if it’s news to me, it must be news to you!
Baby Boom: You see a lot of posh prams about these days, but if you really want to splash out you need tickets to The Private Pregnancy Show. How about £30,000 for a life-size sculpture of your baby bump in glass or bronze? Or if that’s a bit steep, how about a newborn photography package from £750 to £4,000? Or for £1,575, you can store your baby’s stem cells in case they need them in the future.
And if you want your child to stand out from the crowd of silly made-up names, like Harper Seven, Fifi Trixibelle and Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, you can pay the team of Swiss creatives at Erfolgswelle £21,000 to come up with something truly original.
There’s a word for it: If that item leaves you feeling vaguely depressed, you need one of the 216 words and phrases of positivity that we just don’t have in English. Such as mbuki-mvuki (Bantu: to shed clothes and dance uninhibited); tyvsmake (Norwegian: to eat small pieces of food when nobody is watching, especially while cooking) and; ultwaalen (Dutch: to walk in the wind to clear one’s head)
Things I didn’t know last week: The distinctive rasping voice of Punch in the Punch & Judy Show is made by a ‘swazzle’, two strips of metal bound around a cotton tape reed held in the ‘Professor’ puppeteer’s mouth.
Batty story of the week: The holiday town of Batemans Bay in New South Wales is being besieged by thousands of bats, making the residents’ lives a misery. They can’t be culled, however, since the very large grey-headed flying fox is an ‘endangered species’, although with 100,000 of the beasts terrorising one small town (pop 11,334), they don’t sound very endangered to me.
Selfie by date: Sainsbury’s supermarket has given twenty families a ‘smart fridge’ that takes a photo of the contents every time they shut the door. Apart from allowing an answer to the age old question of whether or not the light really does go out, they can also check their fridge by an app when they go shopping so they don’t buy things they don’t need. I thought that was the Sainsbury’s business model.
Ear-worm warning: If getting Everything is Awesome out of your head after watching the Lego Movie is driving you mad, take out your frustrations by playing with the bricks which are getting more and more violent.
Breaking baaaad: Sheep near Swansea have gone on a ‘psychotic rampage’ after eating cannabis plants dumped in their field.
Poor little dears: Teachers at a primary school in Milton Keynes have been told not to blow a whistle to signal the end of playtime because it is simply ‘too aggressive’. They have been asked to raise their hand instead and wait until the children notice. Meanwhile, a school in Dundee wants to ditch its red uniforms because the colour might over-stimulate the children.
And speaking of poor little dears, 76% of university students are in favour of banning speakers whose views offend them and 48% want universities to be declared ‘safe spaces’.
Corporation pop shop: If proof were needed that western civilization is collapsing into decadence like the Roman Empire, surely it’s the news that Selfridge’s has opened the country’s first water only cocktail bar. Mind you, in LA they even have a water sommelier who will sell you a bottle of 15,000-year-old ice glacier water at just $20 a pop.
Brief lives: Warrington born actor, Burt Kwouk, who played Cato in the Pink Panther films and many other roles; the actual Commander James Bond; John Berry, guitarist with the Beastie Boys; documentary film-maker John Krish; Bletchley decoder Jane Fawcett who played a major role in the sinking of the Bismark; Kathryn Trosper Popper, the last surviving actor from Citizen Kane; veteran aviator, David Phillips.
Ballroom doyen and judge on the original Come Dancing, Peggy Spencer, and; left-wing graphic designer, David King, although I always wondered why the arrow on his Anti Nazi League badge points to the right. Or maybe it was aimed at the them.