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The Independent Culture
Homophobe of

the week

In a week when homophobes have been pouring out of closets, our prize goes to Jeremy Clarkson. Mr Clarkson has been rewarded for years of cheap sexual metaphors with his own chat show. The obnoxious are many, but few can make such a handsome living out of it.

According to Jeremy: "I think gays are funny. I always find myself looking at their bottoms. You look and you think `that's horrid'." Now, if Jeremy had spent a bit more time watching his own back, he would have noticed the arrival of Channel 4's excellent and unpretentious new motoring series, Driven, the success of which will snap the knicker elastic of Jeremy's career. Permanently.

Sweet of the week

It's tasty enough, but long out of fashion. We now know that sarsaparilla can raise testosterone levels. Very good news, and a lot cheaper than Viagra. But don't tell Jeremy Clarkson.

Snake of the week

Mrs Jan Webster found a royal python when she went to use the office lavatory at a firm of insurance brokers in Reading. One way to lose your no-claims bonus. Mrs Webster was understandably distressed. But what about Simon the Python? All the way from central Africa to Berkshire, he survived a desperate struggle with a Toilet Duck (a natural predator), made it past the U-bend, and just secured a beach-head on the relative safety of the cistern, only to be beaten back with a bog brush. He is now in the care of the RSPCA, where we hope he finds a more sympathetic asylum. Mind how you go.

Toy of the week

Take care, Tamagochis. Watch out, Furbies. Time for Tubby bye-byes. The Dancing Baby has arrived. Originally just a piece of cyber-software, bearing a faint physical resemblance to the computer-animated Peter Mandelson on the Rory Bremner show, the new toy toddler is modelled in rubber. It will say "ooga-chaka, ooga-chaka", and then bop along to the Blue Suede standard "Hooked on a Feeling" for as long as you can bear it. All for pounds 19.99, nappies included.

Image of the week

Trick or treat? The Vice-President of the United States and Mrs Gore on a Hallowe'en night out. Al and Tipper may use this novel technique in future party political films. Nothing too Gorey, though.