Taking Monty Python’s Flying Circus literally might strike you as unwise but at one North East cinema they really are telling customers . . . “and now for something completely different”.
That something is a carton of Spam-flavoured popcorn to munch (presumably) while watching a live screening of the last performance of Monty Python Live at London’s O2 Arena on Sunday night.
Dedicated ‘Python’ fans will understand why people dressed as Vikings will be handing out the unconventional snacks at the Tyneside Cinema. Others may be mystified.
For the uninitiated, Monty Python’s Flying Circus was the BBC comedy sketch show which broke the rules in the 1960s and went global, meaning all over the world there are people who can recite the dead parrot sketch and sing the Lumberjack Song.
They will also know the lyrics to the Spam Song which was one element of a three-and-a-half-minute sketch set in the Green Midget Café in Bromley where diners are rudely and repeatedly interrupted by Vikings singing heartily about Spam (a tinned luncheon meat that kept Britain going during the Second World War).
It is said that the Spam interventions in the sketch, in which the product is mentioned at least 132 times, is why the word is now used to describe junk emails.
What is certainly true is that the makers of Spam, an American food company called Hormel, were suddenly alerted to the comic properties of their product.
Chris Scott, the Tyneside’s marketing manager, said they were delighted to be giving people the chance to see the eagerly-anticipated Python reunion show on the big screen.
He added: “To help make it an evening our audience won’t forget, and in the spirit of the Pythons’ famous Spam Song, everyone who attends will received a free box of Spam Popcorn in a special limited edition carton.”
At which point, you might have expected him to burst into song: “Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Loverly Spaam, Wonderful Spaaam!”
But he didn’t.