Of all the bloody cheek. The nation woke yesterday to the news that Denmark's Veterinary and Food Administration has gone and banned Marmite from its shelves. There was immediate outrage. On Twitter, infuriated British consumers threatened to visit supermarkets and de-shelve cans of Carlsberg, packs of Danish bacon and tins of Spam (which, though invented in the US, is made in Denmark).
Cries arose for the immediate repatriation of Sandy Toksvig. It was suggested that the words "Hands Off Our Marmite, You Bastards", translated into Danish, should be spelt out in Lego bricks (which are made in Denmark) and left on the doorstep of the Danish embassy. Fearing an imminent riot in the streets, the embassy quickly denied there was any such ban. "ø nø," they prissily cried, "All we said was that fortified foods can't be marketed in Denmark unless they've been approved by Danish food authorities – and they haven't given their approval yet, ok?"
They may sound like reasonable people, but sooner or later the old antlered helmet pokes out, doesn't it? In Copenhagen, shops selling English goods are now being visited by goon squads, asking to see the owner's "official papers" that prove he's allowed to sell Marmite. It's like an episode of 'Allo, 'Allo, with a Nazi-coated SS officer grating, "I demand to see your Marmite Papers zis instant!"
The intensely flavoured yeast extract that we (mostly) love isn't the only food under scrutiny. The Danes have similarly withheld their approval of Rice Krispies, Horlicks, Ovaltine and Farley's Rusks, for the same reason – they're foods with "added vitamins and minerals". That can't be the real reason, can it? I thought vitamins were, broadly speaking, good for you – and they mostly dissolve inside the body and get flushed out the usual way, leaving no residue behind. No, the real reason is obviously that the Danes, descended from plunderers and ravagers, have decided that some British foods – warm night-time beverages, baby teething rusks, milky morning cereals – are insufficiently butch and hearty to be allowed house-room in their manly shops.
They doth protest too much, methinks. They're uncomfortably aware that their own contribution to world cuisine ain't exactly ambrosia. Indeed, trying to find actual Danish dishes is jolly hard. The classic Danish cookery book, Fru Magnor, deals mostly in French cuisine. Of Denmark's 11 official cheeses, 10 are copies from Edam, Gorgonzola and other foreigners. The one and only edible Danish export is, of course, the Pastry – that famously nourishing and healthy combination of dough, jam, cream, flavoured sugar and butter, almond paste and sticky syrup. Is it rude to point out that the Danish name for Danish pastries is Wienerbrod or "Vienna bread"? So even Danish pastries don't come from Denmark...
Their saving grace is that they have Rene Redzepi, whose Copenhagen restaurant Noma has won the San Pellegrino Best Restaurant in the World award two years running. I don't think, however, this should allow the Danes to pontificate about the acceptability of classic British foodstuffs. They'll be having a go at Fray Benton tinned pies next. And Bird's Eye Custard Powder. Imagine.
I hope Adele manages to stick to her principles
Tottenham-born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, better known as Adele, is currently the biggest pop star on the planet at 23, but she's a rather sweetly conflicted girl. Her interview in the new issue of Q magazine is fascinating about money, fame, art and ambition. Asked to offer her "five rules for happy pop stardom", she has a long rant about the importance of not selling out, taking money from "the Man", allowing oneself to be tied to commercial ventures. She pours scorn on her friend Duffy, who did a TV commercial for Diet Coke and took a career nosedive afterwards. "When you sell out, I think it's really shameful," she says. "I have become a brand myself and I ain't doing shit that people will be like, 'Why's she done that?' It depends what kind of artist you wanna be, but I don't want my name anywhere near another brand."
Admirable sentiments, but elsewhere, after musing about the importance of buying her mum a house in south London and herself a house in Notting Hill, she ponders her lack of greed. "If I was money-driven, I'd be very excited about the money coming in. I'd be the face of full-fat Coke. Get another million in the bank!"
She also rhapsodises about her dream of spending the summer drinking cider with her mates in Brockwell Park. Call me a cynic, but if the manufacturers of full-fat Coca-Cola and of Magner's Cider aren't on the blower to her manager by next week, I'll be amazed. And if she's still saying no to all commercial sponsors by next summer, I'll eat my 21 CD case.
So what might the Duke have been thinking?
Amid all the pageantry, pomp, ceremony and display of the past few days of monarchical and presidential visiting, one sight stood out: Prince Philip, now 90, walking with Barack Obama to inspect the Royal Horse Guards. The Duke walked along a few paces behind the President, bent slightly like an Anglepoise lamp, and clearly lost in thought. What was he thinking: "Who is this black Johnny in the suit, and why have they sent me to look at the soldiers with him? Is he a porter? He called me 'Sir' when we met, so he must be some kind of servant. Perhaps he knows the way to the car. Is the car around here, past all these soldiers? He seems to have brought his lady wife with him. Maybe they're a husband-and-wife housekeeping team. Very strapping filly. Marvellous shoulders. From the Amazon, I wonder? Or do I mean the Limpopo? Must ask her, soon as I get the chance..."