A real cowboy has no fear.

JUDGING by the disappointed surprise in various quarters at the failure of the host this year to meaningfully insult anyone at the Golden Globe Awards, it’s as if the event has become less about cinema and TV – and the people involved – than about Ricky Gervais.

The great and the good of Hollywood are like birds before a snake as Gervais, of the gritty smile and the Estuary English whine, takes the podium. The bleeper operators are poised. What will this strange Englishman say next?

Then when he says nothing much, it’s like air escaping from a pricked balloon. Everyone feels a bit let down. Why so low-key this year? Perhaps Gervais is to be appointed host in perpetuity and the name of the thing is to be changed to the Cheshire Cat Awards.

Eternal triangle

AMERICA’S ultra-conservative Amish community hates anything jazzy. In Kentucky it’s brought them into conflict with the law because they refuse to put reflective orange safety triangles on their horse-drawn buggies.

They say the signs are flashy and conflict with their pledge to live low-key and pious lives.

They’ve been fined for it and refuse to pay the fines. Now they face the prospect of jail. They counter-claim that the law requiring display of the safety triangles is an infringement of their religious freedom. It’s to go before the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, state legislators are talking about amending the law to allow the Amish to put grey reflective tape on their buggies instead of the orange triangles.

Emergency grey? How conservative can you get?

So there!

A PROSPECTIVE student has written to Oxford University telling it that it has unfortunately not come up to the standards of other universities and she will not be registering.

Elly Nowel, 19, of Hampshire, went to Magdalen College for an interview as a prospective law student but was not impressed by the atmosphere and by Oxford’s traditions and rituals.

She then sent a letter parodying Oxford’s own rejection letters.

“I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law (Jurispudence). I spent my entire time there laughing at how seriously everything was being taken.

“I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realise you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering.”

The dons are choking on their port.

Olympic shearing?

PEOPLE in New Zealand are agitating for sheep shearing to be made an Olympic sport. There already is a World Shearing Championship, which will be held at Mastertown, on New Zealand’s North Island, in March.

The New Zealand Farmers’ Federation has now called for the contest to go to the Olympics, possibly via the Commonwealth Games. According to spokeswoman Jeanette Maxwell, competitive shearers clip up to 700 sheep over an eight-hour period, which has been compared with running two marathons back to back.

Whatever next? Olympic milking marathons, potato planting sprints and grape treading?

Any fule kno

BRITISH cartoonist Ronald Searle, who created the fictional girls’ school St Trinian’s and illustrated the Nigel Molesworth books, has died in France, aged 91.

Searle’s spindly cartoons of the fearsome schoolgirls first appeared in 1941 before the idea was adapted for film in the 1950s with The Belles of St Trinian’s.

His drawings were also the perfect illustration of the Molesworth books by Geoffrey Willans, set in St Custard’s prep school – “built by a madman in 1836” and ruled with an iron fist by Headmaster Grimes (BA, Stoke on Trent) who also ran a whelk stall.

Lovely stuff all of it, a great lampooning of the 1950s. Molesworth, “the goriller of 3b”, has become part of English literary lore with his idiosyncratic spelling and syntax. “Any fule kno” gets instant recognition and appreciation in the most unlikely quarters.


MY CELLPHONE rang. It was the boss.

“Is everything okay at the office?”

“Oh yes, it’s all under control. It’s been a very busy day, I haven’t stopped.”

“Can you do me a favour?”

“Of course, what is it?”

“Speed it up a little. I’m in the fourball behind you.”

Last word

Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. – George Carlin