CAPTAIN MOONLIGHT

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The Independent Online
PHEW, what a week! The phones have been going absolutely mad! It was because of that stunt by Cadbury's, you know, projecting an advertisement for their Wispa bar on to the dome of St Paul's. Well, naturally, as I am a leading expert on sponsorship and marketing (cf my hat), everyone wanted to know what I thought about it. Some suggested it might be in bad taste, using a sacred place and potent national symbol to sell chocolate. I am happy to say I treated that line with some disdain, pointing out that such objections failed to grasp the zeitgeist. There are some people who wouldn't see the postmodern irony in the special festive gift pack that Durex is making available exclusively in garage forecourt shops this Christmas. Contraceptives to celebrate a birth: brilliant! One for Westminster Abbey, perhaps? Anyway, the more adverts we get projected the better, I say. Now rotate this newspaper through 90 degrees and admire the Captain's plan for Trafalgar Square!

n ATTENTION. Time for action. Le Beaujolais Nouveau. Arrives yet again this Thursday. Filthy stuff. French won't drink it, send it over here. You know the French, always letting things off. Boycotts, bans, demos. So, Le Heave-Ho for Le Nouveau? Not a bit of it, or mais non, as I believe they say. They, in the shape of Sopexa, their wine exporting association, also say that trade inquiries here about Thursday are actually 150 per cent up on last year. Citizens, enough! Why don't we all drink something else instead? Port, to take a random example. And let us retaliate. Let us send a load of something useless over there. I have in mind returned copies of the Observer. Let me have your ideas. Port for the best!

CAPTAIN Moonlight's Interactive Corner: welcome to the part of the column, dear reader, devoted to your hopes, fears and insights, insights which deliver us straight into the living-room of Truth. And in return I give you a bottle of the sponsor's port (not their best, I'm afraid to say, but they have still not sent any of the '63). Ms Samuels of Ilford writes. Her note concerns David Bowie, who will be appearing at Wembley Arena this week. Or will he? For, as Ms Samuels points out, there is an uncanny resemblance between Mr Bowie and a Camilla Parker Bowles, who is, I'm told, a friend of the Prince of Wales. Has anyone, wonders Ms Samuels, ever seen David Bowie and Mrs Parker Bowles together? Bowie, Bowles. Look at my pictures: uncanny, I think you'll agree. If you're going to Wembley, I should listen very carefully to the high notes. And what on earth are the constitutional implications?

n TONY BLAIR, you may have noticed, is supposed to be contemplating a move from fashionable north London to fashionable west London. I do hope he knows what he might be letting himself in for. Wynford, my west London correspondent, has been in touch. He reports a spate of missing cats in Bayswater. And he faxes a notice concerning Junior, a 17-year- old neutered male tabby "who looks younger". Junior, we learn, has been missing since 20 August "but an animal spiritualist has told us that he is alive and is being looked after by someone in the area". I speak to the owner, who, sadly, still has no news. She puts me in touch with the "animal spiritualist", Anne Wilson of Raynes Park. Mrs Wilson tells me she prefers to be called an inter-species communicator. She got in touch with Junior by homing in on his energy field. She is also a therapist and healer. Good luck, Junior. Good luck, Tony.

PRAISE BE! Not a one of you will have forgotten that Andrew Neil, former editor of the Sunday Times, currently "The Voice of Controversy" in the Daily Mail, was the first recipient of the Captain Moonlight/Trevor McDonald Towards More Colourful English Award for a startling metaphor involving dying swans and the gallows. All The Voice had to do was write in and claim his bottle of port. And now he has! Staggeringly, though, he claims not to be a reader of the column. How can he possibly have a rounded world view without it? Whatever, he expresses the hope that the award is complimentary. Naturally, my reply is carefully couched. Elsewhere in the columnar world: 1) My old chum Sir Bernard Ingham had a cracker of an opener in his piece about Paul Eddington in the Daily Express: "Sadly, I never met Paul Eddington ..." 2) Janet Daley, who doesn't get her name in fancy italics like Bernard Levin, gives up her column in the Times 3) And, finally, someone called Sarah Barnett at the Observer writes to tell me of the appointment of another mediocre columnist there. This one has red hair and a hyphen, as if it will make any difference. The release contains a stunningly illiterate sentence which I will reveal next week unless you send me a bottle of port, Sarah.

n THAT Beatles Reunion Latest: I just thought you should know that I know a man who once had a drink with another man in Ellesmere Port who was pretty sure he had taught John Lennon at art school. The Captain will reward similarly telling examples of close and cherished links with the lovable mop tops. Next!

YOU probably didn't notice, such is the seamless quality of service we provide here, but this particular Captain has been away for a couple of weeks. We started off in Ormskirk, centre of the Lancashire potato- growing industry. Not the biggest producer, but, we believe, the best, particularly the Nadine, which has everything the discerning baked-potato consumer could desire. Not a good chipper, though; you want one of our Pipers or an Estima for that. Production? Down a third, actually, because of all that hot weather. No, you still can't see the sea at Southport. Then we went over to the Vale of Belvoir, where we visited Belvoir Castle, and I had a brief conversation with its distinguished owner, the Duke of Rutland. "Excuse me," he said, as he led a party into the ballroom. My other highlight was witnessing the first ever decent game of rugby at Harlequins' Stoop ground, where St Helens outplayed the London Broncos. But now, lean, eager, I'm ready for anything. Did you know, for example, that Britt Ekland, Rolf Harris and Lionel Blair are turning on the Regent Street Christmas lights on Tuesday night? Don't fret, I'll tell you all about it next week!

The Captain's catch-up Service

YUP, here it is again, my exclusive review of the week's more telling news items ... Colonel Gaddafi's favourite author is Dame Barbara Cartland, Miss Christina Foyle, of that bookshop, revealed ... Morris dancers are going to install sound insulation in the scout hut at Ditchling, Sussex, after complaints that they were banging their sticks and whooping too loudly ... D L Searle, a geologist from Ipswich, wrote to the Daily Telegraph to say that he couldn't understand the fuss about the 17-year-old boy who had stitched up a woman's leg in a hospital. Dr Searle said he had "performed many operations in the Kenyan bush where I was the only white man ... Stitches were done with fine twine" ... Christmas geese will be in short supply this year because ganders and their mates lost much of their sex drive during the hot summer ... The Vatican has trained 24 young priests as astronaut missionaries, according to the World Weekly News. "It signals that the Vatican is prepared to spend millions, even billions, of dollars to convert extraterrestrials to a religion that is almost certainly not their own," Rudolph Koller, a theologian, told reporters in Salzburg.

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