The man who bought London Bridge


It may not be the very last thing the world needs right now, but another vanity magazine from a British photographer has got to be up there. Which has not stopped Perou from publishing Edict (issue one available now, should you be interested).

But what's this? Lurking towards the back is this excellent anecdote from the "almost forgotten photographer" David Steen, which (sort of) answers once and for all the question of whether the American businessman who bought London Bridge really did think he was buying Tower Bridge.

"I went to Arizona with Tom Jones," Steen says, "and suddenly this light aircraft is flying over. I said to one of the American crew, 'Who's that?' He said, 'That's Mr McCulloch, he's the man who bought the bridge.' So anyway, he landed, and I went up to him and said, 'Mr McCulloch, I'm David Steen over from London, is it possible I could take a photograph of you with the bridge?' He said: 'No problem.' So I lined him up and afterwards I said the worst thing I could have said to him. I said, 'Mr McCulloch, is it true that you bought the wrong bridge?' He said, 'Sonny, when I came to Lake Havasu, land was 10 cents an acre. Now, it's $10,000 an acre. Are you telling me I bought the wrong bridge?'"

Week links

Don't know about you, but my diary is looking pretty full right now. Today sees the end of Death Awareness Week (without which we would, of course, all be oblivious) and tomorrow sees the start of Walk to School Week. Imagine if there had been an overlap!

Which raises the question, where did these endless awareness-raising "events" spring from and, more importantly, do the various bodies behind them get together to ensure there are no unfortunate clashes?

Got a few days spare this month? You may wish to mark International Museum Day (today), Goth Day (Thursday), World Turtle Day (Friday) or, this is more like it, National Wine Day (next Sunday). Prefer the full seven-day celebration? Let's not forget National Doughnut Week (ends today, still time) and National Barbecue Week (which starts 26 May).

Might it be that we have reached peak week? Turns out that as far back as 1965, the satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer pointed out that Malcolm X was killed on the first day of National Brotherhood Week. But it still might be worth saving space in 2015 for International Clitoris Awareness Week, which ended a few days ago and might have been worth marking if only I could have found it in my diary.

Clash of personalities

Missing a good media spat since Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan have both been chastened?

Last week saw former NME editor Conor McNicholas use his publicly accessible Facebook page to unleash the full fury of his anger towards writer Tony Parsons. "Here's why I think Tony Parsons is an utter prick," he wrote. "When Joe Strummer died I was editor of the NME. I had the responsibility of making the issue that commemorated his unmeasurable musical contribution and life. Tony had written much on the early Clash and been a rock in the foundation of the modern NME myth. An obit, a memorium from Tony would be a fitting tribute. I got his contact details. I asked him and was told, very shortly, that he was simply too busy finishing a book. Too busy to give us 300 words on a hero of British music in the paper that gave him his journalistic platform. Sheesh. The following day a 'My Memories of Joe' piece from Tony Parsons appeared in the Daily Mirror. It was a dickhead move to begin with Tony, you didn't need to lie as well."

This column made several attempts to contact Tony Parsons for his side. Perhaps he was too busy publicising his latest book.

Bottoms up!

How has Ukip missed out on this vote winner? Pikeville, Tennessee, is the latest in a line of Southern US cities to propose a law that outlaws the wearing of saggy jeans.

The city council unanimously approved the first reading last week, though Mayor Phil Cagle warned that it could be another couple of months before officers are able to issue fines of up to $50 to offenders. The Pikeville ordinance further warns that "there is evidence that indicates that wearing sagging pants is injurious to the health of the wearer as it causes improper gait".

At precisely what point, though, can a pair of pants said to be sagging? "More than three inches below the top of the hips (crest of the ilium)", obviously. Officers: guns, batons, handcuffs, tape measures to the ready …

"All I know is we don't want them running around half naked on our streets," Cagle says, adding (I kid you not), "that's the bottom line."

No rhyme or reason

Another in a now-regular series of limericks based on recent events:

So apparently those in the know

Are all starting their sentences "so"

They think it's informal

So now that it's normal

We might as well go with the flow.

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