Monty Pythons Big Red Book
The tale of the Piranha Brothers 1
Gavin Millarrrrr writes: 3
The tale of the Piranha Brothers
From episode 1 of series 2 of Monty Python's Flying Circus
(similar to the one on "Another Monty Python Record")
Transcribed from Monty Python's Big Red Book (the new hardback
Last Tuesday a reign of terror was ended when the notorious
Piranha brothers, Doug and Dinsdale, after one of the most
extraordinary trials in British legal history, were sentenced
to 400 years imprisonment for crimes of violence. We examined
the rise to power of the Piranhas, the methods they used to
subjugate rival gangs and their subsequent tracking down and
capture by the brilliant Superintendent Harry 'Snapper' Organs
of Q Division.
Doug and Dinsdale Piranha were born, on probation, in a small
house in Kipling Road, Southwark, the eldest sons in a family
of sixteen. Their father Arthur Piranha, a scrap metal dealer
and TV quizmaster, was well known to the police,and a devout
Catholic. In 1928 he had married Kitty Malone, an up-and-coming
East End boxer. Doug was born in February 1929 and Dinsdale two
weeks later; and again a week after that. Someone who remembers
them well was their next door neighbour, Mrs April Simnel.
"Oh yes Kipling Road was a typical East End Street, people were
in and out of each other's houses with each other's property
all day. They were a cheery lot. Cheerful and violent. Doug was
keen on boxing, but when he learned to walk he took up putting
the boot in the groin. He was very interested in that. His
mother had a terrible job getting him to come in for tea.
Putting his little boot in he'd be, bless him. All the kids
were like that then, they didn't have their heads stuffed with
all this Cartesian dualism."
At the age of fifteen Doug and Dinsdale started attending the
Ernest Pythagoras Primary School in Clerkenwell. When the
Piranhas left school they were called up but were found by an
Army Board to be too unstable even for National Service. Denied
the opportunity to use their talents in the service of their
country, they began to operate what they called 'The
Operation'... They would select a victim and then threaten to
beat him up if he paid the so-called protection money. Four
months later they started another operation which the called
'The Other Operation'. In this racket they selected another
victim and threatened not to beat him up if he didn't pay them.
One month later they hit upon 'The Other Other Operation'. In
this the victim was threatened that if he didn't pay them, they
would beat him up. This for the Piranha brothers was the
Doug and Dinsdale Piranha now formed a gang, which the called
'The Gang' and used terror to take over night clubs, billiard
halls, gaming casinos and race tracks. When they tried to take
over the MCC they were, for the only time in their lives, slit
up a treat. As their empire spread however, Q Division were
keeping tabs on their every move by reading the colour
One small-time operator who fell foul of Dinsdale Piranha was
"Well one day I was at home threatening the kids when I looks
out through the hole in the wall and sees this tank pull up and
out gets one of Dinsdale's boys, so he comes in nice and
friendly and says Dinsdale wants to have a word with me, so he
chains me to the back of the tank and takes me for a scrape
round to Dinsdale's place and Dinsdale's there in the
conversation pit with Doug and Charles Paisley, the baby
crusher, and two film producers and a man they called
'Kierkegaard', who just sat there biting the heads of whippets
and Dinsdale says 'I hear you've been a naughty boy Clement'
and he splits me nostrils open and saws me leg off and pulls me
liver out and I tell him my name's not Clement and then...he
loses his temper and nails me head to the floor."
Another man who had his head nailed to the floor was Stig O'
Rogers: I've been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the
Stig: No. Never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to buy his
mother flowers and that. He was like a brother to me.
Rogers: But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing
your head to the floor.
Stig: (pause) Oh yeah, he did that.
Stig: Well he had to, didn't he? I mean there was nothing else
he could do, be fair. I had transgressed the unwritten law.
Rogers: What had you done?
Stig: Er... well he didn't tell me that, but he gave me his
word that it was the case, and that's good enough for me with
old Dinsy. I mean, he didn't *want* to nail my head to the
floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. He'd do
anything for you, Dinsdale would.
Rogers: And you don't bear him a grudge?
Stig: A grudge! Old Dinsy. He was a real darling.
Rogers: I understand he also nailed your wife's head to a
coffee table. Isn't that true Mrs O' Tracy?
Mrs O' Tracy: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Stig: Well he did do that, yeah. He was a hard man. Vicious but
Vince Snetterton-Lewis agreed with this judgement.
Yes, definitely he was fair. After he nailed me head to the
table, I used to go round every Sunday lunchtime to his flat
and apologise, and then we'd shake hands and he'd nail me head
to the floor. He was very reasonable. Once, one Sunday I told
him my parents were coming round to tea and would he mind very
much not nailing my head that week and he agreed and just
screwed my pelvis to a cake stand."
Clearly Dinsdale inspired tremendous fear among his business
associates. But what was he really like?
Gloria Pules knew him intimately.
"I walked out with Dinsdale on many occasions and found him a
charming and erudite companion. He was wont to introduce one to
eminent celebrities, celebrated American singers, members of
the aristocracy and other gang leaders, who he had met through
his work for charities. He took a warm interest in Boys' Clubs,
Sailors' Homes, Choristers' Associations and the Grenadier
Guards. "Mind you there was nothing unusual about him. I should
say not. Except, that Dinsdale was convinced that he was being
watched by a giant hedgehog whom he referred to as 'Spiny
Norman'. Normally Spiny Norman was wont to be about twelve feet
from snout to tail, but when Dinsdale was depressed Norman
could be anything up to eight hundred yards long. When Norman
was about Dinsdale would go very quiet and start wobbling and
his nose would swell up and his teeth would move about and he'd
get very violent and claim that he'd laid Stanley Baldwin."
Rogers: "Did it worry you that he, for example, stitched
people's legs together?"
Gloria: "Well it's better than bottling it up isn't it. He was
a gentleman, Dinsdale, and what's more he knew how to treat a
But what do the criminologists think? We asked The Amazing
Kargol and Janet:
"It is easy for us to judge Dinsdale Piranha too harshly. After
all he only did what many of us simply dream of doing... I'm
sorry. After all we should remember that a murderer is only an
extroverted suicide. Dinsdale was a looney, but he was a happy
looney. Lucky bugger."
Most of the strange tales concern Dinsdale, but what about
Doug? One man who met him was Luigi Vercotti.
"I had been running a successful escort agency -- high class,
no really, high class girls -- we didn't have any of *that* --
that was right out. So I decided to open a high class night
club for the gentry at Biggleswade with International cuisine
and cooking and top line acts, and not a cheap clip joint for
picking up tarts -- that was right out, I deny that completely
--, and one evening in walks Dinsdale with a couple of big
lads, one of whom was carrying a tactical nuclear missile. They
said I had bought one of their fruit machines and would I pay
for it? They wanted three quarters of a million pounds. I
thought about it and decided not to go to the Police as I had
noticed that the lad with the thermonuclear device was the
chief constable for the area. So a week later they called again
and told me the cheque had bounced and said... I had to see...
Doug. Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug.
I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see
Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug. He used... sarcasm.
He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns,
parody, litotes and... satire. He was vicious."
In this way, by a combination of violence and sarcasm, the
Piranha brothers by February 1966 controlled London and the
Southeast of England. It was in February, though, that Dinsdale
made a big mistake.
Latterly Dinsdale had become increasingly worried about Spiny
Norman. He had come to the conclusion that Norman slept in an
aeroplane hangar at Luton Airport. And so on Feb 22nd 1966,
Dinsdale blew up Luton.
Even the police began to sit up and take notice. The Piranhas
realised they had gone too far and that the hunt was on. They
went into hiding. But it was too late. Harry 'Snapper' Organs
was on the trail.
"I decided on a subtle approach, viz. some form of disguise, as
the old helmet and boots are a bit of a giveaway. Luckily my
years with Bristol Rep. stood me in good stead, as I assumed a
bewildering variety of disguises. I tracked them to Cardiff,
posing as the Reverend Smiler Egret. Hearing they'd gone back
to London, I assumed the identity of a pork butcher, Brian
Stoats. On my arrival in London, I discovered they had returned
to Cardiff, I followed as Gloucester from _King Lear_. Acting
on a hunch I spent several months in Buenos Aires as Blind Pew,
returning through the Panama Canal as Ratty, in _Toad of Toad
Hall_. Back in Cardiff, I relived my triumph as Sancho Panza in
_Man of la Mancha_ which the "Bristol Evening Post" described
as 'a glittering performance of rare perception', although the
"Bath Chronicle" was less than enthusiastic. In fact it gave me
a right panning. I quote: 'as for the performance of
Superintendent Harry "Snapper" Organs as Sancho Panza, the
audience were bemused by his high-pitched Welsh accent and
intimidated by his abusive ad-libs.' The "Western Daily News"
said: 'Sancho Panza (Mr Organs) spoilt an otherwise impeccably
choreographed rape scene by his unscheduled appearance and
persistent cries of "What's all this then?"'" Against this kind
of opposition for the Piranha Brothers the end was inevitable.
**** end of file PIRANHA PYTHON 3/28/88 ***
Gavin Millarrrrr writes:
from "Monty Python's Big Red Book" (new hardback edition)
Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr [John Cleese] writes:
Neville Shunt's latest West End Success, "It all Happened on
the 11.20 from Hainault to Redhill via Horsham and Reigate,
calling at Carshalton Beeches, Malmesbury, Tooting Bec and
Croydon West," is currently appearing at the Limp Theatre,
Piccadilly. What Shunt is doing in this, as in his earlier nine
plays, is to express the human condition in terms of British
Some people have made the mistake of seeing Shunt's work as a
load of rubbish about railway timetables, but clever people
like me who talk loudly in restaurants see this as a deliberate
ambiguity, a plea for understanding in a mechanised mansion.
The points are frozen, the beast is dead. What is the
difference? What indeed is the point? The point is frozen, the
beast is late out of Paddington. The point is taken. If La
Fontaine's elk would spurn Tom Jones the engine must be our
head, the dining car our aesophagus, the guards van our left
lung, the cattle truck our shins, the first class compartment
the piece of skin at the nape of the neck and the level
crossing an electric elk called Simon. The clarity is
devastating. But where is the ambiguity? Over there in a box.
Shunt is saying the 8.15 from Gillingham when in reality he
means the 8.13 from Gillingham. The train is the same, only the
time is altered. Ecce homo, ergo elk. La Fontaine knew its
sister and knew her bloody well. The point is taken, the beast
is moulting, the fluff gets up your nose. The illusion is
complete; it is reality, the reality is illusion and the
ambiguity is the only truth. But is the truth, as Hitchcock
observes, in the box? No, there isn't room, the ambiguity has
put on weight. The point is taken, the elk is dead, the beast
stops at Swindon, Chabrol stops at nothing, I'm having
treatment and La Fontaine can get knotted.
**** end of file TRAIN PYTHON (originally MILARRRR PYTHON
9/18/87) 5/10/88 ****
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