- that the whole of Western popular music is a vast hyper-palimpsest of Black American music
- that Western Culture is a mere palimpsest-overlay upon deeper, hidden, vital "nascent wisdom" we fail to uncover at our peril
The University of Jutland is still in the vanguard when it comes to the advancement of human knowledge. The esteemed Professor Convolvulus continues to explore terra incognita. Where he leads, all must eventually follow.
All this talk about esteemed Professors and overlaid texts reminds me. I have wallpaper to steam off at home!