Captain Moonlight: A story of sequins and squealing rubber

HURRAH! Terrific news about this royal wedding, isn't it? Just the sort of thing to tickle the cockles and watt away the mid-winter gloom. And what a pleasant change to have something nice to report, instead of all the usual petty nastinesses about who sneaked what or who really hates whom. Call me an old-fashioned sort of officer, but sometimes I feel we rather concentrate on the unhappier side of human nature, don't you? Plus, of course, there is my responsibility, as the last monarchist on this newspaper, to keep the Royal Standard flying. So what do you think of the bunting? The sharper eyed may have spotted that it cleverly incorporates the Xmas fairy lights and so postpones putting them away for another week. One more reason to congratulate Edward and Sophie! And it also occurred to me that many of you, being Independent on Sunday readers, might not be quite so au fait with the happy couple as the Captain. Which is why follows my, yes, wait for it, Twelve Fascinating Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know about Teddy and Jonesy. 1) She calls him Ed; 2) He calls himself Gus; 3) Her dad, according to the Express, worked, at one time, in the automotive industry; 4) Her dad, according to the Mail, worked, at one time, as a tyre salesman; 5) He also, very briefly, taught Nigel Dempster geography; 6) The dad of another of Edward's girlfriends used to sell spare car parts near Guildford; 7) Sophie has always been a popular girl who could be relied upon to be fun; 8) Edward is a man of sensitivity, ambition and inner strength; 9) Sophie has been out with a dentist; 10) Edward is a big Abba fan;

11) He sews his own fancy dress costumes; 12) He can also talk knowledgeably about duck shooting.

t BBRRNNGG! Goodness, only a few days into the new year, and it's the telephone! And, there, at the other end, my new Euroland correspondent, Ms Cher Currency. "Captain! Hot news from Holland! The slogan they're using to advertise Braveheart is 'Mel Gibson Zonder Onderbroek!', which translates as 'Mel Gibson Without His Undies On!' No wonder they call it the Netherlands!" Hmmm. Clearly, the jury is out on Ms Currency; I was rather hoping for a teeny bit more about le grand chemin de fer de jus de viande revelations currently enlivening Brussels. Heigh-ho. But the Dutch, eh? KLM, you know, used to have this slogan: "The reliable airline of those surprising Dutch". I rather liked that. Next!

t THE CAPTAIN Cares: You, doubtless, were among the many thousands bitterly disappointed last week when McDonald's ran out of enough hamburgers to fulfil its "buy one, get one free,'' special offer. You may even be one of the three businessmen in Leigh, Lancs, who who went berserk after after failing to get their free burgers and pulled the manager over the counter the better to scream "blue murder" at him. That is why, triumphing where all the marketing might of the Big Mac has failed, the Captain today gives every reader two free hamburgers. There they are, down there on the right. Alternatively, you might fancy a bit of Papuan earth cooking. Dig a hole in the garden about one metre deep and fill it with live coals and hot stones. Keep it burning for a couple of days and nights. Then put in your suckling pigs, chicken and fish (snake goes well, too, not unlike smoked eel) and cover with a thick mat of braided leaves and branches and cook for three hours at pit mark seven. Makes a pleasant change, I find. Next!

t AND NOW, it's time for Press Release Of The Week. And this week's winner, picked at random from the tide of supplications that drifts across the Captain's desk, is from the residents of Headley, in Hampshire, who are campaigning against the plans of Orange, the mobile phone people, to erect one of those big aerials in their village. Anyway, Geoffrey Lean, our very distinguished environment correspondent, passed on the photograph of a number of the villagers (which I reproduce on the left) "expressing", as they say in an accompanying caption, "their views on a planning application by Orange". Splendid. There is, I have also to point out, a rumour here that Geoffrey is the one on the extreme right. That is completely untrue. He's second from the right. No, just a joke, Geoff. I wouldn't dream of compromising your impartiality. Or anything else. My all time favourite headline, by the way, was on a similar theme, and read: "Vicar fights erection in High Street". Thank you!

t NEXT, politics. The Captain has seen, and, doubtless, so have you, all these opinion pieces (or "thumb-suckers", as we call them in the trade) expressing the view that politics will be a much duller place without all these recent resignees. The Captain comments: Balderdash! Take Stephen Byers, Mr Peter's replacement at Trade and Industry. Listen, in the past, Stephen has sported not only a moustache, but a beard as well. He knows so much about the law of contract that he used to lecture on it at Newcastle Poly. And he used to spend his Sunday afternoons drafting amendments to the Maastricht Bill. And, in his other opposition role as fearless exposer of waste and corruption, he once made a joke. It was when he discovered that HMS Brazen had been used to convey several bags of fertiliser for use in a Rear Admiral's garden in Gibraltar. "This whole affair smells," said Byers, admirably straight-faced. But now the Captain hears of a proposition that will set up a bit of tussle between his naturally extrovert ways and the current need for caution in these off-spin days. Yes, Pashley, manufacturers of the Millennium bicycle, large numbers of which have just been bought by the Post Office, the DTI fiefdom, want Stephen to pose on one. What a golden metaphor opportunity! "In the saddle", "On his bike", "Government Spokesman"; but a bit of a minefield, too. "Government Wobbles", that sort of thing. Over to you, Steve!

t LOSE Those Xmas Pounds With The Captain. This item, which will give you buttocks of steel, a stomach flatter than Formby, Lancs, and no problems at all provided you don't get up too quickly, has been unavoidably held over.

t FINALLY, the Moonlight Miscellany. And first, this week's key facts: 1) A pig can eat anything but currants; 2) Virginia Woolf always wrote standing up. Next, the Captain's Celebrated Christmas Card Competition. Well done, compers! A bumper entry wrestled with skill and judgement to work out whose card was whose from this distinguished list: Sir Paul Condon, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; Mr Peter Mandelson, the former person; Mr Paul Dacre, the noted editor of the Daily Mail; the Captain's good friends, Lesley and Sid; and the Captain's Auntie Vera. No trouble with the first three, but Lesley and Sid and Auntie Vera foxed most of you, or rather the goose did, which came from Lesley and Sid, not Auntie Vera. So, the winners: Ms Goodall of Harborne, and Mrs Fieldhouse of Plaistow. You will remember, too, that, in a novel twist so typical of this column, compers were asked to nominate their own gifts. Well, with commendable restraint, Mrs Fieldhouse went for "Champagne, please!"; while Ms Goodall put it thus: "Book tokens, Darlink, what else?" Mail Order offer of the week is a tie between the soft imitation lambswool lavatory lid and seat cover (pounds 12.95) and the packet of two universal replacement central heating radiator caps (pounds 6.95), both from Home Free. Captain's Coming Event Guide: the Eggesford Gardens garden centre, on the A377 between Exeter and Barnstaple, will be holding a potato modelling competition on 23 January. Finally, I loved Chief Justice Rehnquist's splendid impeachment robe with its topical zip front. The Captain is given to understand that just the one judge over here, a circuit bod, wears a robe with a zip. Your Honour: call me on 0171 293 2462, discretion assured. Everyone else: Bye!

ASSURED debut: Spot, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's new chief spokesman, or "spin doctor" as they are sometimes called, pictured looking relaxed after his first "off the record" briefing to lobby correspondents. The briefing, which was "understood" to focus chiefly on what a "completely useless prat" the prime minister is, took place in the deep end of the Routledge memorial baths, east Peckham. No? Euro-corruption troubleshooter, Jacques Le Barc, ready to dig deep? All right, all right, it's Hooch, all Australian action dog, who has recently had to give up parachute jumping after falling out of bed. It is. Honestly.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album