April Fool's Day
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"A pinch and a punch for the first of the month!" Today is the day for hoaxes, when the world's newspapers sneak fake tales into their august pages and small children prank one another until noon.
The greatest hoax of all time? For Brits, it has to be BBC 1957 Panorama TV report on the Swiss spaghetti harvest, complete with footage of farmers pulling spaghetti down from trees. The BBC solemnly advised people who phoned in to place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.
For Americans, perhaps it's the baseball pitcher who could throw a ball at 168mph. He had never played, but a Tibetan monastery had trained his mind.
We are celebrating these, our own Hamburger Gin, Salt & Vinegar Gin and other tomfoolery with an Apple Fool cocktail.
In Blighty and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere it's common to experience showers, often heavy downpours, during April. These showers are often caused by the jet stream moving northwards during early spring so allowing depressions to bring blustery winds and heavy rain from the Atlantic.
The proverb "March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers," is much used in English-speaking countries and may date back to a 1610 poem.
The term's popularity was bolstered by Al Jolson's rendition of the April Showers song in the 1921 Broadway musical Bombo. Other artists to perform the song include the British comedians Morecambe and Wise. During their performance, a light sprinkling of water fell gently on straight man Ernie Wise while buckets of water were thrown over Eric Morecambe.
We're hoping for a sunny month ahead but preparing for the worse with an April Shower cocktail.
We are also remembering Marvin Gaye
On this day in 1984, the soul singer Marvin Gaye got in a physical fight with his bullying, pastor father, Marvin Gay (Sr.). It only ended when his father shot him dead, then shot him a second time at point-blank range - although he later told cops "I didn't mean to do it".
The man who brought us Sexual Healing, What's Going On and Got to Give It Up had suffered from depression and coke-induced paranoia, and tried to kill himself at least three times. Some believe, including the family, that his attack on his father was an attempt at suicide by murder.
Gaye died the day before he would have turned 45. In honour of a man who transformed the sound of Motown, inspired covers by everyone from Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin to Aaliyah and the Strokes, and shaped not only soul but R&B, we're drinking a Cuban Heal, created by Matthew Keegan, and full of natural, if not sexual, healing.
It's VAT's birthday
V.A.T., or value-added tax, the bane of every British business, not to mention the consumers who pay it, was introduced this day in 1973. And you probably won't be surprised that when V.A.T. came in, replacing the older purchase tax, it was half what it is today.
Given that the present rate of V.A.T. is 20%, we're marking this occasion with a delicious 20th Century Cocktail.
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