Six bands stoned enough to use flutes and other horribly pretentious instruments

MUSICIANS love getting out an obscure instrument that no one actually likes to prove how multi-talented they are. Here are some bands that went too far.

Jethro Tull

The quintessential flute-toting nonsense band. Ian Anderson wielded the thing like the f**ing Pied Piper, but to accompany their twee, folky gibberish rather than doing something useful like drowning rats. The flute is probably best left to orchestras and Die Zauberflöte, unless you think you’re better than Mozart, probably actually a common rock star delusion.

The Beatles

The psychedelic period of the Fab Four may be their best, for potheads at least. Like a grown-up gap year bellend, George Harrison ‘found himself’ while learning the sitar. Whether Ravi Shankar got bored of listening to the Beatles droning on is unclear, but their spiritual awakening has inspired generations of musicians, mostly to get off their tits.


Damon Albarn has a definite penchant for pretentious instruments. An on-stage harp is bad, but the melodica is too much. Featured again and again on Albarn’s hits as Gorillaz or solo, this musical monstrosity is basically a nose flute for the mouth with piano keys. It looks like a kids’ toy and sounds like a goose that’s fallen into an industrial press.

Led Zeppelin

After trying to play the guitar with a violin bow, Jimmy Page next decided the classic Gallows Pole needed a session musician with a hurdy gurdy, a wooden box with a crank that, appropriately, looks like a portable electric generator favoured by torturers. Slavic folk musicians probably liked it, but a Zep fan has yet to utter the words: ‘I wish they did more hurdy gurdy solos.’


Bagpipes were a good choice as this reviled instrument couldn’t make irritating nu-metal much worse. Vocalist Jonathan Davis was apparently inspired by Scotty playing bagpipes at Spock’s funeral in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, which just makes this strange choice more confusing. Seeking new musical atrocities, Davis later performed scat on their most successful song.


Pity the listener who endured a half-hour Yes live jam session without LSD. Yes took keyboards to dismally pretentious new heights with multi-levelled pianos, keytars, and extended improvisations on the church organ. Rick Wakeman was a god to prog rock fans, but then they’d probably sit and stroke their beards sagely to an hour-long solo on a kazoo.

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What to do if the paramedics are on strike, according to films and TV

DO you worry about having to deal with an emergency during the ambulance strike later this month? Luckily films and TV contain all the medical advice you need.


If a Christmas guest suffers a crushed windpipe, stab a hole in the front of their neck and insert a biro casing. Or if you don’t want to damage a good biro, use a drinking straw like in the movie Nobody. Now able to breathe, they’ll be able to continue festive activities as normal.


If someone becomes hysterical – perhaps your wife is overexcited by the slipper socks with a bear’s face you got her – a slap in the face will instantly calm them down. Unexpected violence never makes people more panicked, as you might expect, and if it’s in countless films from the 1940s and the Doctor Who serial Claws of Axos it must be evidence-based.

Broken leg 

According to cowboy films, all you need to do is to bind the leg between two planks of wood and the victim will be fine for a bracing Christmas walk in the countryside. There is literally no risk of a splintered bone penetrating an artery or developing a permanent limp. In fact after staying in bed for two days they’ll be able to run, jump, ride a horse and have shoot-outs. 


This is in loads of films like Master and Commander, so you should already be an expert. Like in the films, give the patient a totally inadequate glug of spirits, about a large G&T, make them bite on a wooden spoon and off you go with the hacksaw. Note: this is a traumatic procedure, so limit it to injuries where there is no other option, eg. a torn fingernail.

Stopped heart

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is in everything from Casualty to Lost via Jurassic Park, so it’ll be piss-easy. Just hammer away at the patient’s chest while counting out loud for some reason. If that doesn’t work, try an electric shock by connecting them to a plug socket and turning it on and off. This can be dangerous, so wear rubber gloves. You’ll know it’s worked when the patient initially appears to be dead, then just as everyone gives up hope they’ll move a finger. 

Virus outbreak

The cure will be kept in the same unlocked chiller cabinet at the deadly virus. Just google ‘experiment to increase rage in monkeys’, get the laboratory’s address and pop over in the car. Pick up some extra stuffing and Baileys while you’re out.

Gunshot wound

As ultra-realistic 1950s westerns prove, bullets don’t do massive tissue damage and instead lodge harmlessly, usually in your leg. All you need to do is pop the bullet out with a knife, slosh on some alcohol, which you’ll have plenty of at Christmas, and the victim will be able to carry on with their festive game of charades.