John Walsh: Time we made our tantrums official

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The Independent Online

Now now. Temper temper. Our thoughts are with Matt Prior, the bearded and slightly alarming England wicketkeeper, who, completely by accident, smashed a window at Lord's Cricket Ground during the Test against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. True, he had just been run out for four, after getting halfway down the crease and being sent back to his wicket by Ian Bell, but these things happen.

He didn't want to smash the window, a spokesman said. He had no intention of causing fenestral impairment. He merely, they said, tossed a glove lightly into a kit bag, but the glove "ricocheted" into some bats leaning against a window pane, and the next thing you know, the air was full of jagged-glass confetti and a female spectator's shoes were stained with blood. No hang on, the spokesman continued after consulting a spin doctor, I tell a lie, what happened was, Mr Prior "put his bat on the ledge where the wall meets the window" (you mean the windowsill?) but "the bat handle bounced off the wall and into the glass".

It must be a rough place, the dressing room at Lord's, what with all these ricocheting gloves and bats that bounce off the wall by themselves. And it was good of Matt Prior to take the rap for injuring the young woman, and apologise with his big blue wicketkeeper gloves held up in that "Calm down, dear" gesture. But do we have to persist in the fiction that it was an unfortunate accident? Can we not say, it was a simple temper tantrum, in the great tradition of British tantra?

We've always been brilliant at sudden childish fits of uncontrollable bad temper. We're really good at it. What drives the action of King Lear, and sends the old king out on his voyage of discovery on the blasted heath? A tantrum, when his daughter Cordelia refuses to give him what he wants, namely a declaration of love. What caused the English Reformation and gave us the Protestant church? A tantrum, when Henry VIII was told he couldn't divorce his inconvenient wife and marry the foxy Ms Boleyn. This wasn't a long, slow evolution of church history – it was the result of a king's raging fury about not being allowed to have what you want.

More recently, it's been discovered that, when Pete Townshend of The Who first smashed up his guitar on stage, it wasn't because he was trying to make an arty point about mass-produced art; it was because one of the machine-heads had packed up. You know how our TV chefs like to display their short fuses and tendency to get a bit cross? The prototype, the real original, was Keith Floyd, who was a master of childish rages. In the mid-1990s, he drank too much on his birthday, 28 December, went into the pub he'd lovingly restored, the Maltsters Arms in Devon, and trashed the place. When they asked him why, he replied that he never got any decent birthday presents so soon after Christmas.

We all do it. It's a vital corrective to mild-mannered, stiff-upper-lipped, cast-no-clout Britishness that we explode from time to time. We shouldn't be embarrassed. We should celebrate. There should be a National Tantrum Day, on which we're allowed to adopt an expression of thunder, stick out our lower lip, stamp one foot hard on the floor and throw something through the nearest pane of glass.

The Olympic torch is tainted for ever

It's 2ft 7in long long, it's gold-coloured and it's mired in controversy. The Olympic torch was unveiled yesterday and its designers were instantly criticised by the Commission for a Sustainable London for using gas to keep the flame lit on its journey around the UK. (They prefer briquettes of elephant grass.) More serious than the environmentalist issue, though, is the Nazi association. Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge, went on the Today programme yesterday and, asked to describe the original torch in ancient Greece, said: "The Olympic torch idea is the invention of the Nazis in 1936. There was an everlasting flame burning during the games at Olympia but no torch lighting – that was a neo-classical confection, a great idea of Hitler's propagandists."

Prof Beard has been making this point for at least three years, but this was her big moment. And I've found that, once you have the torch's Nazi provenance in your head, it stays there. It'll be hard to watch the thing being borne aloft on its tour of duty, without thinking of a great flaming swastika.

When you attract enemies like Rosie does ...

The young lady above is Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley, the model-turned-actress, who has just won Glamour magazine's "Editor's Special Award". I believe this means that Ms H-Whasn't won any actual prize, but a glamour prize-giving without her would simply be pointless.

Rosie's most salient attribute is not, you'll be surprised to hear, her long legs or her slightly scary eyes, but her capacity to attract enemies. In the new GQ, she bitterly recalls her schooldays in Tavistock, Devon: "I got teased because of my lips. I used to get called Tit Lips, because I had big lips but no breasts. And then I was called Kipper Lips. There was this big group of girls who were Devon's answer to Mean Girls and they would storm the bathrooms shouting, 'I'm going to f***ing deck you, Lips'."

At 21, when enjoying her first big campaign, a photo of her sharing a marijuana bong with some pals, aged 17, appeared online and soon hit the tabloids. Her career survived but, "I know who took the picture and I know who put it on the internet", she says, darkly. Is she going to seek revenge? Perhaps she should read up on Leo "Lips" Moceri, the Mafia hitman, arrested but never convicted for three murders. She would make a terrific avenging angel.