Hold the invasion, I'm still waiting for my bill
Sunday 08 December 1996
Now Harrods is trying to block Harrods (Buenos Aires) from flogging its name for use worldwide . "The name Harrods would no longer mean, and mean only, that very special store in Knightsbridge, London," says Charles Sparrow, QC. Which is odd, because there has been a Harrods in Argentina since the beginning of the century.
I went there in 1981 and if it hasn't changed since then it deserves a preservation order at least as much as the posh London corner shop. It was, to put it mildly, quaint. I had to queue to buy a trinket at one counter: que-ue at another to have it wrapped; and queue at a third to pay for it. All of this made me think: if General Galtieri had popped in to do his Christmas shopping at Harrods that year, he would never have got out in time to invade the Falklands in April...
WHEN I buy books, I look at the back cover to see the reviews. Buying Greenfinger - The rise of Michael Green and Carlton Communications I did just that and was interested to note that it was apparently "A breathtaking account of villainy, collapsing standards and hypocrisy". I wondered if Mr Green and his lawyers might be interested in this, too, until I noticed what it said above in small print: "Praise for Raymond Snoddy's previous book."
Other industries could surely use the same device. Boeing, for example, could claim that its teeniest jet can carry 500 people (well, a Jumbo can). Honda could reasonably use a review of its Formula One racing car for the new Civic - "Very stable at 270 mph". And the housebuilder Barratt could sell its starter flats with talk of gold-plated Jacuzzis. The possibilities are endless. I am amazed that our famously clever advertising people have not exploited it.
THE picture on the right is of Swiss soldiers on bicycles. I have included this because a cable company has been digging up the pavement outside my house.
Why, I wondered, do the gas, water, phone, electricity and cable men all make different holes when they want to change something? Why not have hinged kerbstones, which would give easy access to all the services and leave a nice flat pavement?
I would recommend we take advice on how to do this from the Swiss, because they can even hollow out mountains. In La Place de la Concorde Suisse, a wonderful book about the Swiss army, the American journalist John McPhee describes how Switzerland is one giant military installation.
"If one just happens to be looking, one might see something like an enormous mousehole appear chimerically at the base of an Alp. Out of the mountain comes a supersonic aircraft - a Tiger, a Mirage - bearing on its wings the national white cross. In a matter of seconds it is climbing in the air."
Swiss roadsides are equally educational. Mc Phee describes how granite blocks on the Simplon road turn out to be made of plastic, concealing army spy holes from which the valley can be observed.
"Many mountains have been made so porous that whole divisions can fit inside them," he writes. Which should make hollowing out pavements a doddle.
So where do the soldiers on bicycles come in? Well, they make it into the same book. The description of efficient German-speakers in the valleys trying to communicate by radio with the drunk Romansch-speaking bicycle troops at the top of the mountains is a hoot.
I hope this is a satisfactory link with cables in south London. Obvious really.
AND last, but not least, some suggestions for executive stocking fillers.
From Alan Jones of Mountsorrel, Leicestershire: a framed photograph of the chief executive's bottom. From Magy Higgs, a multi-bladed knife with an implement for getting blood out of stones; a glossary of non-existent words such as "accessing"; and European Union- approved essence of pheromones to charm the men at the conference into agreeing with you. From my colleague Dickie: a Christmas card from Robert Maxwell. More please.
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Details emerge of two young Iranians using stolen passports in search for a better life
Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete's friend asked him if 'he was f***ing mad' after shooting through sunroof
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 1 Watch: The student election Macklemore parody that isn't completely awful - and all the others that are
- 2 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Joanna Lumley’s garden bridge over the Thames gets £30m seal of approval from Government
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to England and Arsenal striker
iJobs Money & Business
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ban...
£35000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A top, City ba...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED : Reach Volunteering: Fantastic opportuni...