John Walsh: That's no way to treat a local dignitary

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The Independent Online

Keith Sharp, a Peterborough film fan, went into his local Blockbuster and tried to take out Piranha 3D. The youths at the counter refused to let him. Their reasoning was simple. They could rent him a 3D movie, but he'd need 3D glasses to watch it; they couldn't rent 3D glasses, because of the "hygiene risk" of sharing cardboard with other people; so he couldn't have the movie after all. In vain did Mr Sharp protest that he had two pairs of 3D specs at home. Sorry, said the staff – it's Blockbuster policy. "I've come across idiotic health and safety people in my life," said Mr Sharp, who used to be a safety officer himself, "and this is up there with the worst of them." One puzzling thing. Mr Sharp is the Mayor of Peterborough. What is a man of such grave and awesome demeanour doing watching Piranha 3D? Shouldn't he be spending his evenings reading Trollope?

* The Durbar is a superior Indian restaurant in trendy west London. It's been there 54 years and has many local celebrity clients. The management must have been delighted when a famous actor volunteered his opinion of one of their dishes. Timing and fate, though, were against them. Their winter advertisement boasts: "'A rogan josh to die for' – Pete Postlethwaite."

* Lucky escape of the week: Darco Sangermano, shot in the head by a stray bullet while walking through Naples. The .22 shell broke his temporal bone, grazed his eyeball, narrowly missed blinding him and lodged in his nasal passage. While waiting at the hospital, he sneezed. The bullet flew out of his right nostril, ricocheted off the kidney dish he was holding and shot him in the arm... Okay, I made up the last bit. But it's true he sneezed a bullet. How many of us can say that? Gesundheit!

* Good to see that Anna Chapman, the not- unattractive Russian spy thrown out of America last summer after spending years in "deep cover," has landed a TV show on a Russian independent network. Episode 1 of Secrets of the World with Anna Chapman airs on 21 January. The programme allows her "to use all her talents to solve the world's most complicated mysteries," says a press release. Like, for instance, what persuaded Vladimir Putin to sing "Blueberry Hill" in the voice of a young Chinese girl at a charity event in front of Gerard Depardieu and Goldie Hawn in December? We still don't know. Can Anna help?