Captain Moonlight: How to be disgustingly rich, like me

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The Independent Online
ATTENTION! Today, I want to talk to you about money. Don't worry, it's not a request. I've tried that before, and, frankly, your response was less than heartwarming. No, this is about how to make it. The Captain has noticed, you see, that we in Britain are lagging behind in the wealth game - only 11 dollar billionaires compared with 48 in Germany, 32 in Japan, and the odd 208 in the United States. For shame! Just get out there and get on with it, aided by these top billion-spinning tips from yours truly: 1) Grow a beard. Look what it's done for Richard Branson. 2) Use your teabags twice and invest the saving in premium bonds. 3) Do you know any members of the Saudi royal family? 4) Have you thought of writing music? Look at Lord Lloyd Webber: "Mem-ories, da, da, da, da, da-da-DA!" Easy-peasy, go on, give it a try! 5) Corner the market in second-hand rope. They tell me there's a lot of money in it. 6) Dictatorship is not without its perks, you know. 7) Do you know Geoffrey Robinson? 8) Plumbing? 9) Glove puppets are always popular, too. 10) The ten most drawn lottery balls are 25, 38, 44, 28, 47, 2, 9, 45, 31, and 27. Thank you.

BBRRNNGG! Ah, yes, the atonal annunciator of telephonic tidings! And on it, direct from her Westminster nerve centre, my political correspondent, Ms Una Tributable. "Captain! Tony Banks, sports minister! Pressing business in Marrakesh this weekend! Apparently, some French footballer, Frank Le Boeuf, Chelsea, is that right, is celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary and has invited Tony and his wife and a lot of other footballers, none of whom mean anything to me, bye." Hmm. I suppose a less indulgent employer might be a little irritated by this, but I rather admire Ms Tributable's refusal to bow to current popular obsession. Am I a better person, or journalist, just because I know that Banksy's finest achievement to date was that tremendous save from Pele in the 1970 World Cup? I think not. Next!

FLASH, bang, wallop! Pictures, eh? One worth a thousand words, that's what I always say. So what's going on down there, beyond the bus stop (of which more in a minute!)? That's right, it's the very latest in my fascinating series of world leaders who closely resemble Roger Moore! We have already had, you will remember, Rog and Jian Zemin, the Chinese top man; today the Captain brings you the former Saint and the new President of Slovakia, Rudolf Schuster, who, I had better tell you, is the one on the right. And then, down below, that's my fishtank, the world's first virtual internet site. And the keener-eyed among you will have spotted a new addition: yes, indeed, the rather pretty shell! It was brought back by the fish nanny and general factotette here, Victoria, from a recent holiday in Majorca (very nice, got a bit burnt on the third day, but soon recovered, wonderful stuff that camomile lotion). By the way, some of you might have been a little alarmed by a programme on Channel 4 on Wednesday evening in which a large Amazonian Pacu fish was fished out of its tank, beaten on the head and then consumed with relish (do your own gag). Naturally, I have consulted our resident expert here on tropical fish, Mr Hicks of Sport, about this; and I have to say that he came down very strongly indeed against any such action, as the Captain's fish "aren't even as big as whitebait yet". I'll keep you posted on this one. Next!

BBRRNNGG! Another ring, another call from Ms Britt Bafter, my delightful "showbiz" correspondent! "Captain! Now it can be told! Sir Elton John, his piano, and the funeral of the Princess of Wales. Not many people know that when Sir Elton's piano was delivered to Westminster Abbey, it came in a flat pack, just like MFI. And when they opened up the pack, they found they were three bolts short! But it was too late to do anything about it, so Sir Elton played his famous lament on a piano in imminent danger of collapse as he moved into the more thumping moments of "Candle in the Wind". What a moment that would have been, Captain! Oh, and by the way, I'm told that the famous snow scene in the Notting Hill film has rusted lots of railings in the Portobello Road. Bye." Indeed, indeed. I replace the receiver, thankful that such revelations have not fallen into less sensitive hands. Next!

WHAT? Who's that in the other picture? I'll tell you who that is: that's Mr Tomalin of Aldeburgh. Following rumours that the Moonlight Badge might be merely a figment of Captainly whimsy, Mr Tomalin has most kindly responded to my appeal for photographic evidence of Badge winners wearing their awards with pride. Thank you, Mr Tomalin, such clear and categoric proof should settle the doubts and doubters once and for all!

COOKING With The Captain. I was in Paris last weekend. Lunch in the Bois de Boulogne, back to Blighty with 18 cases of lager in the boot of the Armstrong Siddeley, that sort of thing. Anyway, as I was making my way round the splendid Egyptian exhibition in the Grand Palais, I was brought up very short by a funeral model fashioned during the Fifth Dynasty, some time before 2500 BC. It was a model of a cook found in a tomb in Giza. And do you know what this cook was clearly doing? Only hand raising a pork pie! It might have been Mr Pimblett, of Pimblett's Pies, St Helens, himself. Absolutely remarkable! Go and see for yourself. You've got until 12 July. After that, the world's first recorded pieman will be back in the Egyptian collection at the University of Leipzig. Captain Moonlight: education and entertainment. Next!

CHAOS! Last week, Moonlight Badges were awarded to readers who had identified my mystery object as an early TV detector van. But now I have received a letter from Dr Coleman of Market Deeping pointing out that it was, in fact, an early wireless detector van. Well. What to do? After much thought and consultation, the Captain has decided to stand by last week's awards. And Dr Coleman, for services to the Truth, will receive not only a Badge, but also one of the 19 royal wedding videos rescued by the Captain from a humiliating knock-down sale in a Windsor post office only weeks before the recent glorious nuptials. Thank you, Doctor. Enjoy!

BBRRNNGG! Another ring, another call from Ms Tributable! "Captain, Fraser Kemp, MP, New Labour's Mr Back Room! He was due to appear on BBC Radio Five Live in a discussion on the party's direction with, among others, Alan Simpson, Old Labour and loud with it. Well, curious thing, extraordinary, the whips suddenly find that they need Simpson for all these vote thingies! Poor old Alan finally got on, puffing, with only minutes left. Poor show, eh, Captain? Oh, and we're all very happy here because we've just heard that lovely Peter Mandelson, the rich man's Fraser Kemp, will be going to the Dome on Millennium Night after all. Bye!" My, but it's exciting down at Westminster, isn't it? Next!

FANTASTIQUE! That would, probably, be a French reader's reaction to my acclaimed Moonlight Miscellany, a flambe of fascination, a souffle of snippets, a marmite of marvels. And, first, that bus stop. It is in Shetland, in Baltasound. I am told that it might possibly be the most northerly bus stop in Britain. No, I don't know why it contains a sofa, a television, and some plastic vegetables. Meanwhile, better news of probably the least-used bus stop in Britain, near Lewes. I had a photograph of it, you will recall,which went mysteriously missing, no doubt snatched by a jealous rival. But now Ms Swann MBH (Moonlight Badge Holder) of Newhaven, has volunteered to send her husband Charles off on his bicycle to take a new shot of it. God speed, Mr Swann! Next, three members of an all-girl chapter of Hell's Angels are suing Dennis Laroux, 49, after he tattooed "Stan's Slaves" on their breasts rather than Satan's Slaves. Next, your next comp, if you should choose to accept it: apparently, there's some popular record out at the moment full of sound advice on Life. Yours, please, in a sentence, Moonlight Badges on offer. Finally, just before I left for the country, I asked our boffins here to brighten up my image with some of that technical trickery which helped the royal family out so much at the lovely wedding. How's it gone? Bye!

JOY! BBC staff (including, out of picture, left, Mr Alan Yentob) congratulating Sir Christopher Bland, the chairman, on the choice of next DG, Mr Gregory Dyke. No? All right, it's the Society of Auctioneers' summer party. Mr Piers Veneer, president, has just mimed a man with a bad facial tic. No? All right, it's the Portuguese president, Jorge Sampaio, under playful attack at an Oporto fiesta. Is it me, by the way, or does he look a little like Roger Moore?