Sunday 26 February 1995
THE TAPAS craze has finally reached America, but a certain amount of social confusion comes in its wake. People there have been puzzled by the tone of cold refusal which sometimes meets an invitation to get together at a tapas bar. To the untrained American ear, it seems, the word "tapas" sounds much the same as "topless".
And cultural faultlines could also be felt trembling in Cairo in the last month. We were surprised to learn how the new McDonald's branch there cashes in on the Ramadan fast, which ends at dusk with the iftar meal. "Have a McIftar!" shout the signs under the yellow arches. "It's anything you want, plus a free soup," said a waiter.
The Dali news
LAST WEEK it was the French shellfish mountain, with oysters weighing up to 1lb a piece. Then came the announcement of a new motor fuel in Australia made from coconut oil which will work in a diesel engine, but smell like hair oil. Hot on the heels of that comes news from China, where two square miles of trees were inexplicably chopped in half within a few minutes. All were cut down by what eyewitnesses described as "a train hanging in the air," according to the report.
Being the sort of column that detects the deep connection between events, we can safely say that on this one, er, we're stumped. Still - giant oysters, sweet-smelling traffic jams, trains in mid air . . . they all have a nicely consistent surreal quality, to the point that you could argue that the surrealists weren't surreal at all, but simply peered further into the future than everyone else.
Whore the merrier
NOW you may think, and I may think, that foreign correspondents lead lives of glamour and ease, but they oddly enough never seem to think so, preferring to stress the rigours, even the squalor, of life on the road. And, well, sometimes they have a point.
Two colleagues now happily back in London tell of booking into a Luxembourgeois hotel which seemed more horrible than usual, with murky bedrooms, shared bathrooms and the distinct impression that the place was somehow related to the whorehouse next door. They eventually went down to settle that question with the desk. "Are you connected to the brothel next door?" they asked.
"Certainly not," said the receptionist, bridling at the suggestion. "This is an entirely separate brothel."
FROM the Tribute Through Clenched Teeth Department: When David Lange, New Zealand's former prime minister, announced he was leaving politics last Thursday, commentators and politicians queued up to praise his achievments and his wit. Finally the present PM, one Jim Bolger, less than silver- tongued himself - and described once by Lange as having "the breadth of vision of a horse with blinkers and the tolerance of the Inquisition" - was obliged to join the chorus.
"He's a very colourful speaker. I'm sure he'll be missed in terms of his flashes of wit. Which are quite spectacular. At times," he said.
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
A very timely Great Train Robbery and a frantic 24 Hours in A&E among the highlights
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Colin Farrell reveals ‘affair’ with Elizabeth Taylor: 'She was my last romantic relationship'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Peter O'Toole: Tales of the late film icon
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 4 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- 5 Status: Wet - Woman walks off a pier while checking Facebook on her phone
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