'Couples may only conceive before a portrait of the King', and four other laws still on the statute books

EVERYONE knows you can be executed by arson in the Royal Dockyards for shooting a Welshman from Chester’s walls on a Sunday. Like these laws, it was never repealed: 

Any Lancastrian makyng a crossyng may be stripped of worldley goods

Still on the books from the War of the Roses, all travellers from Garstang to Wigglesworth can be legally robbed in case they show an ‘intention of waging warful acts on the populace’. Last to be prosecuted was costermonger Nathaniel Muir in 1822 who during a snowstorm strayed into Keighley, where he was bombarded with cabbages by angry townsfolk.

No citizen is permitted to ask an officer of the law the time

Before 1851, London pickpockets employed gangs of urchins to hinder police by repeatedly asking them the time. The ruse became so widespread that officers complained they often spent five hours a day telling the time and were unable to inspect apple freshness on market stalls. Lord Russell’s government acted and anyone found guilty was fined a shilling or sent to debtor’s prison.

No seat on a train may face that which it travels from

Backward-facing train seats were outlawed in 1829 after the Duke of Wellington and his wife Kitty travelled to Brighton for a day’s cockle picking. The Prime Minister was horrified to find he had to sit facing his wife, who he ‘was not fond of to any degree’. On his return to London, he swiftly enacted legislation to ensure he never had to suffer her visage again.

Thee Lord alone may reste on his day, and no other

Sunday naps were outlawed by Lord Protector Cromwell in 1654, after he personally witnessed the ‘insidious practice of the feckless peasantry to slumber on the Lord’s Day’. Cromwell’s own gardener was charged and fled to Ireland rather than face execution. Offenders are still liable to be fined a half-peck of wheat.

Couples may only conceive before a portrait of the King

Made law in 1942, when it was feared the war could last generations, the requirement for His Majesty to oversee all acts of procreation was intended to encourage women to produce soldiers. To this day any reproductive acts not performed before the King’s image are illicit and the resulting offspring bastards. A 1976 amendment confirmed blowjobs are fine.

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Moaning about raunchy pop videos, and five other signs you're no better than your parents

FIGHTING aging isn’t all dye and face serums. It’s also sitting through Sam Smith’s new video without provoking the reaction teenagers online are waiting for. And these: 

Finding gigs far too loud

Down the front in the mosh pit? No. Sensibly placed three-quarters back? That was the plan, but even with earplugs it’s ridiculous. It hurts, you complain in the corridor to a security guy who hasn’t heard anything since Leftfield in 2000.

Being shocked by raunchy pop videos

You sneered at your parents’ distaste for Madonna or Snoop Dogg. They just didn’t get that these were valid artists expressing themselves, with nudity and sex acts as their palette. Today’s pop stars? Getting their bits out for no reason. Nobody wants to see that.

Enjoying comfortable clothing too much

Skinny jean to straight leg was a fashionable transition; strappy top to fleece covered in dog hair down the pub is not.

Getting passionate about storage solutions

Back then, you kept all you owned in a rucksack. The whole world was your home and memories the only treasure. Now you dream of fitted cupboards in the loft to hold your plastic boxes full of archive NMEs, filed by date.

Ordering the same thing everywhere

Different curry houses offer different variations, for example Gujariti restaurants specialise in vegetarian dishes, Bengali favouring fish, and so on. Lately you don’t even open the menu. You order the lamb rogan josh, because you like it, and everyone else can f**k off.

The best socialising is no socialising

It’s cold, you’re tired and the only mates left who still go out are the boring ones. Who in their right mind would want to go to a pub, with its noise and expense and irritating students, when you can get far more pissed at home with nobody judging you?