FLAT EARTH

How to needle

a Calabrian

BRAVE as a lion, the BBC, I always say, and quite fearless in pursuit of Truth. But was it really wise to antagonise the entire population of southern Italy, addicted as it is to eternal vendettas? It seems that a BBC team, intent on demonstrating the unarguable fact that the mafia- infested city of Reggio di Calabria is a dump, picked up a load of old syringes and condoms and what not, scattered them artfully about on Reggio di Calabria's main street and then proceeded to film them with every sign of verite. They were, however, caught in the act, given a good smacking by outraged locals and sent on their way. But the fallout continues. Another BBC outfit down south on a story about illegal immigrants met a particularly miserable and dishevelled Albanian who had endured hours on the open seas, and asked to interview him. He drew himself up haughtily, withdrawing the hem of his overcoat as one avoiding contamination, and said: "The BBC? The ones who planted those syringes? I'm not talking to you."

Going ape

THE remarkable thing about the mass outbreak of violent chimpanzees from an Ulster zoo last week was not so much that they escaped but what they did next. Did they pelt their keepers or push over policemen and steal their helmets or raid fruit-and-veg barrows? No. With uncanny, almost high-minded precision, they set about attacking the environment's greatest enemy, the motorcar.

No Ford Sierra parked near the zoo was safe. But how did the chimps, immured for life in their dreadful concrete compound, know the car was the thing to go for? They could not, for example, have absorbed the alarming reports from the world forest research conference in Finland this month which warns that global warming may be happening too fast for forests to adapt, and that the tree itself may disappear. Animal instinct is a mysterious thing.

The splendid anti-car manifestation came to an end only when the authorities unleashed a rain of tranquillising darts into the beasts, which is of course more or less what they have been doing to us for years as the smog gets hotter and thicker.

Vin du bays

NOW down, down, down we go into the cool caverns of the seas, where, if you're a lucky skindiver these days, you may run into 10,000 bottles of Pouilly Fume 1994. They've been submerged in crates at a secret spot 18 miles off the French coast by vigneron Jean-Louis Saget, who says that the rocking of the tides and currents, as well as mysterious influences of the sea water, will give the wine a fuller flavour and a pleasant mineral tang when they are salvaged in 1999.

"Aromatically, wine stored underwater is more complex, with a more developed bouquet. It's more mineral, one feels it has lived in osmosis with its surroundings," said Philippe Faure-Brach, a former world champion wine taster. "The one stored under earth is more fruity, with flowery notes."

1999, eh? Hmmm ... Maybe we'll be ready to forgive the French their nuclear tests and start drinking their wine again by 1999. This boycott, as I'm sure you agree, is, though necessary, a bit inconvenient at times. I keep wondering whether the English boycotted Bordeaux during the Napoleonic wars, and then realised that of course they didn't. Carnivorous English squires probably took additional relish in toasting the downfall of Boney with great bumpers of claret. On the other hand, Oddbins didn't have shelves bending under the vintages of Napa Valley and Tumbarumba back in 1815.

Hot property

HERE we are in the supermarket at Velletri, on the outskirts of Rome. Outside it's sweltering, as hot as - I don't know - southern England or somewhere. The door bursts open, a masked man comes in from the street, pulling out a gun. Everyone puts their hands in the air as he goes straight to the counter, and, ignoring the money, the champagne, picks up the electric fan from the counter and, sweating profusely, backs out towards the door and away.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
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

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum