John Walsh: btw

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Rock 'n' roll wild excess update: oddest revelation of the week was about the backstage "riders" demanded by Led Zeppelin before their roof-raising reunion concert at the O2 Dome this week. Once it would have been quarts of bourbon, sacks of white powder and (if the rumours are true) shoals of nubile young women and raw fish. Now all they ask for is a pot of tea and an ironing board. Know-all fans will tell you that Robert Plant, the legendarily effervescent singer, claims doing some ironing calms his pre-show nerves. It seems only yesterday that Katie Melua was telling a national magazine that she was exceptionally accomplished at ironing, and has written a song about it. Ironing is it some new incarnation of heavy metal?

* What a thoughtful fellow is Major Iain Dalzel-Job of the Scots Guards Association. He arranged for 650 parcels of Christmas goodies to be shipped out to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The treats, including traditional Christmas Day party accessories, were marshalled and sent to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, to be forwarded to the Middle East. Just before loading, Major Dalzel-Job glanced at the list of banned objects that couldn't be transported on RAF planes ... It was the crackers. The little snap inside them is considered an explosive, and consequently they come under the heading of "dangerous air cargo". Rather than send them home, the major and his team had to defuse the little blighters, one by one. "The soldiers will just have to go 'bang!' when they pull them," said the Major ruefully. I trust that's not the way they usually engage the enemy.

* The week's most intently scrutinised CV is that of Fabio Capello, unveiled as the new England manager. His history, his wife and family, his slightly alarming fondness for fascist dictators, his taste in wine, they've all been checked out. Recalling the heyday of Sven Goran Eriksson, some people have inspected the Iron Sergeant's past for evidence of moral ambiguity or an eye for the ladies; but nothing has emerged. About the only thing we don't know about him is: what does his name mean? Is it like a cappella meaning "in the church style"? No, that's got two Ps. Does it mean "orchestra" as in capellmeister? No, that's German. According to linguistic scholars, "Capello" derives from the Latin word for "male goat." Uh-oh.

* Hot sporting news of the week is that HM the Queen is a darts fan. At least that's what Zara Phillips, told arrows champion Phil Taylor at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The late Queen Mother was also, apparently, keen on the noble art of flinging sharpened tungsten at the treble twenty. It's hard to know if the Princess Royal's daughter was pulling Taylor's leg or if this is one more example of the monarch's democratic impulses, along with her Tupperware breakfast set, her iPod, her emails and her support for Arsenal FC. The nation is now collectively gripped by the thought of the Queen turning up at the Pig & Whistle and taking her turn at the oche.

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