John Walsh: btw

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The Independent Online

It sends a clear message to all licensees... that we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in our licensed premises," said David Parkinson, police chief of Pinjarra, south of Perth, Australia. The behaviour in question was that of an Amazonian barmaid called Luana de Favori who entertained drinkers in the bar of the Premier Hotel by her party trick of crushing beer cans between her naked breasts. She was fined A$1,000 – not for saucy behaviour or fleshy exposure, but for an offence under the Liquor Control Act, which evidently stipulates what you can and can't do with an empty tinnie. More larks were provided by another barmaid called Leslie, who was fined for helping Luana hang spoons from her nipples. And the hotel was fined a thousand bucks for failing to restrain the pair. The pair of girls, obviously. Do keep up.

* Class warfare is alive and well (though concealed by hefty euphemism) on Virgin trains. A friend who took the Virgin Pendolino from Manchester to London last week was startled to hear the train manager announce: "In the interests of health and hygiene, will standard-class passengers please refrain from walking through first-class carriages to exit the train." Quite right too. You can't risk having sub-prime carbon dioxide exhaled by riff-raff in a posh person's carriage, can you?

* Albert Pierrepoint, the executioner responsible for dispatching 600 British prisoners, may have been given the posthumous honour of a feature film about his life (with Timothy Spall in the title role) but such celebrity shenanigans were frowned on by the authorities while he was alive. Document of the Week is surely the list of instructions and caveats given to Pierrepoint when he became an assistant executioner in 1932. The prison authorities told him not to volunteer for specific executions, and that "such an application will be regarded as objectionable conduct and may lead to the removal of the applicant's name from the list." (So no cries of "Let me do it sir!" OK?) Also they warned: "The apparatus approved for use at executions will be provided at the prison. No part of it may be removed ..." So, no taking your work home, OK, even if Mrs P is getting on your nerves ...

* Remember The Meaning of Tingo, that collection of useful words for strange things in foreign cultures, quarried from a thousand dictionaries by Adam Jacot de Boinod? It's spawned a sequel, Toujours Tingo, out next week. In its pages you find that the Hindi word kanjus makkhuichus means a person so miserly that, if a fly fell into his tea, he'd suck it dry before throwing it away. That, in German, a Tantenverführer is an "aunt-seducer" ie, a young man with suspiciously immaculate manners. That the Inuit have a word ( puyugaktuq) for approaching a sea mammal by crawling along. That the evocative Tamil word athukkugirathu means the act of pressing a fruit softly with your fingers. And that the deeply sinister korova (literally a cow,) is a word used by men escaping from a Russian prison camp to mean the unsuspecting person they bring with them to eat on the journey to freedom.

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