One innocent question resulted in the longest-ever discussion thread, and led to the chronic alcoholism of more than a few of The Derr-anged. At present running to sixty-eight pages (I kid you not) it remains unsolved by all but a few forumites who have been given inside information. Big Dave and Coops have a lot to answer for, as, I suspect, does the Goateed One. Whether this be Mr. Brown or the Devil himself, Iíll let you decide. Iím certain youíll be right either way.


One small word, and yet the bringer of frustration to the forum and threats of violence to the pink parts of Coops and Big Dave.

It sounds so innocent, doesn't it?

On the 13th January 2005, Maid Marion posed the now infamous question "What does Nobacherie mean?" and unwittingly started a debate that has, to date, run for sixty pages.

Fuelled by 'clues' (and I use the term in its broadest possible sense) and taunts from Big Dave and Coops, the quest for the meaning of Nobacherie has, I admit, burrowed its way into my head, where it sits gnawing at my subconscious with its long and yellowed rat-like incisors. It matters not that certain members of the Derr-anged have managed to weasel an answer from the less stoic with a flutter of their eyelashes, because itís not been solved, has it? That, as far as Iím concerned, is just cheating. It doesnít bother me that these misguided individuals (whose names are noted) wonít divulge their answers to anyone else. No, it doesnít. Not in the slightest. No, Iíve always had this twitch.

The Nobacherie Thread is a hair-rippingly intriguing piece of work, which is the main reason why this little article has taken me over two months to write. Every time I sit down to research it, I end up getting drawn in by its mysteries. Before I know it, it's two in the morning, my mug of tea has developed one of those scrotesqueĻ films on top and I realise that the DVD I had on for 'background noise' has actually finished and is now just playing the menu over and over again.

Exhibit A

To me, Nobacherie has become a conundrum comparable to the legendary Voynich Manuscript (and one I'm just as likely to solve) but the real interest lies in the fact that the Nobacherie Thread is probably the best place on the forum to get a glimpse into the workings of the forumite mind.

It all started as a rather civil affair; the initial suggestions concentrated on the logical, phonetic pronunciation (such as 'no battery', 'no-Bach-erie', 'nob a cherry' and the image-conjuring 'nob-achery'), none of which probed its depths too deeply. In fact, it was on the verge of fizzling out, until Big Dave made a calculated appearance with the words "All wrong so far!" sparking the Derr-anged into a collective realisation that an answer was within their reach after all.

Thus began the second phase. With renewed vigour, the Derr-anged now concentrated their efforts on much more imaginative explanations, spurred on by Big Daveís frequent, taunting visits, and the ten cryptic clues that Coops and he left behind one dark, dark day. Iím not going to print them all here, or this son-of-a-bitch will never get written.

Exhibit B

Now, at this point, I must mention that I pride myself on being a very good lateral thinker, with a great interest in words and their origins. You wouldn't believe how many weird and unusual dictionaries I have at home, and frequently refer to. I speak French, Spanish, Italian and Greek, and if youíre feeling geeky, a few Klingon insults. Hey, they come in handy when you want to insult someone without them realising. But these clues? Iíve looked at them day in, day out for the last few months, and even though Iíve managed to work a few of them out, the rest have me completely jiggered. I have considered and reconsidered every meaning, word and letter many, many times, and they still make about as much sense as using your best gaffed coin in a vending machine because you canít be bothered to get any change. I have, however, come to the conclusion that it was not a spontaneous decision by Coops and Big Dave to post these clues. Oh no. This was pre-meditated. This was the forum equivalent of Murder One.

But Iím getting off track here. The most imaginative theory to come out of phase two was the one posted by Go Go Yubari, which I still believe should be the proper explanation. (See Exhibit E).

Ļ Anything with a wrinkled texture that is ultimately distasteful.

Prompted, once again, by Big Dave and his misleading remark "c'mon people, ten clues, ten letters", stage three began with the realisation that Nobacherie may actually be an acronym. Suddenly, the Derr-anged were flooding the thread with all kinds of creative connotations. Now, it's here where something fascinating happens. Fuelled by frustration at both Big Dave and Coops' constant testiculating≤, the Derr-anged rebelled against them by sabotaging the Nobacherie Thread and producing quite a number of spectacularly naughty acronyms.

The progression is illustrated below: Nice Office Boy / Assistant, Can Handle Everything Reliably - 1 Euro Never Orders Brown Around 'Cause He's Evil, Really Incredibly Evil! Never Overpaid Brown's Aide Coops Handles Early Rising Insanely Easily No One But Alice Cooper Handles Everything Right In Every way Never Overpaid, Brown's Aide, Coops Hopes Early Retirement Is Easy Not Only Browns Assistant, Controls Huge Embezzlement Ring In Europe Takes Over, Spouting Silly Pretences On Thread Not Only Brown's Assistant, Can Handle Every Rectal Intrusion Enviably. Never Outdone Brown's Ass-wipe Coops Happily Excels (at) Restraining Insignificant Extroverts Never Ordered Brown's Ass-wipe Coops Has Expertly Realised Insanity's Effects Nubile Oddjobman By Appointment: Cherubic Horny Effete Ridiculously Indecent and Erotic Needing Oral, Brown Anticipates Coops Having Everything Ready, Including Enema Nobbing Older Boys Anally Can Have Extreme Repercussions In England Nobody Orgasms Brown As Conclusively, He Erupts Richly In Entries

Disclaimer: By "Entries", I mean doorways or porticos. And when I talk of erupting richly, I simply mean opening a carton of milkshake or bottle of Tizer clumsily and spilling some of its contents.

Exhibit C

By "orgasms", I am of course referring to the obscure Old Portuguese word for "pleasant walks along the sea frontĒ.

Unfortunately, this lasted only as long as it took for Big Dave to return and chastise them. Thus ended phase three. Pity, really.

Phase four can only be characterised as a general, milling-about-in-confusion phase. Now getting close to the beginning of Derrenís tour, Big Daveís visits were getting less frequent, and the last three clues he left behind were ambiguous to say the least. Left to their own devices and with no possibility of confirmation or denial, the Derr-anged became disoriented, and a lot of them gave up then and there. However, it was the lack of activity in this phase that prompted some of the most creative work to come out of the thread to date. There was RexyPís televisual suggestion for the future (see Exhibit A), the theory from Tedious Phoenix that the Nobacherie Thread was a controlled study by Coops (see Exhibit B), Part-Timerís fantastic song lyrics (see Exhibit F), and my own unsuccessful blackmail attempts (see Exhibits C and D), which would have worked had it not been for that meddling Nobacherie.

Exhibit D

And now? Well, I suppose phase five has seen the Nobacherie gang split into two factions, with those that have managed to gain access to an answer popping in from time to time to refuse to tell all to those who havenít. Some forumites have simply drifted away. Others emerge once in a while like demented old cat ladies, waving empty bottles of gin and snapping at intruders. Yet others can be found sitting in the corners of the thread, surrounded by scraps of paper and chanting the clues over and over again, oblivious to all that is not Nobacherie.

Nobacherie. Destroyer of Sanity.

As a final little experiment, send a text to the ĎAQAí question-answering service. Ask them what the word Nobacherie means, and you will get this response:

"Nobacherie is a piece of music written and performed by amateur musicians, and soon to be released on a Derren Brown-themed CD"

And therein lies the final irony. In their struggle to define this mysterious word, the Derr-anged have, unknowingly, defined it for the rest of the world. Time to find a new title, Mr. Coops. And this time, I beg you, donít broadcast it.


≤ The animated waving of the arms while talking bollocks.

Exhibit A

The secret behind "Nobacherie"...

Deep in the Cotwolds, in the meadow behind the post office where Keira the Jersey cow masticates buttercups, there stands an old, shabby cottage called "Nobacherie". Eldritch blue roses twine around the front porch and swivel their heads to follow the moon, insalubrious ivy shrouds the window-panes, and noisy snails roost in the thatched eaves, honking to each other in vile mating rituals. No-one but an old, misshapen woman (with a back so lumpy it resembles a great big meringue) lives in this cottage. Her name is Vera Cooper and she hobbles everywhere on a plywood cane carved into the shape of an octopus tentacle. There is but one purpose in Vera Cooper's life. To guard the treasure hidden in the airing cupboard, a weird old painting swaddled in sack cloth and tied with special knots.

She is very proud of her responsibility, but is perhaps even more proud of her grandson, who is currently working in London as a PA to some magician bloke off the telly. At least, that is what people are led to believe. In fact he is using his knowledge of the portrait in the airing cupboard, and the heinous secret that it holds, to blackmail the magician into keeping his more extravagant excesses under control. If it weren't for that portrait, lurking unguessed among the damp camisole knickers and threadbare Y-fronts (what an old woman is doing with Y-fronts in her airing cupboard we can only guess at!), the magician would be free to wreak some altogether foul and unspeakable acts upon humanity, without fear of reprisals.

As it is, the portrait strikes such terror and revulsion into the heart of the morally corrupt but achingly handsome magician, that he obeys every single command that his young, tangle-haired PA dictates. But just in case the magician should forget, the assistant insists that he should be known as "Nobacherie" at all times, in honour of the obscure and terrible nemesis that lurks hidden in the idyllic cottage in the Cotwolds.

Exhibit F

[Note: The word seems to be pronounced 'no-bash-er-ee', but where marked * 'nob-asher-eye', as no one on the forum knew the correct pronunciation at that stage. Sung by Spasm the Cat and Part-Timer, with bits in bold representing solos by Spasm and words in italics added by Part-Timer, in his best Cockney costermonger bib and tucker (with spoons). It is to the tune of 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'.]


Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.

Those two great divs think they are smart,
For giving clues to me.
If I read them any more,
I’ll need some pills, you see.

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.

When I was on DB’s forum,
A thread I did espy.
Maid Marion had posted thus,
” What is nobacherie?*”
I wracked my brains and tugged my scalp,
Clues running round my head.
I couldn’t fathom many out,
So this is what I said:

This sneaky pair makes me despair,
With their tomfoolery.
You wouldn’t find credits like this,
Watching the BBC.

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.

She banged her head upon the desk,
And left a nasty dent.
She’d swear and curse and oh, much worse,
While thinking what it meant.
When Spasm’s mindmap shed no light,
She wouldn’t take my calls.
She muttered something about Coops,
And cutting off his..nose.

The clues they’ve left make little sense,
So have a cup of tea.
You need to let it go, I think,
I’m down on bended knee.

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.

You know, to say it another way,
but that's going a bit too far, don't you think?


SpasmTheCat is out of luck,
But never fret, my dears,
She won’t abandon that old thread,
If solving it takes years.
I must admit that I’m concerned,
In case it affects her life.
Oh look! Is that them over there?
Spasm, put down that knife!

*Big finish*

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