Flat Earth

These boots aren't made for watering

'A LAST bid for the south] How I long to see Russian soldiers wash their boots in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean . . .' The strategic vision of Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, outlined in last weekend's Review, raises some immediate objections - like war with Iran and Pakistan for a start. And now a further problem comes to light.

According to bijou London dry cleaners and boot repairers Jeeves of Belgravia, the Zhirinovsky programme would be disastrous. One should never wash one's boots in seawater. 'It would be a most damaging process,' they tell Flat Earth. 'The salt water would stain and weaken the leather, which would then start falling apart at the seams.' More or less the fate you might wish on bad old Vlad himself.

Character forming

THE silence from London over the fate of two British subjects facing canings in Singapore contrasts strangely with the outcry in Washington when US citizen Michael Fay was sentenced to the cane. Could it be that the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, had such a succesful career beating smaller boys at Eton, where he was known as 'Hitler' Hurd? The exquisitely ironic Singaporean responses to any FO complaint are too easy to imagine, and too painful to contemplate.

Mehta physical

IT would be difficult to overpraise the achievements of Ved Mehta, the blind Indian writer, whose journey through life has taken him from a bleak school for blind children in India, to the United States, then Balliol, and on to international fame. His success must depend partly on his insistence that he be treated exactly the same as his sighted friends. Coolly eavesdropping in Bombay recently, we hear the poet and journalist Dom Moraes recall the time in the 1950s when he introduced Mehta to Francis Bacon in Soho.

The young writer insisted he be taken at once to the Master's studio. Reluctantly leaving his champagne, Bacon led the way. Once in the studio, Mehta wanted to 'see' the latest paintings. Muttering to himself by now, Bacon hauled out the canvases and lined them up. 'Hmm,' said the stern young critic, after standing in front of each of them in turn, 'not your best work.' Bacon, for once, was speechless.

Kremlin gremlins

Ring out wild bells, to the wild sky,

Ring out the old, ring in the new

Ring out the false, ring in the true]

Or perhaps not . . . The bells of Ivan the Great's tower in the Kremlin have been silent since 1918, when their use was banned by Lenin. Finally, Boris Yeltsin - a good Orthodox Christian - has handed them back to the church authorities.

For the first time, in a practice for the Russian Easter, the bells begin pealing out joyously. But soft] What man is this approaching? Well, it's a man from the Kremlin, and in a very grim mood. Kindly stop that racket at once. Don't you know what time it is? Someone Very Important has been woken up.

Russia being Russia, a Leninist silence abruptly descends once more over Ivan's belfry; the presidential lie-in resumes its fitful course.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • 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 General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk