Captain Moonlight

No rumba with Rosie

IT IS always sad when friends fall out. My view is that Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, is a man of wit, impish charm and tolerance who has been been sadly misrepresented in the British media. Nevertheless, I do not take kindly to threats and boycotts. If the good doctor is going to boycott us, then I suggest we, the British people, reciprocate. And if you are not prepared to follow my lead, well, I shall just have to mount a one Captain boycott.

I therefore embarked upon a rigorous quest to determine what exactly I should not be buying. It was not easy. My inquiry to the Malaysian High Commission about Malaysian products on sale in Britain was referred to the Malaysian Trade Commission, which, for some reason, was not entirely helpful. They furnished me with categories of goods imported - electrical machinery, vegetable oils, rubber, sawn timber, that sort of thing - but were unable to go into specifics.

True, we all know about the Proton car, but as I don't know anyone who owns one - do you? - I can't urge them to get rid of it. Beyond that, my enquiries struggled. The Malaysians make masses of microchips and semiconductors and related electronic equipment, but, cunningly, they tend to find their way into Japanese and American products. The NHS apparently imports large numbers of latex gloves but, happily, I am not in a position to refuse contact with them; nor would I feel it right to urge you to do so. Ditto, I have to say, Jiffi condoms.

My boycott, then, has two main prongs. A call to the Malayan Pineapple Industry Board revealed that we imported pounds 2.8m of canned pineapples from Malaysia in 1992. And although there is no Malaysian brand, I can assure my grocers that I will be examining the label on my chunks very closely indeed from now on. It has also come to my attention that Proton cars will be continuing their sponsorship of Come Dancing when it returns to our screens in June. I have therefore to warn you, Doctor, that unless you withdraw your boycott immediately, I shall not be watching, Rosemarie Ford and rumba or no Rosemarie Ford and rumba.

The cab clocks up 300 years

THOSE who think the art of conversation dead have clearly never experienced that uplifting moment when the dividing window is slammed open with a thump and the eyes meet yours in the rear-view mirror. That is how I am able to tell you that this is the Year of the London Taxi, celebrating 300 years of licensed hackney carriages in the capital. Imagine, if you will, the volume and content of conversation flung over the left shoulder in that time, the wisdom imparted. I don't know about you but I have lost count of the number of times I have got out of a cab shaking my head in wonder at the things I have heard within. Proper recognition of this unique combination of geographical knowledge and general punditry is long overdue, but is about to be remedied: the Fellowship of Hackney Carriage Drivers, I am told, loudly, is confident of becoming a City of London livery company quite soon. I was entranced by the thought of glittering guests, white tie, prime ministerial speeches and tea in one of those green wooden huts, but, unfortunately for my romantic soul, they already have the use of some swanky offices, in Love Lane, just near the Guildhall, can't miss it, not that a mini-cab driver could find it, can't find their own mothers most of them, I'll tell you what I would do . . .

SO HERE it is again, Captain Moonlight's Catch-Up Service, the news digest which monitors the week's other news . . . A north London man was convicted of causing actual bodily harm to his girlfriend because she cheated at Monopoly . . . the Meat and Livestock Commission is allowing Northern Ireland butchers to compete in its sausage competition in Birmingham later in the month . . . A mongrel dog strayed on to the Jamaican parade ground where the Queen was reviewing Trooping the Colour . . . A vicar was lifted through his church roof by firemen after getting trapped on a spiral staircase in Spelsbury, Oxford . . . A thief fell into a cesspit after stealing a strimmer from Jimmy Hill's home in Sussex . . . The humpback whale, it was revealed, has a 10ft penis . . . Ten per cent of Britons would rather have a plate of chips than sex, drink or a cigarette . . . and robbers burnt their way into a security van with welding torches and set fire to more than a million pounds inside. A Hampshire police spokesman said: 'The raid was meticulously planned, apart from the fact they burnt the money.'

Annie's charm attack

ANNIE Leibovitz, the renowned Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone photographer, has an exhibition of her work on display at the National Portrait Gallery. To promote it, Ms Leibovitz has been in London granting interviews. And charming she has been. This is a new side of Ms Leibovitz to many of her colleagues. A call to the offices of Vanity Fair from Ms Leibovitz generally prompts scenes of widespread dispersal similar to when a fire alarm goes off. 'Difficult', I am told, is a richly inadequate stab at conveying how it is to work with Ms Leibovitz. One has only to recall the remarkable coup when Vanity Fair, with extreme exertion and pulling of all known strings, managed to persuade, almost overnight, Israel's Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, to drop everything to pose for her. Ms Leibovitz responded by refusing to go and take the photographs. Still, when was genius ever nice?

Top on, but no trousers

LUSCIOUS Linda Lusardi sits in the pub Friday lunchtime. Luscious Linda used to be a Page Three Girl, the ones with the chests, causes of great debate about feminine debasement, key reference points of contemporary culture, and inspiration of a thousand brazenly bad puns usually involving references to fresh fruit. But that was a few years ago. Now Rupert Murdoch is talking about a cover-up and Luscious Linda is rehearsing round the corner for her role in the forthcoming tour of When Did You Last See Your Trousers?, opening in Croydon tomorrow night and ending in Crawley in June by way, inter alia, of Hull, Hayes and Harlow.

LL will not lament the Page Three Girl. Once she sprang to the defence of her kind, debating with Ken Livingstone the call for a ban by Clare Short, asking anybody in the audience who had felt like rape after looking at Page Three to put his hand up. 'Nobody did.' She says they were a product of their time, when girls were always draped over car bonnets and cigar adverts: 'Now people are more aware of image, the way things like that affect men's attitudes to women.' But she has nothing to be ashamed of, she never felt degraded.

Page Three was different then. 'I find I can't tell one girl from another now. We were all shapes and sizes.' Now they were all blonde, a bit bimbo-ish, big-breasted, not 34-24-34, like she had been. And the men hadn't written in about her 'bosom', they had written in about her nice eyes 'or whatever'. Mothers had written in to ask for signed photos for sons' 21st birthdays. One wife had asked for two photos to be buried with her husband, in the coffin, a very understanding woman.

An innocent time, the far away late Seventies, early Eighties. Linda, the daughter of an Italian immigrant from Lombardy, lived in Palmers Green and left school at 16 to work in a tax office in Holborn. One night the wife of a photographer stopped her at the bus stop and asked her which model agency she was with. Linda wasn't; but soon was. She wasn't the right size or shape to be a fashion model, but got a job doing swimwear in Corfu. She sunbathed topless in Corfu and the other girls told her she had 'the right equipment' for Page Three. And so was born the career of Luscious (or sometimes Lovely) Linda Lusardi.

No one takes much notice of her in the pub, even if she does have the most striking pair of green-brown eyes. Men never did, she says. She was never bothered, not even at the peaks of her exposure. 'They're frightened,' she says. 'They don't know what to say.' She has been married for five years to Terry, and went out with him for 10 years before that.

The rest of the farce's cast are lunching nearby. Linda got into acting through little spots on the telly, and panto. She was eager because a Page Three lifespan is equivalent to that of a professional footballer. She has played Eliza in Pygmalion at the Malvern Festival. But LL is no luvvie. She doesn't find it too hard, after she's worked the part out. How good is she? 'Well, I'm better than I was when I started,' she says, remembering, tactfully, a certain thespian scepticism. 'But I still have an awful lot to learn.'

She would love to play in the West End, especially giving her Eliza, but is content with a life which sees her doing promotions and still doing little spots on the telly. She has a house in Hoddesdon, Herts, footballer belt. She and Terry, a builder, buy plots and build and rent. They are moving soon. She has a summer season booked, and a panto, Snow White. She can carry a tune and a dance, she says, but she wouldn't make great claims beyond that. She is, she says, an 'actress stroke personality'. 'I used to feel embarrassed saying 'actress' - oh gawd, another model who thinks she's an actress - but having made my living at it for six years, I think I'm allowed to say that now.'

She is 34. She retired from topless modelling at the approach of her thirtieth birthday party, just after she had been declared 'Page Three Girl Of All Time'. So what had happened to all the other former pouting, luscious, lovely Page Threes who had adorned so many walls and silently witnessed so many tea breaks? Well, there was Samantha Fox, of course, who was still around, singing, exercise video, but she didn't see her. And there was Linda, and that was about it. A lot had married wealthy husbands, though. Linda went back to rehearsals.

DOUGLAS HURD is a brave man. When the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs asked him, he did not hesitate or falter, he just went straight ahead and put Lord Younger firmly in the poo over the Pergau dam affair. Younger, then defence secretary, said the fearless Douglas, had done this deal linking aid and arms without breathing a word of it to the FO or the Prime Minister. If only they had known, whole mess would never have happened; that sort of thing. It must have been extremely painful to have to do this to an old cabinet colleague, but you don't get to the top in politics without taking hard choices and sacrificing personal feelings. No more than you would expect from an Etonian, I hear you say. Quite. Lord Younger, away when it all broke, has now nobly taken the rap and the heat off the Government. But I hope Douglas fully explored all ramifications of his bold action. Lord Younger, you see, is now chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the bank which includes among its clients the Conservative Party, current overdraft put at nearly pounds 20m. Would you treat your bank manager like that? I'd call him in for one of those little chats if I were you, George: no cigars.

(Photograph omitted)

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

    £70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam