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When Brian Met Harold



A Gannex Mac: both Professor Thrupiece and Prime Minister Wilson were inexplicable fans

Late in 1964, just as the winter nights were drawing on, an extraordinary meeting took place in the back room of The Dog and Biscuit Piddletrenthide; a meeting so sensitive and so veiled in secrecy that only now has its occurrence become known. And it is only thanks to persistence and an FOI request from investigative journalist Nosé Parquahar that even today we know what we know or, rather, think we know what we think we know..

Picture the scene: it is the middle of the Cold War and relations between East and West are strained. The Cuban Missile Crisis is only just behind us and in Africa Northern Rhodesia is a thorn in the side of the British government. Tensions are high, diplomacy is at an all time low and intelligence is hard to find - especially in the Cabinet where new Prime Minister Harold Gannex is struggling to find a sober colleague and a bright idea.

Pan to Piddletrenthide and the snug of The Dog and Biscuit where the labour leader is now sharing a brown ale and a pickled egg with Dorset's most famous son: Professor Brian Thrupiece. Currently deeply involved in the both the Soviet and the US space programmes [HERE], he is a veteran of Cuba [HERE], an intermediary between East and West Berlin [HERE] and a pioneer innovator in scientific fields of interest to both sides of the Iron Curtain [HERE]. Professor Thrupiece is the man of the moment, Gannex a Prime Minister notoriously paranoid about the British Secret Service and perhaps a man with his own secrets to hide. The conjunction is intriguing, the possibilities manifold, the tension palpable. So why did they meet and why was the meeting perforce so secretive?

Theories currently include:

  • Both are secretly working for British Intelligence

  • Both are secretly working for Soviet Intelligence

  • Professor Thrupiece is working for British Intelligence, Gannex for Soviet Intelligence

  • Professor Thrupiece is working for Soviet Intelligence, Gannex for British Intelligence

  • Neither is working for either

  • Neither is working

  • Britain isn't working

  • Both like brown ale and pickled eggs

  • Gannex is a Thrupiece admirer

  • Thrupiece needs a new-style Macintosh and is unable to source one like Gannex's

  • Mary Wilson wants the Professor's signature and his recipe for boiled fluff

  • Professor Thrupiece wants an extra £5 more than current currency control then allowed for his forthcoming trip to Switzerland and believes Gannex could "swing it"

  • The meeting is an accident

Journalist and popular historian Ben Ditruth believes that, whatever the rationale, the stakes were high and that matters of great import were in play "I believe that the stakes were high and that matters of great import were in play", he said. "More than that would be mere speculation as there is no record of the meeting and up until now no admission that it even took place. But the two men had a great deal in common and that's telling".

Theories concerning what exactly they had in common are rife and include

  • Both were men

  • Both were alive in late 1964

  • Both were adept in the horizontal-jogging department when the spirit moved [see Marcia Williams (1978) Love, Lies and Lavender Notepaper; Life with Harold [Parliamentary Press] and Shelley-Lulette Sizemore (2007) Laid Back: Professor Thrupiece and I (Threadbone Modern Lives) (The Threadbone Press)

  • Gannex knew Lord Kagan of Wilson, Professor Thrupiece knew Lord Wilson of Gannex

  • Both were at a loose end

  • Both were intrigued by pipe cleaners - Gannex for their scouring property, the other for their fluff-trapping propensity

  • Neither favoured turquoise in a thing costume

Ben Ditruth believes that it is only a matter of time before the full story emerges not least because the high profile of both men means they could never have flown completely under the security service's radar. "It's only a matter of time before the full story emerges not least because the high profile of both men means they could never have flown completely under the security service's radar", he said, thus confirming his own theory that "it's something to do with the security services under whose radar both could not have flown due to their high profiles".


Dog and Biscuit Summit The Wilson-Thrupiece File: [LEFT] The Prime Minister "in his stride" with Professor Thrupiece behind. This was the infamous hence Professor Thrupiece's coy demeanour. [TOP RIGHT] Lord Wilson of Gannex shows his wares. He was a favoured supplier to the Prime Minister of rain-proof products, whilst his relationship to the Thrupiece family is clear. [BOTTOM RIGHT] Harold Gannex, an unknown woman (Doris Oats?), Mrs Gannex and Professor Thrupiece. They were on a march to Aldermaston to protest about the protestations and to show solidarity with the local fluff gleaners.


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