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This should be a round on some sort of panel game show. I can see it going down quite well on "I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue" for starters.

The inspiration for this comes from a while back. I was feeling peckish and wanted something warm that I could brew up in cold times of the year without too much effort. I'd also been invited to a gig by a certain Brazilian thrash band, at which I was meeting someone and there was a possibility of going back her house for a spot of hide the sausage. Which there wasn't in the end (though there was some, erm, courting), but I figured it was only wise to go prepared. So I trundled out to my friendly neighbourhood corner shop and bought the following:

  • 1 can oxtail soup

  • 1 box 3 condoms (ribbed for her pleasure)

I then thought about how purchases and things are all tracked and snooped on for marketing and security purposes, and thought to myself, what sort of a person do they think I honestly am given the above? Some sort of depraved Heinz fetishist? Someone who was gonna put the cream in cream of tomato? Granted, there was an entirely reasonable explanation for both (impending date and hunger) but would the powers that be see it that way? I think not.

And Explain That Shopping List was born.

It goes like this - each player has to read out a shopping list which makes the shopper sound somehow suspicious, and the others have to come up with a suitably innocent yet plausible explanation for it. Better still if they're real shopping lists and till receipts that people have found. Points are awarded for the plausibility of the explanation as well as its creativity. However it must not be at all compromising. In the above example, the explanation might be that I was going on a survival holiday, because you can use condoms to store quantities of water, and oxtail soup doesn't go off or anything like that.

Another example would of course be from the Bolivia Special episode of Top Gear where the producers left Jeremy, James, and Richard a box of stuff to aid them in driving across the Andes in ageing 4x4s, containing a winch, a chainsaw, condoms, vaseline, Viagra, and tampons. All of them got used. The winch and chainsaw were fairly obvious, but the condoms were to keep things dry, the vaseline and tampons were to block the fuel tank from getting water into it, and the Viagra was to prevent their hearts exploding at high altitude. Also, from Guts by Chuck Palahniuk, a carrot and vaseline.

I'm sure you can invent some more lists to put in this if you use your creativity. Needle-nosed pliers, sugar, weedkiller, and a Dr Seuss hat, for a start. A G-string and a packet of ping-pong balls for another.


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