One of my favorite things to do online is a quick perusal of the BBC website for its more unusual (read: absurd) headlines. For some reason, they stick to a very strict 5-6 word headline limit, which can result in some strangely cryptic and brilliant headlines. I started this years ago when a friend of mine got me hooked on it, but recently I started keeping records of the best ones from each day. I’ve just been sharing them with two coworkers, but it seems like it is time to keep them as a part of my blog. Thus, we’re going to start the “BBC Headlines” label and throw it open to the general public.
Before I get into the headlines of this week, though, let me show you why this is worth doing. Here are some of the “best” ones we’ve found recently:
From April 7th, an example of their commitment to alliterative effect: Drug dog suspended for duck death
From April 18th, about a queer smell coming from Germany: Pong in the air is Euro-Whiff (My coworker and I actually put this to music, so we can sing the line “pong in the air is euro-whiff..” Its quite catchy. Credit: Meghan Roe)
From April 23rd, an example of the wonderfully cryptic tone in the 6-word style: No sex for all-girl fish species (Credit to Martin Roberts for that one.)
I’ve often speculated that there are some disgruntled, underpaid journos at the BBC who come up with these headlines as a way to mitigate the mind-numbing boredom of covering the local news. I like to call them the Alliterative/Absurd Headlines Department. Whenever there’s a story about a drunk man cutting off his pet snake’s head or an inflatable pig going loose at a concert, they send it over to the A/A HD in order to get a 6 word piece of gold out of it. Let us enjoy their daily work….
Hairdresser loses dead fly case. (Not the tragic story of a loss of a box full of dead flies as you might imagine. Credit: Martin Roberts)
Council kicks up pet skunk stink. (They love the smell so much, they just kept kicking it.)
Paint chemicals ‘may harm sperm.’ (On the main page, this head line is “paint chemicals may hit sperm,” which I think adds a little something more, don’t you?)
Bus drivers take saliva samples. Ok, with all due respect to the BBC, you guys could have done so much better with this one. The article mentions that they get ‘spit kits.’ C’mon guys, that one was ripe for a headline! Like: “Bus drivers armed with ‘spit kits'” or “Spit no more on the bus” or something. The Absurd/Alliterative Headline Department at the BBC is definitely phoning it in on that one.