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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam