John Walsh: btw

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The scary Mark E Smith, veteran lead singer with The Fall, has been sounding off about his pet hates in press interviews this week. You know what he really hates? Suicide bombers? Un-maternal child abductors? No. Red squirrels. He can't stand them. He thinks they attracts rats. Bloody red squirrels. He claims to have killed two "for eating my garden fence" and would cheerfully dispatch more, using his "professional hedge-clippers." The fun-loving Mr Smith further seeks to endear himself to the British public by saying how much he'd enjoy running over seagulls with his car. Unfortunately, his dislike of endangered species has landed him in trouble. The RSPCA have pointed out that anyone who harms red squirrels is contravening the Wildlife and Countryside Act and is liable, on conviction, to six months in jail, or a fine of £20,000. They're coming to get him. Time for a swift retraction?

* The strategy planners at Wetherspoons, All Bar One and other pub chains must be kicking themselves. A pair of Muslim entrepreneurs, Azizur Rahman and Muzahid Khan, have bought the Westwood Inn in Oldham, Lancashire, and reinvented it as the Halal Inn, Britain's first Islamic boozer. Patrons won't be able to drink alcohol (obviously) but they can knock back apple juice until they're green in the face. There's also a steam room, a prayer room and a games area, where you can play snooker, darts and an Asian table game called karam, while groovy music – actually classic Islamic songs – is piped through the Tannoy. The owners are now planning an Islamic Quiz Nite. Can a Miss Wet Burqa contest be farbehind? (Yes it can.)

* Only a month after the grim announcement that "Saga Louts" – over-50, well-heeled, middle-class holidaymakers on the beer, the weed and the pull – were terrorising genteel European holiday resorts, news arrives that drivers of "mobility scooters" have started gunning their machines to an unheard-of 8mph and screeching through town centres, cannoning into pedestrians and sending unwary young folk flying. The worst-affected town is Rugby, where ancient boy-racers routinely ride on pavements, heedless of danger to life and limb.Next: Jet-pack Zimmer bandits.

* Charming story in the tabloids, illustrating the perils of unclear diction. A 19-year-old Cockney girl, staying in Hertfordshire, wanted a taxi to take her to Bristol airport. She rang directory enquiries and, using rhyming slang, said "I'm lookin' for a Joe Baxi." The operator told her there was no listing in that name. "It ain't a person," said the girl, "It's a cab, innit?" Duly enlightened, the operator put her through to the nearest furniture shop, Displaysense, in Bishop's Stortford. The sales assistant struggled to understand, whereupon the girl said, "Look, love, how hard is it? All I want is your cheapest cab, innit? I need it for 10am. How much is it?" The saleswoman quoted a price for their cheapest cabinet and took her address. The girl paid £180 – and the next morning, instead of a taxi, a handsome office cabinet arrived.

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