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  • This is the Technical Difficulties, we're playing 'Citation Needed'.

  • Joining me today, he reads books y'know, it's Chris Joel.

  • 'Ey up.

  • Everybody's favourite Gary Brannan, Gary Brannan.

  • Here's a thought: earlier today, Noel Edmonds was entirely naked.

  • Just imagine.

  • And standing in for Matt Gray, the mouth from the south, Will Seaward.

  • Hello!

  • I'm not from Yorkshire.

  • Get him out(!)

  • In front of me I've got an article from Wikipedia, and these folks can't see it.

  • Every fact they get right is a point and a ding,

  • and there's a special prize for particularly good answers, which is:

  • Today, we are talking about Julie d'Aubig..

  • d'Aubig?...

  • D'Aubigny.

  • This is it.

  • Forty minutes of this, try and stay with us.

  • To be fair, I am not French.

  • And if...

  • No way.

  • Really?

  • If I were English, I'd pronounce this as der-orb-ig-ny,

  • but I think it's d'Aubigny.

  • D'Aubigny sounds fine.

  • Let's go with d'Aubigny, yes.

  • Better known as Mademoiselle Maupin.

  • Mopin.

  • Moppin.

  • I'm not French.

  • This is going to be

  • It's a French article.

  • I'll be honest, it's downhill from here.

  • The whole thing's not in French, is it?

  • No, it's not.

  • M-A-U-P-I-N.

  • P-I-N?

  • Maupin.

  • Mau-pin.

  • Madame Maupin.

  • Was she a mistress of Louis XIV?

  • It's a long list, if it is.

  • Let's face it(!)

  • Born to Gaston d'Aubigny, a secretary to the Master of the Horse...

  • for King Louis XIV.

  • It's not close enough to have a point,

  • but she was certainly-

  • A secretary for a horse, would you believe?

  • [whinnies] "Take that down.

  • "Read it back?"

  • [whinnies] "Sir, I know it's very sad, but why the long face?"

  • You're absolutely right that she was a mistress, but to a Count.

  • So I'm going to give you a point for that.

  • To the... oh, god.

  • A mistress to-

  • French names.

  • Count d'Armagnac?

  • D'Armagnac.

  • Tom, what have you done to yourself?

  • It's not gone well. It's not gone well.

  • D'Armagnac. Go on.

  • Became a mistress by the age of 14, because pre-French Revolution.

  • But by that point, she had learned a lot of things,

  • by learning alongside the court pages.

  • Okay.

  • Is that an artful euphemism?

  • No, it's not.

  • Is it an artless euphemism?

  • No, her father trained the court pages.

  • So what did Julie learn alongside them?

  • Words.

  • I'll give you a point.

  • Numbers.

  • Yes, reading as well.

  • Standing very still.

  • Going "ooh" at the right moment, when the king comes in.

  • Yes, all that kind of stuff.

  • Polishing pointy bits of gold chairs.

  • There's a couple of other skills that a page would have in those days.

  • Carrying things.

  • Putting things down.

  • Something a little more violent.

  • Swording!

  • Yes.

  • Swording!

  • Which is an artless euphemism.

  • Swording.

  • She learned to fence, and then dressed as a boy from an early age.

  • She got involved with an assistant fencing master.

  • The police were then looking for him, to arrest him.

  • What had he done?

  • You know he's got a sword in his hand?

  • Yeah.

  • You know he waves it around in a violent fashion?

  • Mm.

  • Did he - perchance and taking a puntdid he stab someone?

  • Yes.

  • I'm looking for something specific here.

  • What might be a reason for stabbing someone, pre-Revolution?

  • Being slightly upset.

  • In which case, you would do what?

  • - Oh, a duel! - Stab 'em!

  • A duel! You'd fight a duel.

  • Yes.

  • The man she was involved with killed a man in an illegal duel,

  • so they fled the city, to Marseilles.

  • How did she earn her living on the way south?

  • Fighting for money.

  • Yes.

  • F***!

  • Giving fencing exhibitions, and also, singing.

  • She was a talented singer.

  • Singing and fencing at the same time would be a hell of an act, wouldn't it?

  • Opera.

  • Which I believe had been invented at that point.

  • And not only that; she joined an opera company.

  • Have a point.

  • For full operatic effect, did she die of tuberculosis at the end?

  • We've seen very different versions of Aida.

  • Made it to Marseilles.

  • Grew bored of her lover.

  • Not what I thought you were going to say.

  • Grew bored of this humdrum, dull life of opera singing and fencing.

  • Decides to become an accountant.

  • She ran away somewhere, and she ran away with someone.

  • To Nice.

  • With a man from Nice(!)

  • Right, you are wrong about Nice, and you are also wrong about a man.

  • With a woman!

  • Yes.

  • From a place that isn't Nice!

  • I'm not giving you a point for that, but it's Avignon.

  • So yes.

  • Oh, I was going to say Poitiers. So close.

  • But she was running away,

  • because the girl was sent away by her parents.

  • Where was the other girl sent to?

  • A convent?

  • Yes, absolutely right.

  • So she followed, entering the convent, and-

  • With swords.

  • Let's face it, you get in most places

  • if you turn up waving swords around, singing opera.

  • No, she went into the convent,

  • and then tried to free her lover from the convent.

  • This is a hell of an opera in itself, let's face it.

  • I like to think that everybody is singing all the way through this.

  • Yes, I do.

  • It's a full-on Rodgers and Hammerstein, this.

  • Could we talk through the plan, the scheme that she went through,

  • the heist that she pulled?

  • And it's quite a dark heist,

  • Did it involve swords?

  • to get her and her lover out of the convent.

  • Did the nuns have swords?

  • Er, not to my knowledge, although-

  • "Bloodbath at convent!"

  • But frankly, 'Sister Act 3', it's going to be absolutely amazing.

  • But then it should have been a very easy heist!

  • "Give me my ...ing lover, or I'll chop you all to pieces."

  • As negotiating tactics go, it's normally successful, I find.

  • Well, they were trying to cover their tracks.

  • What kind of scheme would you pull to do that?

  • You would pretend to be a doctor.

  • And you'd say, "This nun has a terrible disease!

  • "All of you will get the disease.

  • She must come with me immediately."

  • And the nuns would go, "Oh, a doctor has said so."

  • Then the doctor would also have a sword, and they

  • Yes, and they were listening, because he wasSINGING ♪!

  • And then we have the interval.

  • That's the way it goes.

  • Er, no.

  • She would pretend to be a policeman.

  • and she would say, "This nun has committed a terrible crime!

  • "She must come with me immediately."

  • But she was charged, in absentia,

  • for kidnapping, bodysnatching, and arson.