Should we ban the suspects?

The issue of linking falling sperm counts and environmental pollution is dogged by the difficulties of proving that a cause has a certain effect. There are some scientists who have even cast doubt on whether the effect in question - the failing reproductive health of men - is genuine.

how to fly fish

If there are five million fishermen in this country there must be something in it. Starting from a position of total ignorance I decided, nonetheless, to start at the top and took myself to the Hugh Falkus School of Casting where they teach a one-day course for trout fishing and a two- day course for salmon.

Letter: Milk into water

Sir: The crime for which Thoreau claimed that finding "trout in the milk" offered strong circumstantial evidence (Diary, 3 July) was watering the milk - an offence once familiar enough to feature in Under Milk Wood ("Ocky Milkman ... his milk's fresh as the dew. Half dew it is"), now a low-fat virtue promoted by the slimming industry.

Diary RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS

Interviewed about his health in the London Evening Standard last week, the newscaster John Humphrys remarked: "Glasses are a complete bloody nightmare ... I'm always losing them or sitting on them. I refuse to walk down the road with them hanging on a bit of string round my neck. That is the ultimate admission of getting old, isn't it?"

Rich pickings with a catch

fishing lines

Weird scenes from an enchanted isle

Jan Morris explores magic, mystery and the strange dream life of Corsica's sinister shamans The Dream-Hunters of Corsica Dorothy Carrington Weidenfeld £20

Costly nibble at the bank

fishing lines

Delights after the defrost

fishing lines

Salmon stuffer is a good skin

fishing lines

Fly in the face of convention

Fishing lines

Fishing Lines: Time off and bad behaviour

A FRIEND, who had better remain nameless, came to me last week with a problem that every angler dreads. Having told his office and family that he was calling on clients, he sloped off for a quiet day's fishing. It's a manoeuvre he has got away with several times in the past. I've often been his alibi, should wife or boss check on his movements. 'Sorry, but you've just missed him. No, he didn't say where he was going next . . . '

Todays, Number: 113

The trout caught by the England team in the international fly-fishing competition on the Lake of Menteith, Scotland. England's winning total weighed 123lb 8oz. Scotland were second with 108 fish.

EXHIBITIONS / Recording artist: Don van Vliet, the artist, is now back in touch with Captain Beefheart, the legend. Robert Hanks spots the difference

When he was a boy, back in Glendale, California, in the Forties and Fifties, Don van Vliet wanted to be a sculptor; at the age of 13, he even won a scholarship to study in Europe. But his parents thought that was kind of cissy, and wouldn't let him. Instead, he went off to become Captain Beefheart, performing upright, manly blues-stroke-dada-stroke-field hollers- stroke-atonal collective improvisation with his Magic Band. Presumably his parents wished they'd left well alone.

Trout killed

UP TO 100,000 mature trout at a fish farm were thought to have been killed by a river pollution incident involving slurry from a dairy farm on the river Camel in north Cornwall.

Exhibitions Special: Re-Achieving naivety: Today's arts pages are devoted to the visual. We begin with probably the only full-time painter who used to be a mythical figure in music. Once Captain Beefheart, now plain Don Van Vliet, he is soon to exhibit in Brighton. Ben Thompson sent him a fax

DON VAN VLIET lives in the small and beautifully named town of Trinidad in Northern California, up by the Oregon border, 135 ft from the ocean. He paints there. He is a painter of note - 'Stand Up to Be Discontinued', the second British exhibition of his work, arrives in Brighton in September to confound anyone who doubts this - but he used to be a painter of notes.
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