Jo Brand's week

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Enforced New Year revelry has driven me out of London for the past five years to the relative peace of a country village with some friends. Even then if you visit a pub, you do tend to feel you are encroaching on someone else's celebration. We all trooped to a country pub on New Year's Eve to discover all the women seated along the side of the room, watching all the men in the middle of the room. It was like a school disco for grown-ups. At one end of the room stood a Hammond organ accompanied by its owner, a Norfolk version of Englebert Humperdink. One of the side- lined women was knitting, which put me in mind of the French revolution and I feared heads might roll (or at the very least someone might get punched). We legged it fairly sharpish. I know it would be quite difficult to cover up the pub massacre of a group of thirty-something Londoners but you can never be too careful.

There is a great game called the water game that improves with the amount of alcohol imbibed. Sit some people in a circle. Choose one of these people and give them a small amount of water in a glass. The chosen one introduces a category (eg British birds) and selects one item secretly from that category (eg thrush). All the people in the room then name a British bird and the game continues until someone names the bird selected by the chosen one. That person then has the water thrown in their face. Yes, it's very childish but a really good laugh. However, age even catches up with you in this game, as one of our party remarked, "If we're going to play the water game, I'm going to change because this top has to be dry-cleaned." Pass the Complan, Grandma.

Emma Nicholson defected to the Lib Dems because she cannot bear the thought that her beloved Tory party has drifted so far from its principles of care, courage and compassion. I must have blinked and missed that era. Conversely, old Emma must have had her eyes shut since 1979, missing all those images of unemployed miners, desperate single mothers, teenagers sleeping on the streets and poverty- stricken families which the rest of us have been regaled with.

I know I tend to harp on about men hijacking traditional female problems, but they're at it again. Yes girls, they've got post-natal depression now. Must be all that hard work going to the pub with their mates or the distress caused by having a wife with a fat tummy. I mustn't mock, because this isn't your common-or-garden depression but the full Monty, taking in paranoia, delusions and suicidal thoughts. The researcher who investigated the problem recommends time off work for a man after the birth of a baby (no chance of that with this government, matey). It is actually a very short time since post-natal depression has been recognised in women, and it doesn't look like it will be long before it is eclipsed by male needs. As usual, the testicles have it.

I sometimes wonder why so much money is spent on research only to come up with answers that some bloke in the butchers could have told you. This seems to have happened with closed-circuit television. As a weapon against crime it is a bit of a damp squib. CCTV seems to have shifted crime to areas outside the reach of its cameras. Well, knock me down with a feather, missus. Even a plank could have predicted that.

Nurses are set to replace doctors in a trial which is designed to ease the burden of GPs out of hours. They will man (or woman) all-night telephones and assess problems before they are referred on. About time too. I think lots of nurses have been doing this job for years anyway. Doctors argue that the reason they get paid so much more is because ultimately they have to take the rap. But look at the way they take the rap: by closing ranks and keeping their gobs shut. (I don't mean all of you, just most of you.) Perhaps if we give nurses more responsibility and more money, people will stop thinking that all they do all day is run after doctors shouting, "I love you, I want to marry you."

I was somewhat surprised to see Peter Stringfellow pop up on one of those programmes where those two women from Birds of a Feather face some challenge or other. Over Christmas they worked with Fergie (the duchess, not the football manager) to arrange a charity dinner at which Mr Stringfellow promised several thousand quid to charity if Linda and Pauline would show up at his club. It has to be said that Pauline, like myself, is not skinny, and Mr Stringfellow has banned fat women from his club because he thinks they lower the tone. Perhaps he waives the rules for celebs. Goodo, must pop down and sit on a few antique chairs and break them.

I very rarely read the scummy tabloids, but in deepest Norfolk there isn't much else available. Thus the Sport entered our household this week and what a revolting rag from the sewer it is. It appeared, in one article, to be having a very good chuckle about an Italian stripper who had suffocated inside a cake at a stag night, to the point of making a joke about how she had "pasta way". Dead women. What a laugh, eh?

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