Jo Brand's week

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The British designer John Galliano has stunned Paris with his latest collection. So high were feelings running this week that crash barriers had to be erected outside his show. Why? Are women likely to trample him in a desperate bid to find out whether a green tank top can be safely sported with a pair of red slingbacks? Apparently, Galliano mixed the "lyrical prettiness of an 18th-century pastoral idyll with the stern sobriety of his Spanish background". Good-oh. Must look out for some of that down my local Marks & Sparks at the Elephant and Castle.

Boris Yeltsin has finally been revealed as a new lad. Not only has he apparently been too sozzled, on at least one occasion, to meet a fellow world leader, I now spot him on the news pinching a couple of women as he passed them. Dear me. Maybe it's about time that a few of his advisers took him aside and instructed him in the rudiments of how to behave in public.

I always used to admire the fact that in Russia women didn't seem to be discriminated against in jobs such as medicine. It now appears that the civilising influence of capitalism has, depressingly, sent Boris back into the Dark Ages as far as respect for women is concerned. Get him a job at the Sun immediately. Boris is also threatening to play Jacques Chirac at tennis to scotch rumours of his poor health. Ball girls beware.

The Social Fund, set up to help poor people get hold of essentials such as cookers and beds, apparently turned down 116,000 applications last year, because these people were assessed as being too poor to pay the loans back. What a great idea: set up a service to help the poverty-stricken worst-off members of our society and then tell them they can't have anything. A superb way of saving money if you ask me.

What about having a universal health service that refuses to treat the people who need it most? It doesn't look like it will be very long before we have achieved this.

There is a concept known as iatrogenesis, which means disease caused by treatment. Anyone who thinks it must be rare only needs to look at what a spiffing time some women are having with the Pill to realise that iatrogenesis is very common. Since the Pill came on the market in the Sixties, women have been offered a very wide range of accompanying illnesses, including heart problems and blood clots. Thirty years later, things don't seem to be improving, as women are still at risk from the Pill.

I always thought it was ironic that the Pill offered women great sexual freedom but made some of them so fat that nobody wanted to sleep with them any more. I stopped taking it when I was in my early twenties, having whacked on three stone in the first six months. Optimistically I assumed it would drop off. Wrong: it stuck there solidly.

The idea of a male pill has been bandied around for years but you can bet your bottom dollar that any bloke vaguely thinking of taking it is going to take one look at the problems women have had and continue to spread his seed unchecked. Perhaps the answer is to allow only female researchers to work on making the Pill safe. At least they'll have more of an investment in the project.

Nice to see democracy so effectively applied in Iraq, as Saddam Hussein got back in to power without too much trouble. A number of hiccups were hastily rectified when some voters, panicking as they saw their friends give him the thumbs down, anxiously whipped away their mates' ballot papers and corrected the "no" votes. Some people even voted in their own blood. You'd think they'd manage to supply everyone with pens.

I'm about to go off on tour again this week and have therefore had to spend a day doing promotional interviews on the phone. What a joy to participate in 16 interviews on the trot and be asked the same questions over and over again. "How did you get started in comedy?" is a very popular one and, having given a truthful account to seven or eight papers, it does get very tempting to say things like, "A hippopotamus told me to," just to relieve the tedium.

Lots of journalists secretly think they've got you well and truly sussed, like one woman who triumphantly offered the theory that I wear black because I think it makes me look thinner. Perhaps she thought she'd found a chink in the armour and I was going to break down into girlie weeping and confess that, yes, I did want to get married to a graphic designer called Roger, live in a bungalow in Cheam and be able to sit next to someone on the bus. Unfortunately I don't want to, so I didn't say it.

I was sad to miss the results of the nation's favourite poem, although it wasn't a great surprise to discover it was one that lots of us did in English at school. I have to say I prefer the Mr Kipling who makes the cakes. "If" hasn't got much to offer to the female gender, I'm afraid. Besides, I always thought that "if you can keep your head while all around are losing theirs", you were a bit thick and didn't realise the scale of the problem. At least Rudyard gives hope to all those men spending the housekeeping money on lottery Instants, safe in the knowledge that risking all their winnings had made them a man.

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