Jo Brand's week

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The Americans are building a holiday complex to be used by wealthy Arabs in Eritrea. It's a handy 45 minutes' flying time from Mecca, and is for the men to leave behind the restrictions placed upon them at home. Are Arab women going to have a corresponding knees-up and throw caution to the winds? Of course not. A separate complex is being built for women and children, where they will be dumped into the care of an all-female staff, while their men go for it in style at the boys' hotel. You can be sure American businessmen will respect the cultural differences of others when there is dosh involved. Lots of liberal people bite their tongues about the activities of Muslims, even though they can see that women are treated like second-class citizens, because they don't want to interfere in years of religious tradition. Well, we are all entitled to an opinion and I think this project is Victorian, anachronistic and macho. Let's just hope Butlins doesn't pick up on the idea.

Given the media attention paid to the increasing disintegration of our society and the attendant negative moral effect on children, one could almost believe that all the little blighters are drug-sodden, lawless, aggressive monsters who are sexually active before they can manage their nine-times table. So it was reassuring to see a children's show in Cardiff last weekend and discover that the good old traditions of booing the baddies and encouraging the goodies were still there. The show was 101 Dalmations, and my friend Helen had the joy of playing Cruella De Vil. As the human- doggy stars of the show searched frantically for their puppies, a plaintive little voice shouted: "They've gone to Suffolk." A budding stakeholder and no mistake.

I, too, am buckling under the strain of the ferocious way the press pack chases for stories and pictures. As I sat in a hotel in Cardiff with some friends last weekend, the night manager of the hotel sidled up shiftily and asked for a word. He informed me that someone from the South Wales Echo had tracked me down and wanted a few words, but acting on his own initiative, the aforementioned manager had sent him away. How am I going to cope with this huge onslaught?

Extra driving examiners are being taken on to handle the rush of learners who want to pass their test before written tests start in July. Who can blame them? I always felt that the information regarding stopping distances and the like was hanging by a thread in my brain. However, at least I do know that stopping distances are not five feet, which many drivers on the motorway seem to assume. Perhaps a personality test would be more appropriate: it's always those with the personality of Attila the Hun who loom right up close behind you, ignoring safety in favour of giving rein to stupid Death Race 2000 antics. If only teaching them a lesson didn't involve getting mangled oneself, I'd have a whale of a time practising my emergency stops.

Doctor Who is to be resurrected one more time for a feature film starring one of the McGann brothers. I read recently that, although there had been seven Doctor Whos, there have been about 30 lovely female assistants. I wonder why that should be? We women must be four times more disposable than men.

A district court in New Mexico has halted a buffalo hunt at the behest of American Indian and animal rights groups. The hunt was intended to eliminate nine old bison who can "no longer chew their food", and to tackle the problem that there are "far too many bulls and not enough cows". Perhaps we could get the hunters over here to sort out our judiciary instead.

A recent piece of research conducted in Germany shows that when Germans were offered another national identity, hardly any of them picked Britain, preferring Switzerland or Sweden, and traipsing through Japan, Italy, America and France before they got to us. This isn't much of a surprise, given our attitude to them, which consists of a firm belief that Germans only go on holiday to throw their weight and towels around. Yes, some are like that, but perhaps we need to look to our own record before we start casting aspersions in their direction. The Sun is always peppered with insults, the Tory party is filled with paranoia about Germans and my sister-in-law, who is German, has not received the politest of welcomes in a number of pubs over here. Germans seem to think we are a poverty- stricken little nation (not far wrong). In fact, my brother's mother-in- law, thinking we were really poor over here, once offered to send me a food parcel. I said yes. Any food always gratefully received.

A Canadian photo-processing company has worked out a way to etch out a person from a photograph without leaving a mark and has put this technique to good use for divorced couples who do not want to be reminded of their errant spouse. What a strange thing to do. I would have thought pinning the photo up on the wall and throwing a few darts and maybe some ageing spaghetti at it would have been much more fulfilling.

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