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Broadsheets | Anorak - Part 78

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Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers

Better Safe Than Sorry

‘BURIED deep on page 10 of the Telegraph is news of Tory shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin’s new plans for paedophiles, which consists of tracking them by satellite.

Noncebuster I

He describes them as ”careful and measured” and does not want them to lead to ”a slippery slope where everyone is tracked every minute of our working day”.

But why not? After all, the current system doesn’t work, does it?

As things stand, the paedo monsters are required to report regularly to police stations, which was convenient and discreet, given that they were all employed there anyway.

The problem came with the 50 per cent of the police force who are on sick leave at any particular time. How do we monitor them?

This problem is illustrated by the case of Sgt Nigel Miller, the police officer who hit the headlines by running the line at the Leeds v Man United match last week while on sick leave from work.

There is of course no suggestion that Sgt Miller is a paedophile, but there is a clear danger that the public might jump to the wrong conclusion if they were to discover his profession.

The Times reports that the Football Association has sensibly decided to take him off this weekend’s Newcastle v Sunderland derby, where a large and emotional mob is sure to gather.

He will officiate at a more low-profile fixture instead, with Peterborough United the most likely venue.

Posted: 19th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Cold Comfort

‘WHEN Trevor Perry sued Dr Helen Young for (inadvertently) passing on a cold while treating him, he must have been over the moon at pocketing £227 in damages.

”Anyway, you’re not even a real doctor”

But now he is coughing up himself: £931.25 to be precise. The Telegraph reports that he was ordered to pay £881.25 plus £50 costs after Salisbury Health Care Trust successfully applied for the initial ruling to be overturned.

After the ruling, Mr Perry ”ran from the court with his jacket over his head”.

Why? To hide a six-inch growth on his neck he claims he contracted from drinking McDonald’s coffee.

Posted: 19th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Loud And Proud

‘TECHNOLOGICAL innovations often come from unlikely sources. Never forget, without space travel, scientists would never have invented the non-stick frying pan.

With an engine like a Renault Twingo

(The preceding fascinating fact is one of thousands from the forthcoming Anorak Bumper Book Of Facts And Figures For Young People.)

Now Jay and Jason Plugge, two inventors from California, have introduced a new twist into an old lemon.

They have built a contraption that, in the careful words of the Telegraph, ”could soon be able to recreate the throaty roar of a Ferrari Testarossa inside a Mini Metro”.

Great, think the teenage boy racers of Essex, now we can install this device in our rust-buckets and drive the local population mad!

Only problem is, the noise is channelled into the car itself, and can only be played inside the car itself.

Thus giving an ideal excuse to crank that in-car hi-fi system up from 11 to 12. Sorted!

Posted: 19th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Alpha Test

‘MARGARET Cook, the former wife of bearded heartthrob Robin, ”has been studying ‘the nature of power, sexuality and government”’, according to the Telegraph. And we have to admit that, judging by the accompanying picture, she’s looking well on it.

Robin gets ready to shake his fishing rod in a really nasty way

With her casual ethnic T-shirt, youthful hairdo and sunny smile, she looks like a woman without a care in the world. But the conclusions of her study, which has taken her the best part of three years, are of an altogether darker nature.

Based on a detailed examination of the lives of Mao, Hitler, Kennedy and others, she has come to the conclusion that men are bastards.

This, of course, was the message of Margaret’s last book, which detailed the break-up of her marriage to the ginger sex-machine, and, as the Telegraph comments, she ”appears to be warming to the theme”.

Male leaders, she contends, fall into two categories: alpha male gorillas who impregnate as many women as possible, and those who channel their aggression into sabre-rattlers.

And then there are those who grow beards, go horseracing and get off with their secretary. ”I think he was trying to fit into the first type but with varying degrees of success,” says Margaret of her former hubby. ”He is definitely not a sabre-rattler.”

Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


One Of Us?

‘BRIDGET Jones had her own theories about men, of course, and she wasn’t averse to the occasional bunk-up with a powerful man. But not just any old world leader, though.

Is David ready to settle down with Mr Right?

”Tony Blair is the first Prime Minister I can imagine having voluntary sex with,” she confessed after Our Leader’s 1997 election victory – a day greeted with cries of ”Hurrah!” by the most irritating fictional character of the past decade.

One might conclude that Tony and Bridget deserve one another, but shadow Work and Pensions Secretary David Willetts begs to differ. In his view, expressed in today’s Independent, Bridget is ”one of us” (a Tory) because she yearns to find a man and settle down.

Now, far be it from us to comment on Mr Willetts’ private life, but isn’t he being a little short-sighted here? We’re all for the Conservative Party’s new ”come one come all” attitude to sexual diversity but we’re not sure that it is necessarily the solution to their current electoral difficulties.

All the same, we hope Mr Willetts finds his man, and a safe seat in which they will both be comfortable.

Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Forces Majeure

‘THE army is always complaining about being undermanned, and has tried various methods to boost recruitment, such as letting overweight cry-baby teenagers into the parachute regiment and allowing pregnant grandmothers to join frontline troops.

”One second he was there,” says Sgt Alan Bark of Private ‘Vanishing’ John Tench, ” and the next he wasn’t”

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the latest cunning plan is a real cracker. The Times reports that soldiers who go absent without leave will now be allowed back in the army, in a move that ”aims to reconnect the runaway soldier and the military”.

There are thought to be about 600,000 deserters, many of whom live in rural communities, where they sleep in trees and live off the carcasses of sheep slaughtered during the foot-and-mouth epidemic. Others work as consultants on reality TV shows.

Most leave the forces for relatively trivial reasons, it transpires. ”Sometimes soldiers go Awol because they have overslept and missed a train at the end of their leave,” explains Colonel Eccles, of the Army personnel unit at the Adjutant General’s office.

And others, such as those in the Territorials, enjoy the uniforms and the camping, but make themselves scarce when a war comes along.

But if any old soldiers out there are reading this, and you fancy three square meals a day and football every afternoon, then do get in touch. They miss you, you know. They really do.

Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A Rose By Any Other Name?

‘A FILM’S title is seldom a reliable indication of its contents, any more than the judiciously edited quotes on the poster (unless, of course, the phrase ”one of the best foreign films of the year” is used – translation: avoid at all costs).

Fat Bird Sinks Big Ship

But when a movie transfers to foreign shores, the Guardian reports that it isn’t just a question of subtitles and dubbing: the title itself must be changed too.

Out go the euphemism and whimsy of precious Hollywood. In comes the bracing literalism of the Chinese market, where a film is expected to do exactly what it says on the tin.

Boogie Nights thus finds itself rejoicing in the title His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous. Dumb and Dumber becomes Two Stupid Stupid People, while Pretty Woman is known to millions of Eastern punters as I’m Rich But I Like Prostitutes.

Even art house stalwarts don’t escape the brutal Eastern logic – Wretch! Let Me Chop Off Your Finger! is better known as The Piano among the carrot cake crowd.

Here at Anorak we can only applaud such frankness, and remind readers not to miss Channel 4’s major new literary adaptation tonight, Over-Hyped Re-Run of Kureishi, Rushdie and Amis.

Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Grade Expectations

‘IT’S hardly surprising that kids can’t tell the time any more, given that our educators have difficulty recognising even two-digit numbers.

New Oxford & Cambridge examiners’ guide

”Exam board misread 41 marks as just 14” says the Times. The story concerns the fate of Jennifer Brown, whose efforts in economics were rewarded with a ”U” grade after getting 41 marks out of a possible 45, which should have received an ”A”.

Jennifer discovered the mistake when she asked to see her paper, and saw the mark at the top. And it turns out that she is not alone.

Louis Gearing, who was head boy at the Knights Templar School in Bladock, has just received a ”U” for his history coursework, and thus missing out on the overall ”B” that he required to get into Oxford.

His work was shown to another examiner, who professed himself extremely surprised by the ”U” grade, which he believed should have been a ”D” if not a ”C”.

It’s a sorry state of affairs, to be sure. Here at Anorak, we suggest that every student’s work should be automatically raised by two grades, just to be on the safe side.

That would bring the average score up to a ”B” – the equivalent of the old ”U” grade back in the days when A-Levels were worth the payper they was ritten on.

Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Good Old Days

‘THE Times indulges in a little harmless nostalgia today, as it looks back on the days when public schoolboys got their kicks swinging truncheons at the heads of striking ”workers”.

”Oi, common people. Tristram here’s got a joke for you…”

”The interest from the public schools in encouraging participation in the countryside march calls to mind a previous occasion when livelihoods were at stake and the country’s famous educational institutions rushed to be a part of the action,” muses the former paper of record.

”Spending a few days as a ‘scab’ worker during the 1926 General Strike was one of the most fondly remembered rites of passage for those just emerging from an expensive education.”

Having scrutinised this article carefully, and noted its appearance on the page 2, under the heading ”NEWS”, we confess that we are mystified by its appearance, given the complete absence of any discernible news content.

Delighted and entertained by this agreeable morsel, as all those of good breeding will be, but baffled nonetheless.

Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


DIY Babies

‘SHOPPING list: A dozen eggs, a litre of milk (semi-skinned), two packs of cheese slices and a cucumber. Oh, and a blonde, blue-eyed baby girl. After all, why have a boy when men will so very soon be completely redundant?

”All men are bastards!” Little Joyce says her first words

The Telegraph this morning reports on the opening of Europe’s first fertility centre solely for lesbians and single women wanting a DIY baby.

The Women’s New Life Centre opens today on Harley Street in response to what founder John Gonzales describes as ”the insensitive way in which lesbians and single women are treated by a number of clinics due to social prejudice”.

After all, when two lesbians have sex, it is only social prejudice that prevents one – or indeed both – partners conceiving. And it is social prejudice that is responsible for the low incidence of virgin births in the last two millennia.

If Gonzales, who has already set up a website – mannotincluded.com – to help lesbians find sperm donors, is successful in getting a licence, then it is surely only a matter of time before man becomes extinct (or used only to reach tins on high shelves and take the rubbish out).

Which would be a classic example of a turkey voting for Christmas.

Posted: 16th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Same Old Tory

‘ONE job that will no doubt forever be filled mostly be men is that of Tory MP. They may be a dying species but, even after a year of modernisation, it is good to see that XY chromosome is still the dominant force in the Conservative party.

”And I say to you, that I too am agrieved that white, middle class men still take all the top jobs”

The Guardian turns the spotlight on the 29 candidates chosen so far to contest the next General Election. And what an attractive bunch they are.

Voters of Eastleigh, you can once again enjoy the wit and repartee of Conor Burns, whose put-downs to hecklers include calling students ”spastics” and a woman demonstrator ”a hunchback”.

Colchester, prepare to welcome back Kevin Bentley, famous only for getting thrown out of the town’s Hippodrome club for wearing a suit.

Residents of Gloucester, you are invited once again to reject Paul James, whose 15 minutes of fame occurred when it was discovered that he had paid an asylum seeker £5 an hour to work in his garden, while calling for all asylum seekers to be locked up.

If you have noticed that the three candidates above are all men, don’t fret – there are actually six female candidates. If you suspected that the three candidates are all white, your suspicions are well founded – there is not a single member of an ethnic minority among the 29 selected so far.

In a time of dizzying social and cultural change, thank God you can rely on the Tory Party.

Posted: 16th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Licence To Cheat

‘THE Tory party was traditionally the party of law and order until a young shadow home secretary by the name of Anthony Linton Blair stole the mantle with his famous ”tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” mantra.

”If you don’t all pay the licence fee in full by noon tomorrow, the BBC will renew its contract with Vanessa Feltz. You have been warned”

What would Tony (as he prefers to be known) Blair make, then, of the story on the front page of the Telegraph that reveals that in many areas of the country fines for watching TV without a licence are actually less than the licence fee itself.

In Wiltshire, TV viewers seeking to dodge the £112 fee are hit with an average fine of £198, while in Cumbria fee-dodgers only have to cough up £63.

”Many of those fined simply carry on watching TV without a licence,” explains the paper about a policy that even a member of the magistrates’ association national council admits is ”ludicrous”.

Time for the Tories to steal back their mantle with public executions for licence fee dodgers – not only an effective deterrent but, when filmed and broadcast just before National Lottery Extra, great entertainment for us law-abiding citizens.

Posted: 16th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fully Booked

‘THERE’S nothing new about writers in residence. Is there a football club, police station or merchant bank in the land that doesn’t have its own poet, artist or storyteller?

”I wandered lonely as a cloud, Until I came upon the Savoy…”

But can there be a more agreeable gig than the one that Fay Weldon has just landed?

The Times reports that the veteran novelist will be living for the next three months in a £290-a-night room at the Savoy. Here she will dispense bon mots for the delectation of the guests at the occasional literary dinner, but the hotel does not expect her to do any actual writing.

Not surprisingly, Weldon finds this arrangement very much to her liking.

”I would rather be writer-in-residence at the Savoy than writer-in-residence at a university,” she says. ”My friends who do that have tiny little concrete rooms. They look out through bars at a desolate on to a desperate campus.”

Look through bars? Are you sure it’s a university you’re thinking of, Fay?

But wait, there’s more… As though living in concrete cells weren’t bad enough, Fay’s unfortunate friends also have to ”teach and help writers” – and, as Fay cruelly points out, ”it’s very hard work”.

Weldon hit the headlines recently when her novel The Bulgari Connection was sponsored by the famous jewellery company, but there is no question of the Savoy expecting similar plugs.

Well, maybe just a suggestion. ”She doesn’t have to mention us at all,” says Pat Carter, the Savoy’s head of PR, in the Telegraph. ”Though you never know, some of the history of the hotel might just rub off on her.”

Funnily enough, Fay seems to agree. ”I often mention Claridges in my books and have often stayed there,” she comments waspishly. ”I can see that it wouldn’t be too wicked to change Claridges to the Savoy just once.”

Posted: 13th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dog Days

‘GIANT posters have sprung up all over Paris, depicting two pieces of excrement, one large and one small.

Artistic Impression: 5.9

But what does it mean? Is it an ecological protest? Or perhaps a typically acid statement about Bully Bush and Little Tony?

Not at all: the truth lies closer to home. The poster refers to the city’s legendary quantities of merde du chien.

”It is an old joke that Parisians know little about the architecture of their city because they walk along, eyes fixed on the pavement to avoid treading in the excrement.”

Well, so the Telegraph claims. And so, it seems do the French authorities. They have made numerous attempts to deal with the problem, including teams of scooters armed with vacuum cleaners.

Previous posters showed disabled people walking helplessly towards piles of the stuff, and the excrement is said to cause 650 accidents a year as people slip up on it.

Yet the paper concludes that Parisians ”would rather tiptoe along filthy pavements than clean up after their dogs”. Or lift a finger to help the guardians of the free world.

Posted: 13th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Suspicious Minds

‘FIRST the Soham detective, then Tony Blair. With practically every leading figure in British society now under investigation for unsavoury practices of one sort or another, the forces of investigation are stretched to the limit (a practice which will itself soon be illegal).

”Anyone going to vet me?”

The problem is at its most extreme in our schools, where hundreds of thousands of teachers are having their chequered pasts scrutinised by teams of suspicious investigators.

Or rather, by teams of investigators with suspicions. Now the Telegraph tells us that older children who act as voluntary helpers in schools are to be vetted too, thanks to new strict rules.

And the backlog is worse than ever, with literally millions of them waiting to be checked. And this will of course necessitate more vetters. And who will vet them?

Posted: 13th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


New York Story

‘TODAY is the day after the day when one year ago hell broke loose in New York. And the papers have replaced yesterday’s pictures of survivors and the killed with shots of their grieving relatives.

Public Enemy No.2

Page after page, the papers watch moments of private prayer, photographing mourners at Ground Zero and relatives of the British victims as they paid tribute to the dead in a service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Not being able to find the words to frame the tragedy, the papers choose instead to speak at great length. But other news does puncture the front-page balloon of despair.

The Telegraph talks of changes to laws on hunting foxes; the Times says that Tony Blair’s initiative to cut down street crime is failing; and the Guardian says that George Bush is to address the General Assembly of the United Nations today to say how and why he wants to hunt down Saddam Hussein.

It seems no coincidence that what news there is beyond the New York story should be concerned with hunting down the enemy, whether it be a fox, a mugger or a despotic leader.

But the Guardian’s story requires the most attention because what George Bush says could trigger a new wave of war.

What George Bush says is so often the stuff of comedy. Only this could be the blackest comedy yet.

Posted: 12th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


First Family Of Comedy

‘WHEN the made-for-TV movie of the Bush clan is produced, it will have us rolling in our armchairs, before falling on the floor and choking on our snacks.

”Have you heard the one about the three chads?”

Aside from the Pretzel President (Bill Murray), and George Senior’s (Steve Martin) hilarious barf over at a state dinner in Tokyo in 1992, the show will be stolen by the antics of Jeb Bush (Jim Carrey).

Jeb is the Governor of Florida, a state where hanging chads, pregnant chads and all manner of dangerous stationery allowed his brother to become the leader of the free world.

And now Jeb’s back doing what he does best, masterfully orchestrating yet more brilliant political satire.

The Guardian reports from the Sunshine State, where Governor Bush has declared a state of emergency.

The hotly contested race for the Democratic nomination for governor between Janet Reno and Bill McBride turned into farce when hundreds of voters were unable to vote because of machinery breakdowns and other problems.

And with the vote so close – Ms Reno commands 46 per cent of the vote to McBride’s 42 per cent – a recount might have to be ordered.

And once more the Bush clan will have turned an everyday event into a case of high drama, high tension and low, low comedy.

Posted: 12th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bird Brains

‘WHEN war does come, whose side will you be on? Will you be a sly pig, able to tell bare-snouted porkies? Or will you be a chicken, blessed with a gift for copying those higher in the pecking order?

”Four A-levels and a degree from Oxford and I still can’t get a job”

It’s a big question, and one that might need answering should research carried out by Mike Mendl of the University of Bristol find that animals are not as dumb as they like to make out.

Speaking in the Times, Mr Mendl says that in studies pigs have displayed enough nous to indicate a ”theory of mind”, able to reason and solve puzzles.

In the Guardian, we learn that chickens can learn from each other, which is a lesson to us all. And news that should send a cold chill down the spine of the hawkish George Bush and his lapdog, Tony Blair.

Posted: 12th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fungus And The Bogeyman

‘IT has become a truism that September 11th 2001 was the day the world changed forever. It is one the papers are happy to trot out again this morning, with the Telegraph advertising its special supplement looking at ”the year in which the course of history changed”.

Tony plays trump card in bid to win support for war with Iraq

But for some people the change has been more obvious than for others. Take Iraqi scientist Adil Nadeer, who tells the Telegraph: ”I used to have an American wife…now I have two Iraqi wives.”

We leave it to others to determine whether that is a good swap, but merely report the observation of one of Nadeer’s colleagues. ”These mushrooms, they give him lots of energy,” he said, winking broadly.

The mushrooms in question are being grown at the Tuweitha nuclear facility, 15 miles from Baghdad. And that is just about the only thing that is being developed there, according to the Iraqis who branded our beloved leader Tony Blair ”an absolute liar” for suggesting otherwise.

”It is a ridiculous and pathetic excuse to unleash aggression against the Iraqi people,” Kamal Muhammed tells the Telegraph. Whether British MPs will agree or not is debatable, but they will at least get the chance to debate the issue of military action against Iraq.

The Independent says Blair is likely to recall Parliament for a couple of days next week to examine the ”long-awaited” dossier of evidence against Saddam Hussein. But who needs a dossier when the Iraqis are happy to condemn themselves?

Back to Tuweitha and Faiz Albayrakdar takes journalists to a shed ”where Iraq has allegedly resumed research for the production of nuclear material”. It is, says Mr Albayrakdar, now used for experiments on mice and rabbits.

If Britain was undecided before, this will surely make up people’s minds. Gassing your own population with chemical weapons is one thing, but making bunny rabbits chain-smoke their way through packets of B&H is quite another.

Posted: 11th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Silent Night

‘CAN we claim credit for spotting the first ‘Christmas is cancelled’ story of the year – a whopping 15 weeks before turkey time?

”Dear Little Jimmy. Since your pathetic showing in the carol service, I am sending you no presents this year or the next. Yours, Santa”

Organisers of a school carol contest in North Shields have been warned off the idea because educationalists fear that the losers will be so traumatised by the experience that they will have a miserable Christmas.

”They frowned on the idea and told me a competition was unfair because someone always has to lose,” Maggie Richardson, president of the local chamber of trade, told the Times. ”I’m not taking their advice about this – it’s political correctness gone too far.” Not mad, you understand, just too far.

Mrs Richardson is planning to arrange a baby brawling contest in the town square instead.

Posted: 11th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Egging Them On

‘IAN Huntley drew a crowd that many Division 3 football teams would be happy with on his first appearance in court yesterday to answer charges that he murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

”Well, it is a nice day out for the kiddies. And much better value than Legoland”

If it is sometimes hard to understand the motivation of people who are happy to give up their Tuesday nights to follow Exeter City against Scunthorpe, just what kind of person turns out on a Tuesday morning to throw eggs at a police van?

People like 12-year-old Lisia Harvey, who was waving a placard urging ”Bring back hanging now” and ”And eye for an eye, a life for a life and who explains to the Guardian: ”The girls didn’t get a chance to speak, and I wanted to be here to speak for them.”

People like 26-year-old Marie Bland, who waited outside court for hours with her two-year-old daughter Gemma and who told the Times: ”I know the police asked us to stay away, but I felt I had to come to show support for the girls’ parents.”

We are sure this is just what the poor girls’ parents want – not to mention the dozens of police officers who could have spent the afternoon trying to prevent crime rather than looking after a bunch of lunatics.

Posted: 11th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Can’t Cope

‘EVERY day brings news of a new and more esoteric trauma suffered by a hapless member of the British public. And, sure as night follows day, there will be a lawyer at hand to help the healing process with a nice little compensation payout.

”God bless the lawyers, for they are good…”

Yesterday we had an epileptic coughing up £3,500 to a woman who had been upset by the sight of his fit. Today we have the sorry case of Pollyanna Molloy.

Unlike her famous fictional namesake, Pollyanna does not seem to be blessed by boundless optimism. In fact, she always seems to look on the dark side of life. The Telegraph reports that the she is suing Lincoln Cathedral for the ”mental anguish” she has suffered by being passed over for an honour for senior choristers.

The 13-year-old schoolgirl says she is ”utterly devastated” by the decision to allow a younger, less experienced girl to lead processions in the nave while wearing a special cape known as a ”cope”.

One can sympathise with Molloy’s disappointment, were it not for the fact that her reverse-Pollyanna syndrome means that she will now get her day in court – with the approval of her parents, who surely would have been better employed sympathising with her and encouraging her to put the disappointment behind her.

”I don’t see why the cathedral should get away with it,” says angry dad Michael Molloy. We recommend that he read and reflect upon the words of William Cowper: ”God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.”

Posted: 10th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


His Amisn’t True

‘MARTIN AMIS is a very clever man. So clever, in fact, that he knows everything. But surely that’s impossible, you are thinking. After all, nobody knows everything – except God, of course.

Another session with Uncle Joe gives Leon a cracking headache

Well think again, because Martin Amis really does know everything. He has just published a book that has exposed Stalin as a tyrant supported and abetted by Leon Trotsky and his followers – men and women who until now have always been assumed to be Stalin’s mortal enemies.

In order to do this, Amis eschewed the traditional tools of the historian, such as so-called ”facts”, and relied instead on his own enormous brain, which generates enough ideas to make all external phenomena redundant.

Now Amis has turned his attention to Aberdeen, which he describes as the ”epicentre of gloom” and ”one of the darkest places imaginable” (which is just as well, given that he freely admits to never having visited the place).

The Independent points out that he made his remarks ”from the comfort of a north London studio” (as if that had anything to do with it) and quotes all sorts of chippy residents of the gloomy epicentre.

”He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” says John Hepburn, who is described as an office worker. ”I think his books are complete rubbish, even though I haven’t read any. But then I don’t need to because Mr Amis has shown that you don’t need to experience something to pass judgement on it.” Quite so.

Posted: 10th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Unhealthy Developments

‘YESTERDAY we reported that ungrateful asylum seekers were turning their noses up at baked beans donated by Christians in Gloucester. Perhaps somebody made the mistake of telling them that this distinctive combination of beans, sugar and tomato flavouring was healthy.

”I’m ready for afters now, grandma”

This, apparently, is a fatal mistake when feeding a fussy eater. The trick, you see, is to make them believe the exact opposite.

In among the doom and gloom about Iraq, the front page of the Times optimistically tells ”How children can learn to love broccoli”. Jane Wardle of University College London believes that a few simple rules will make children like any kind of food.

The trick is to give the kiddies a taste of everything when they are small, then tell them that foie gras, caviar, champagne, fine cheeses, and prime cuts of meat are healthy. Then warn them that baked beans, off-cuts and tap water are bad for you, thus guaranteeing their allegiance to the ”cheap and cheerful” segments of the food chain. Voila – a cheap, low-maintenance kiddie.

Well, it worked for us when our parents tried it. In fact, Professor Wardle’s system is slightly different. The idea is that you get them to eat genuinely healthy food by the simple expedient of not using the ”h” word at all. The little critters fall for it every time it seems.

As the Proverbs say: give us an asylum seeker’s child for the first seven years, and after we’ve fed him beans for 2,555 days and nights, then you can do what you like with him.

Posted: 10th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Passe

”’MADE early, drunk early, pissed early – paid early.”

Not the kind of slogan you would immediately associate with one of the world’s most famous wines, we think you’ll agree. But that is the local saying in Beaujolais.

”It’ll make a decent paint stripper”

The local wine has never been regarded by the French (and readers of Anorak) as anything other than a liquid with which to quench one’s thirst.

But for some reason, vulgar Brits decided that there was some kudos attached to getting their hands on the first bottles of the new vintage, and the marvellous ”Beaujoulais run” began, with all kinds of wonderful characters setting off for France in vintage cars and hot air balloons.

It was all good business for the local producers, of course, and signs appeared in supermarkets saying ”Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!”

Now those days are over. Tastes have changed and the Telegraph reports that 13 million unsold bottles of the stuff have been turned to vinegar or pure alcohol.

The problem is obviously the fussy asylum seekers, who refuse to touch the stuff.

Unless the Scots can be persuaded to forgo the delights of their traditional tipple, there seems little future for this once-famous region.

Posted: 9th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0