FLAT EARTH

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Kuwaiting for Godot

SITTING around in Kuwait - a kind of Singapore without the fun - fruitlessly waiting for a war (and wondering what that said about us), we discovered the need for a shorthand term for "last time".

Most of us had last been there in 1991, when Kuwait was liberated from the Iraqis, and it got a bit tedious referring constantly to "seven years ago", or to "the Gulf War". The less was happening this time, the more talk there was about last time, when the oil wells were ablaze, Kuwaitis were taking their revenge on alleged collaborators and the allied forces watched idly as Saddam crushed the Shia Muslim uprising in southern Iraq. Eventually it was decided to label the whole event "G1" for short.

This, however, led on to the question of what to call the "pinprick" missile attacks on Iraq in September 1993, not to mention the current crisis. The solution was to borrow from the system for naming computer software: four and a half years ago became G1.1, and 1998 became G1.2. It remains to be seen whether a full-scale version G2.0 is ever released.

Does she look like a sports car?

ONE look at Lolo Ferrari makes you doubt her qualifications to appear in a column with the word "flat" in its name. But Ms Ferrari, whose silicone implants make Jayne Mansfield look under-endowed, arouses some people to fury. Ferrari, the Italian stallion of the car industry, has been in dispute since 1995 with Ferrari the protruberant over her proposal to use her stage name to market a range of underwear.

Potential customers could become confused, said the testosterone merchants from Maranello, and link them to her range of products. Nonsense, replied a lawyer for the 28-year-old: "When you see the name Lolo Ferrari," she said, "you immediately think of big breasts - not a prancing horse."

Sadly, this did not convince the trademark authorities, and Lolo and her 6kg of silicone (think six 2.2lb bags of sugar) are now planning the underwear launch with another name. I wonder if Jeremy Clarkson might want to lend a hand.

Fancy meeting you in this dive

ON THE subject of improbably proportioned women, the latest Barbie doll is a marine biologist in a wet suit, accompanied by a dolphin almost her own size.

The bad news for aficionados is that she is available only in Portugal, where the forthcoming Expo '98 has the theme of the world's oceans. The price over there is about pounds 15, but collectors are expected to push it up well beyond that.

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