Start the week with Charles Nevin

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday. New month, new challenges. Let's take as our inspiration the great Julius after whom July is named: a man of daring and master of strategy who, in modern argot, "really went for it". But do remember his cons: could be a bit of a dictator, not good at choosing friends. Perhaps better to celebrate his namesake, Irving Caesar, lyricist, born 116 years ago today. Happiness was his thing, as in these fine words, from I Want to be Happy: "Life's really worth living when we are mirth giving: why can't I give some to you?" Irving lived to be 101 and worked, happily, into his nineties. When asked which came first, the tune or the words, he used to reply: "The contract."

I note also that, over there, today, besides witnessing general rejoicing over that wrong turn in 1776, it is also National Country Music Day. This allows me to run some other titles past you, aching with the incurable romance tempered with earthy realism that so distinguishes the genre: "I'm So Miserable Without You, It's Just Like Having You Here", "I Shaved My Legs For This?", and "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)".

B alls! Wimbledon now has 52,000 used tennis balls left on its hands. I might be able to help. Cut in half, for example, and placed over each ear, they would make excellent grunt protectors, and present a diverting spectacle for the rest of us. Laid out en masse, they might even persuade Andy Murray to stop and spare the country this annual torment on top of everything else.

Encore: While we're on entertainment, I should of course mention that tomorrow is the 256th anniversary of the birth of that fine actress, Sarah Siddons, who never visited Leeds again after a member of the audience took against her dramatic prevaricating with some poison and advised her just to get on and drink it.

Here, too, are some suggestions for coping with our rapidly increasing population: 1. Pedestrian brake lights. 2. Walking in step. 3. Sideways. 4. Put Lord Prescott in charge of care homes. 5. Put Chris Huhne in charge of road safety. 6. Somehow persuade teenagers to spend more time in their bedrooms. 7. Bring back wolves. 8. Unicycles. 9. Why not have Glastonbury all year? 10. Condoms. Happy Monday.