Sunday 28 May 1995
STILL pining for the "special relationship", torpedoed by the Tories who so niftily backed Bush against Clinton in the last election? Never fear - in some ways we are still Athens to their Rome. British journalist Christopher Hitchens describes a phone call from the White House: "Hi. George Stephanopoulos thought you would know where that line about 'the centre cannot hold' comes from." Clearly a White House speech full of doomy Yeatsian echoes was in the pipeline, so Hitchens rang back to declaim "The Second Coming" to a secretary.
"The repetition of 'loosed' after 'blood-dimmed tide' gave some difficulty," Hitchens writes, "and then with a sinking feeling I heard myself say: 'The ceremony of innocence is drowned.' When the recitation ended, there was a puzzled silence on the line.
" 'Will he know what this is about?'
"'Yes he will. It's a poem he asked for.'
" 'A poem? Did you write it?'"
Horn of Africa
A RARE meeting of minds in the Middle East, where fundamentalist group Al-Jihad has taken against the admittedly rather phallic 617ft Cairo Tower. "It must be destroyed," thundered an Al-Jihad fatwa last week. "Its shape, and its construction amid greenery, could excite Egyptian women." You realise what this means? Now trees are offensive objects on the grounds that they resemble pubic hair - which, apart from being 90ft high and home to the common magpie, I suppose they do. "The Tower is against sharia law," continued the edict, "and so it must fall." This will please the Americans, who could never stand the sight of the thing. Angered by a US decision in 1960 to cut off funds for the Aswan Dam, Nasser, using dollars America had already donated, built the tower to cock a snook at the West.
EVER wake up in a sweat from nightmares about Eastern Europe - rusty reactors, crime waves, that sort of thing? Wait till you hear about their schools. Ignorance and indiscipline have engulfed the halls - not helped, it must be said, by staff. In Bulgaria, two lady teachers (history and maths), feeling fed up, brought along a can of petrol and immolated themselves in assem-bly last week. In another school one boy behaved so badly that he has been suspended for 50 years. Which is dandy for everyone except the poor teacher, probably as yet unborn, who will be taking class in 2045: the door bursts open, and the aged and sullen Bulgar slouches to his desk, behind in all subjects.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
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