Start the week: Over to Lord Byron for the weather

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday. August already, first Christmas shopping stories up and running. Ah, well. Are you in Tuscany? Ah, well. What was it Byron said about Italian? Ah, yes: "I love the language, that soft bastard Latin, which melts like kisses from a female mouth." Exactly. And what was it Byron said about here now? Ah, yes: "The English winter – ending in July, to recommence in August." Exactly. Ah, well. My favourite description of the late romantic lord himself was in a BBC press release: "The 'mad, bad and dangerous to know' sex god aristocrat who lived fast and died young." Exactly.

Aload of balls: yes, that's right, David Beckham is launching his own range of men's underwear next February. He has, I note, been working on the collection "with his team over the past year". A year to design underpants. I'm not one of those clever clogs who mock the great man, so he's clearly got something special up his trousers. X Fronts? Rapid release mechanism? Air-conditioning? A third leg hole to ease that hopping about and occasionally falling over first thing? Drip dry? Automatic lift and separator? Feel free, David.

It's fair to say, I think, that the ideas for boosting economic output suggested by Steve Hilton, the Downing Street policy adviser, have not been universally acclaimed, although I do like his wheeze to make us happier and thus more productive by using "cloud-bursting technology" to improve the weather. Now that's what I call blue-sky thinking. I myself, in the spirit of the Big Society, have more sure-fire mood lighteners and economic accelerators to offer: 1. Gold stars worked well at school. 2. Joke grants. 3. Compulsory smile emoticons. 4. Universal sticks of rock. 5. A day out with Steve Hilton. 6. Labour camps. 7. Archbishop of Canterbury road show. 8. Blue Sky Broadcasting. 9. Free dance lessons from Vince Cable. 10. More money.

Tomorrow is the 135th anniversary of the cowardly and fatal shooting of that legendary hero of the Old West, Wild Bill Hickok, in a Deadwood saloon while engaged in a game of poker. So can I just remind you never to sit with your back to the door, especially if you have a winning hand. Health and safety does have its place, you know. Happy Monday.