CAPTAIN MOONLIGHT: Polite plea ... Scott's honour ... God's prisoners

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Finally! At last, the dreadful decline in manners in this country has been put on the agenda! Something called the Social Affairs Unit has produced a report claiming that the present loutishness, foul language and slovenly dress pose a greater threat to our society than crime. But what's to be done? Yes, you guessed, the Captain can help. With Moonlight's Modern Manners: 1) Unselfishness is all; throw away those headphones while travelling on public transport and let everybody enjoy your choice of music! 2) Similarly, on concluding a conversation on your mobile telephone, offer your intrigued fellow passengers a short resume of how the other party responded to your witty sallies about the sales figures and the curry last night. 3) And, when eating in public, always remember to keep your mouth wide open so we can all see what you're having. 4) On the road: don't forget that signalling your thanks to another driver can surprise and cause loss of control. 5) In the theatre and cinema: never stand up when other patrons are attempting to pass along the row as there is a danger you may hit them under the chin and render them unconscious. 6) And always go through doors first just in case a practical joker has balanced a bucket up there!

Who's hot ... Who's not! Yes, it's Moonlight Limelight Time. And first, that game gamine, Liz Hurley. And Liz, dispelling the tired old canard that Hollywood is interested not in Art but only in making stereotypical, formulaic movies aimed cynically at the box office, is to "bare all" in a new movie, entitled Dangerous Ground, "about a rebellious, gun-toting erotic dancer". Next! I very much enjoyed the interview with Angela Rippon in the Daily Mail in which her response to the 19th of 24 questions about herself was that the thing she most hated talking about was herself. Next! And a sad scene in the Havelock Tavern in Hammersmith, subject of a recent Independent restaurant review urging readers to "go there before everyone else finds out about it". For it is Will Self, restaurant reviewer of a Sunday Newspaper Limping Along In Our Shadow, discovering that everyone has done just that and there is not a table to be had. Will pleads with the manager. No go. Exit thin Self. Next!

Interactive Corner: Big Hi, interactors! Queue here for your pounds 25 and pounds 50 vouchers from our sponsor, Mr Pink, who has only two weeks left to convert you to his idea of style. Incidentally, one or two of the kids on this section have turned their nose up at Mr P, but since I have yet to see one of them in a tie or with polished shoes, we'll ignore it, particularly when Mr P can boast customers like Loyd Grossman. Must press on though, and mop up the last of the TV and film cliches. Mrs Riches of Chartham, Kent, submits: "We've got to talk." And Ms Fisher of Clissold Park, north London, has come in with a clutch of them that earns her no less than pounds 75-worth of vouchers: "I must bid you good morning, gentlemen - I have a space station to run"; "I'll see myself out"; plus, "Bees! Millions of bees! And they're headed this way!". Next, Mr House of Wimbledon claims that a teacher friend had a note from a parent the other day which read: "Darren won't be at school today. He has swallowed a fifty pence piece. He's not feeling very well at the moment, but I'll let you know if there's any change". Oi! pounds 25!

From time to time, one does tend to drift back to Fleet Street, if only to marvel afresh at the fresco on the old Telegraph building showing two winged messengers setting off in opposite directions wonderfully oblivious to the fact that they are chained to each other at the ankle. Anyway, there I was on the bus when who should clamber on board but Sir Nicholas Scott, the distinguished Conservative MP for Chelsea. He didn't look in the best of humours, actually, but I must say I was impressed with his instinct to move among the people. And although the conductor was completely at a loss to understand his barked command of "Cenotaph!" (which I took to indicate a desire to be dropped in Whitehall) at least this knight was trying. Sorry? Golly, you're right! He is banned from driving, isn't he? Something about inadvertently squashing a toddler between the bumpers of two cars before retiring to his doctor's for a stiff drink. Tickets, please!

Mediate with Moonlight. Today's spiritual talking point comes from the revivalist wing of Christianity, and is contained in the newsletter of the London Crusader Chorale under the headline, "God Breaks Into Jail". Therein we learn that some 280 inmates of Her Majesty's Prison, Lewes, have been converted or born again to Christianity in the past year; not only that, either: "similar things are taking place in HMP Exeter and HMP Lincoln", the article claims, before continuing: "These are all remand prisons - and so these men who have been saved whilst in remand are eventually brought to trial and, if convicted, are being distributed throughout the prison system. Typical Holy Spirit strategy." Quite. I telephoned the Home Office to discover more about this startling piece of good news for Mr Howard, who, let's face it, needs a miracle. But, it gives me no pleasure to report, I got the impression they had little faith in it.

Thank goodness for Michael Meacher! An unusual start, I agree, but well deserved, for Mr Meacher, the shadow employment secretary, is the man who has so bravely stepped forward to confess that many of the articles which appear in newspapers and magazines under his name have not, in fact, been written by him. Indeed, says Mr Meacher, he has not even read many of them. This explains how one of his researchers came to commit him to scrapping the jobseeker's allowance when this was not, in fact, Labour policy. "Michael," said his penitent researcher last week, "will be reading all his articles and speeches in future." Mr Meacher's coming-out has given me courage: not all of this column is written by me, either, particularly that bit of Latin last week which should have read inter alios rather than inter alia. The researcher responsible has been disciplined and is now working only at dot insertion in the Catch-Up Service. Actually, as a general rule of thumb, if you like something here, I did it. And, mutatis mutandis, vice versa. Thank you.

On a personal note, I should like you all to know that the Moonlights moved home last week. No, no, don't go away. I will spare you the details. But, one handy tip: do check that you've got the little box with the bits when you buy the Spanish-effect black curtain rod at Ikea. Oh, and another thing: I have spent a long time listening to the piece of music British Telecom play to you while they're trying to sort out what seemed quite simple to start out with. It's a chirpy, jazzy piece, but I have to say it staled after the repetition my particular case put it through. So I asked them at 10.30am on Thursday what it was called and when it was going to be changed. They rang back at 4.30pm to say that it was taking longer than anticipated but they would let me know. And while we're on music, did you see that list of the 100 guitar giants compiled by Mojo magazine? Well, pardon me, any list that puts Hank Marvin at 44 and can't find room for Bert Weedon is no list in my book. (And, I will have you know, Mr Major is a big fan of Bert, who is still on the road at 76. I promise you.) But the greatest insult is the inexcusable omission of Leonard Cohen, whose riff at the beginning of Travelling Lady alone ranks him as a prince of the plectrum. Shame! And British Telecom? Funnily enough, I'm still waiting to hear from them.

You were wondering about the photograph over there. It, and this week's logo, are the Captain's contribution to Mr Major's war effort. I just thought that a picture of the boys who provided world domination just 30 years ago would stiffen all our sinews and inspire the bulldog spirit. Does Sir Alf remind you of anybody, by the way? The Captain advises: Cry God for semen, tallow and jelly babies!

Competition Time! Hey, I don't know about you, but after reading this advertisement for the Cuir Rotaflexo printer, I had to sit down and fight an almost irresistible impulse to dash out and buy one, but quickly. What is the secret of the strange allure of Mike and Mike? Yes, the excitement is catching! My thanks to Mr Morton of Shepherd's Bush for sending Mike and Mike to share with you. Have a Pink voucher. The Competition: can you find me any other adverts that can match Mike and Mike? I am also interested in your favourite advertising slogans, the ones that can match the fever pitch of Mike and Mike's copy. So: compete!

The Catch-up Service

Welcome to the news review with the in-built well-I'll-go-to-the- foot-of-our-stairs factor ... Britons are snapping up bargain holidays to get their teeth done on the cheap. Brian George, from Brighton, is just one of many patients jetting off to eastern Europe for a bargain filling. Brian will stay for three days at a Budapest hotel for just pounds 266 and then spend an extra pounds 40 on dental treatment ... Uri Geller bought an antique teddy bear for pounds 11,500 at an auction, saying that his psychic powers halted rival bids. Of course they did, Uri ... Garage attendant Robin Charles told police he'd been robbed of the night's takings and provided a detailed description of the thief. The resulting photofit looked so much like him that he was arrested. He then confessed to the robbery ... Ty Muncie, a baseball player, ate a tarantula he found during a game for a pounds 20 bet. "I couldn't believe how hairy that thing was," he said afterwards ... Dog Gone, a company in Amarillo, Texas, sucks up prairie dogs from their holes using a special vacuum and sells them to Japan, where they are prized as pets.