Jo Brand's week

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The constant fight against car crime goes on. Sophisticated alarms don't seem to worry criminals, who can grab the goods and leg it fast enough. But in north London, another approach is being experimented with.The other day I spotted a big printed sign on the dashboard of a car bearing the words "NO RADIO". Will our car thieves respond to this pragmatic piece of information-giving, or will it wind them up and spur them to mindless vandalism? Watch this space. (Not the one where the radio was, hopefully.)

America has long been looked on by many as the ultimate Western democracy, offering potential fortune to all and discriminating against no one. I personally prefer the quote about it being a country that moved from barbarism to decadence, without touching civilisation.

This is illustrated very strongly by the existence of Steve Forbes, a multi-millionaire who has his sights set on the White House. It looks like he might just swing it, as the backlash against Bill Clinton continues.

An American comic once told me that it's impossible to do political material in the States, as most people don't read the papers or take an interest in the news. Ross Perot disappeared almost as quickly as he popped up and Steve Forbes may go the same way. He seems to be a grey, staid and emotionless man. So maybe we don't have the right over here to comment, given who we voted in.

Rent-a-mob are on the move again and were employed this week to greet Sarah Cook, the unfortunate 13-year-old prime candidate for marriage guidance. How sensitive and reassuring the support of one's neighbours can be. I wonder what their rationale for turning up was? If only she'd come home on the day they film Gladiators, rent-a-mob would obviously have been more usefully engaged chanting "another one bites the dust" and waving big hands.

Recent figures released by the Home Office, in answer to a parliamentary question, have revealed that in 1994, 19 people were merely cautioned for rape or attempted rape. This was broken down into 13 cautions for actual rape, one for attempted rape and five for unlawful intercourse with "mentally defective" women.

First, it seems the Home Office is well and truly Dickensian in terms of the antique and insulting language it uses. How we are ever going to have a society that respects all its members, regardless of their difficulties, with an attitude like this from the authorities?

Second, that rapists are being "cautioned" is very worrying. Obviously, these women were just asking for it.

I would like to thank two blokes who delivered a bed settee to my flat the other day for the best entertainment I have had for ages. They were very reminiscent of "Right Said Fred" (the song by Bernard Cribbins, not the oiled, muscly warblers).

An early attempt to just "force the blighter through" was aborted with the accompanying words, "Put the kettle on love." While I made some coffee, the settee was turned round a few times and I was told, "We'll have to take the door off, love." I had actually got rid of my own settee, which was the same size, the day before, so I knew that the new one would fit. Mike and Dave weren't impressed. They were also dubious about taking the door off, as they're not insured if anything goes wrong. Although what could possibly go wrong with taking a door off and putting it back on, I don't know.

Eventually, a compromise was reached. "We'll take the knob off, darling," he announced - something I've been keen to do to blokes on building sites for years. So, off came the knob and through slid the settee. After a bit more grunting, it settled in its allotted position.

Dave and Mike sat on it and drank their coffee while Mike told me that young blokes are hopeless at this job because they're too weedy. If only I'd known this, maybe I'd have taken a few more of them on.

I went to the enjoyable first night of Lee Evans's West End run recently, the sort of occasion on which you have to be on your guard, owing to the gang of photographers who hang around snapping away at anyone they recognise. You have to be careful to remember not to pick your nose or scratch your bum, just in case your likeness turns up at the front of a Sunday tabloid magazine with one of those hysterically funny captions full of innuendo that only they can do.

I particularly have to avoid being anywhere near food because, as a roly- poly comic, obviously, all I do all day is stuff my face. Come to think of it, it's a wonder that at my weight I managed to walk through the foyer without the aid of a trolley.

I suppose it's reassuring in some ways to know that Joan Collins can't just churn out any old cack and expect to rake it in without having to keep standards up. She has been informed that her book lacks credibility, excitement and freshness, and has too many cliches.

Fair enough. So when are they going to start on the back catalogue of everything that her sister Jackie has written?

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