Radio waves

So, what about Brexit, then? Only kidding, we're not really going to take a look at that whole unholy mess - I just wanted to imagine the reaction of regular readers of this column and the look on both of their faces when they read the opening line.

No, today I'd like to consider the rather more edifying subject of extraterrestial life forms. Apparently some scientists with a huge telescope in Canada have picked up a series of eerie radio signals from approximately 1.5 billion light years away which fact rules out DJ Smiley from the Toronto FM breakfast show being the culprit, one would presume. The more boring explanations for these episodes is something to do with neutron stars but I nodded off as soon as I began to investigate the details of this hypothesis more deeply. Luckily, however, a few maverick experts are suggesting that the source of it all is alien spaceships. This, obviously, is a much more exciting and appealing prospect; it's about time we were paid a visit from some far flung galaxy, if only to temporalily distract us from our myriad current follies.

In popular culture, aliens have been - more often than not - portrayed as either malevolent or more advanced than us or, indeed, both. I suppose, by definition, if you're able to build a spacecraft that can traverse a galaxy or two, it would make you a bit more mentally agile than those in charge of UK rail services, but that's not to say they'd be good at everything we're good at - a big night out, for example. I don't know why, but intuition tells me that extra terrestrials wouldn't have a clue how to organise a Friday evening shindig. Mind you, as far as I recall from my brief sojourn there, they're not so good at that sort of thing in Canada either. Too busy hiking, drinking coffee all afternoon and, so it would seem, staring intently into humungous telescopes. We'd do well, then, to encourage any alien life form intent on passing our way, to pop into a kebab shop in Darlington at midnight on the weekend if we were serious about giving them an insight into our more interesting cultural habits.

I don't imagine they'd be too good at sports or making detective series or gardening or baking apple crumble either. It's all very well devoting your life's work to building spaceships but there are some essential life skills that you just know extra terrestrials would be really rubbish at.

Mind you, having said all of that, they'd almost certainly have made a better fist of Brexit than we have. Let's face it, so would anyone.