Hit & Run: What does it feel like to be shot with a Taser?

It’d be difficult to get a coherent description of the sensation from, say, the bull, eight dogs, and a Welsh sheep (nicknamed Sparky) who, according to Freedom of Information Act statistics, are among those who have been Tasered by police since the introduction of the 50,000-volt stun-guns in 2004. But human victims have been more forthcoming. One, David Sylvester, a grandfather who owns his own security business, last year told the Independent’s Johann Hari how he suffered indescribable pain when Tasered in the head by police in London.


Another Taser target said it was “like someone reached into my body to rip my muscles apart with a fork.” And a third London man, attacked by muggers using a stun-gun – which can generate an electric shock as great as the police Tasers – says: “I felt like I’d been stabbed in the back with a knitting needle. My knees went from under me. It was really frightening. It left burn marks on my skin, even through my clothes.”


Civil liberties campaigners have called for a ban on use of the weapons, but 6,000 more Tasers are due to be issued to UK police. The London Met are the most trigger-happy force, and have used Tasers 254 times (of 1,181 nationwide).


Unlike one Gwent officer – who checked to see if his weapon was working, only to shoot a barb into his own finger – the Met have managed to avoid Tasering themselves.
Tim Walker

It's Shakespeare, sister

Hollywood star Anne Hathaway is to play Viola in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night opening tomorrow at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, New York. The Oscar-nominated actress says this is both her first Shakespeare and her first major theatrical production, so “just staving off a nervous breakdown has been the main thing for me.” Anne, you sound like you’re in need of some tips on tackling the Bard...

1. Everyone will advise you to read the “Speak the speech I pray you” lines from Hamlet as a short-cut to acting in Shakespeare. Ignore that advice. You’ll spend ages trying to figure out what “spleet the ears of the groundlings” means.

2. In every interview you give, say how much you love working in an ensemble. That’s what always attracted you to doing Shakespeare. But avoid actually socialising with your fellow actors. They’ll only whinge about how little they earn.

3. If you are playing a servant, nurse, clown or wench, remember that it has been unarguable house style in both America and Britain that anyone from the lower orders must have a “regional” accent – always but always north country in Britain, often mid-west or the Bronx in America.

4. The reviewers will compare you with a host of actresses who have played the role of Viola on stage. But after concluding that you are no Peggy Ashcroft, Joan Plowright or Fiona Shaw, they will be stunned at how good you actually are, theatre critic expectations of Hollywood stars being anachronistically low.

5. You have chosen well. Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most delightful, funny and poignant plays, and the cross-dressing role of Viola has ample scope for both laughs (she is loved by a noblewoman who thinks her a man) and lyricism on the nature of love. It’s the ideal role for the girl who’s marginally too old for Juliet and too feisty for Ophelia.

6. Don’t try too hard to see the point of Feste the Clown.

7. Don’t freak out because this is your first Shakespeare. Shakespeare debutants can often bring refreshing and insightful accounts to their roles. Trevor Eve was known for years in Britain as a TV star, then made his Shakespeare debut on stage in The Winter’s Tale and was a revelation. Sienna Miller was less well received in As You Like It, but it didn’t do her cultural street cred any harm.

8. Shakespeare in the Park, on the other hand, isn’t always easy. Central Park is a short distance from Kennedy Airport and 747s fly overhead at all the wrong moments. Take your cue from the experienced players at London’s Regent’s Park Open Air theatre. Introduce thoughtful, introspective pauses where Shakespeare never intended them. David Lister



A Tale of Two Twitties?

You could say Perez Hilton was beaten-up for disturbing the Peas. Or that he was given a black eye by the Black Eyed Peas. In the cold light of day, a bored headline-writer might even declare it a Tale of Two Twitties.

We don’t yet know exactly what occurred in the three-way skirmish between Hilton, the singer Will.i.am, and his manager Polo Molina in Toronto on Sunday. But thanks to grainy paparazzi video, plus the Twittered and YouTubed testimony of protagonists, we can take a pretty educated guess.

Hilton, a Hollywood blogger and creator of innovative celebrity-bashing slang, dislikes the Black Eyed Peas, their singer Fergie (who he declares “fugly”) and their new album. Will.i.am and Molina take exception to this. After bumping into him at a celebrity party, they tell him so; fisticuffs ensue.

Shortly afterwards, Hilton Tweeted the epic phrase “I am bleeding… This is no joke.” Then he posted a video on his website calling Will.i.am “a disgusting human being,” claiming (and here H&R paraphrases) to have been beaten to within an inch of his life. Will.I.am’s video response accused Hilton of calling him a “faggot.” Later, amid a storm of digital accusations and counter-accusations, cops charged Molina with assault. The next time both sides meet could be in court. Hilton’s lawyer says he’ll sue “at least” Molina. He may win that battle. But the famously-vituperative blogger could lose a bigger PR war. For, as the saying goes, there’s nowt so unappealing as someone who can dish it out but can’t take it. Guy Adams

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor