Genius moments: November 2008

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Some mothers do hate 'em

Not strictly a moment from this year – the outburst in question took place in the early-1990s – but nonetheless one too piquant to pass over. On the publication last month of his book It's a PC World, the Today programme presenter Ed Stourton recalled a conversation with the Queen Mother about the European Union: "'It will never work, you know... It will never work with all those Huns, wops and dagos...' The words were delivered with the eyes on maximum tiara-strength twinkle, but I am afraid I froze. The nation's favourite grandmother was, I thought, in fact a ghastly old bigot."

To Mandy, with love

You can't accuse The Spectator of lacking a sense of humour: it played host to a meeting between Tory front-bencher George Osborne and Peter Mandelson, the Government business secretary – the first meeting since a spat between the pair that was prompted by a summer holiday they shared in Corfu. Osborne had leaked details of Mandelson being not-too-positive about Gordon Brown to the press. In response, a friend of Mandelson's dropped Osborne in the soup by claiming the Tory had used the trip as a chance to court party donations from a Russian billionaire. Osborne was presenting Mandelson with the Political Newcomer of the Year prize at the magazine's annual awards. "You know how it is, the only other English guy at the resort – you swap stories about work, how it is back home and you think you are never going to see them again," Osborne quipped as he handed over the gong.

Till Second Life do us part

They met in an internet chatroom in 2003 and celebrated their marriage in 2005 by throwing a "wedding" in the online world Second Life – so it made some sort of sense that the marriage of Amy Taylor and David Pollard should fall apart in cyberspace. Earlier this year, Amy caught David "cuddling a woman on a sofa in [Second Life]... I demanded to look at his chat history."(She had previously found her husband dozing at his keyboard while his online avatar Dave Barmy was having sex with an online call girl.) Dave had no answer, and their divorce was finalised a few weeks later. Still, Amy no doubt took a crumb of comfort from the fact that the Second Life courts had managed to process their online divorce months earlier, in May.

Rick Astley: bigger than the Beatles

The geeky internet joke that is "rickrolling", whereby recordings of the 1987 number one hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley are played at public events or via internet links as a prank, reached a climax at the MTV Europe Music Awards. "Rickrollers" hijacked a popular vote at the awards to name Astley "Best Act Ever" ahead of acts including U2, Britney Spears and the Beatles. The retired singer, who is 42, was not at the ceremony to collect his award. "I'm really happy with the life I've got. I'll just leave it at that," he told The Independent on Sunday.

Get the picture?

Credit crunch-beating gesture to warm the cockles of your aching heart! The street artist Adam Neate and a team spent a Friday leaving 1,000 of his screenprints on the streets of London, to be taken by anyone who found them. Within hours several of the prints were on eBay. "It has always been a dream of mine to do a show around the whole of London," the 30-year-old said. "I want everybody to be able to see it, but once the pieces are out there I don't mind what happens to them."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...