Wednesday 27 March 1996
Word reaches me from a young man particularly distressed by the latest CJD scare. While going quietly about his business for the London auctioneers Christie's all week, people keep accosting him to demand if he has something to do with the beef scare. "And then I have to come clean," confesses one Benjamin Creutzfeldt, "that it was my grandfather who first diagnosed the whole thing."
The young Mr Creutzfeldt, long familiar with his grandfather's work, has been so put out by the latest coverage of the disease that he has taken to writing to the papers.
"I'm no scientist myself," he concedes, "but the first case my grandfather diagnosed was back in 1913. And it was a woman aged only 23 - which does rather make you wonder why we are reading so much into cases of young people today."
I for one am inclined to be most reassured. Soothing words from a Creutzfeldt himself!
Alas, there is a nasty sting in the tail. "The only thing is," he admits, "she was a butcher's daughter."
The CJD scare has brought Benjamin one unexpected benefit. "For the first time in my life, suddenly everyone can spell my name."
With Kylie you can burn in Hull
One can only speculate about the music to which one burns in hell. What we do now know is the music to which one burns in Hull. It is Kylie Minogue's chart-topping single "I Should Be So Lucky".
The local council has been forced to employ an extra technician at the city crematorium to cope with the strain, since the people of Hull are increasingly choosing their favourite pop tunes to accompany them to the other side instead of more traditional hymns. According to John Le Nepveu, the assistant director of leisure services, "It has created a lot of work, making sure the tapes are set up correctly and so we have had to employ another technician."
The alternative to Kylie (above) is "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner, although one man decided to be more literal, and was accompanied into the furnace by the inevitable line from Frank Sinatra's "My Way": "And so I face the final curtain."
Krays were a bunch of lightweights
Rifling through old programmes at a party for the 125th birthday of the Royal Albert Hall, I was interested in one long-forgotten event, an International Boxing Tournament in December 1951. The night was unusual in having three brothers fighting on the same bill, the only time the three did so. One's heart goes out to their opponents. The bruvvers were the welterweight Charlie Kray and the lightweights Reggie and Ronnie of the same surname.
Nice one, Selina
Guests at the British Television Advertising Awards were somewhat startled to hear Selina Scott announce the winners of the prize for public service advertising.
Many years in front of the camera have still, it seems, not wisened the winsome presenter to the perils of the autocue. Up on her screen came the results - last Christmas's controversial "Dave" anti-drink drive ad, made for the Department of Transport and the COI - the Central Office of Information.
"And the winner is..." she declared, "CO One!"
A bemused audience was left marvelling at the audacity of a Department of Transport ad campaign to promote the virtues of carbon monoxide.
Great advert, shame about the facts ...
No advertising award for the hoarding that the Scottish Widows insurance company has put up in Edinburgh.
It boasts that Sir Walter Scott wrote Ivanhoe. True. It adds that he sold books by the million. Also true. It concludes with a flourish that he took out a policy with Scottish Widows. Indeed he did: a policy for pounds 3,000 on 20 December 1824. What it neglects to say is that he went bankrupt two years later.
Joanna would make a fabulous art critic
Joanna Lumley has a pretty good day job. But should she ever consider turning her back on Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, she could take up the cudgels as an art critic.
In the National Gallery's newsletter she chooses her favourite picture in the gallery, writing about Bartolome Bermejo's Saint Michael triumphant over the Devil with Donor Antonio Juan: "Set against a traditional gold leaf background, Saint Michael is shown poised to deliver the exterminating blow to the devil-dragon under his feet. It is a moment frozen in time: the sword gleams, the saint's cloak swirls, the monster shrieks and cringes. Quietly observing the skirmish is Antonio Juan who commissioned the work, the Lord of Tous, pensively thumbing through the psalms. The effect is dazzling. The devil, his reptilian elbows yawning up scaly bird's claws, has bat's ears and lethal teeth. His belly gapes into a terrifying second face, with staring ruby nipples gleaming bulbously."
I suggest that Miss Lumley, 50 in May, moves on from acting and becomes one of the few critics with the style and enthusiasm to make you actually want to see the picture.
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