They seek him here… BoJo brought to book at last


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From the box marked "What Took Them So Long to Come Up With that Idea?" comes Where's Boris?, a "search-and-find" book (published next month) containing 10 "minutely detailed" scenes with the Mayor of London lurking within. "The book came about because Boris Johnson, love him or loathe him, is a one-of-a-kind," Emma Smith, one of the creators, tells me. "As he's always popping up in comic scenarios (the zipwire moment comes to mind), we thought he deserves a book that turns Boris-spotting into a proper pastime."

And just in case that mop of blond hair is too easy to find, Smith and the team behind the book have thrown in a number of "Easter eggs", little visual surprises to amuse the observant. "Along the way, you can find Pippa Middleton in a ping-pong challenge, Russell Brand and Ken Livingstone hanging around City Hall and plenty of other titbits that relate to some of Boris's most memorable moments and proclamations," says Smith.

But were there any legal issues with the makers of that other, it must be said, strikingly similar, series? "We are obliged to call it a 'search-and-find' book and we have done," says Smith. Which means this is one of those rare instances when BoJo gets a mention and the word "wally" is nowhere to be seen.

Forbidden fruit

Last Sunday, The Independent on Sunday announced that the Pink List, its annual celebration of LGBT people, was changing its name to the Rainbow List. Earlier this year, the drag queen RuPaul came under fire for a section of the TV show RuPaul's Drag Race that used the phrase "You've got she-mail". What both of these things highlight is that it pays to be careful with words when you are dealing with issues around which people might be sensitive. Clearly, though, nobody told the British drag act La Voix, host of an after-party for the Terrence Higgins Trust's annual fundraiser last Wednesday.

"What a joy to see so many gay men and fag hags in one room," La Voix told the crowd, which included Graham Norton, Harry Enfield, Angus Deayton and Mark Gatiss. "Not fag hags," came a (female) voice from the crowd. One slightly embarrassing and very public exchange later and an agreeable new term was found: fruit flies. Although, as one colleague points out, it is, in this instance, surely the concept that is dubious rather than any of the words used to describe it.

A dance to the death

If you happen to find yourself close to a computer and a box of tissues at any point today, take a few minutes to read a post now available online by one Leo Holder. Last week, Holder wrote the letter (which he is happy to make public) on his Facebook page about his father's final hours.

None of this would concern us greatly, except that Holder's father, Geoffrey, was an extraordinary actor, dancer, painter and choreographer who, sadly, most of us only know through his portrayal of the top-hatted voodoo villain Baron Samedi in the 1973 Bond film Live and Let Die.

The letter details how Holder alerted his son, via a silent bed-ridden dance, to the fact that he was ready to die. When the moment came, Leo returned to his father's hospital room with a Bill Evans record.

"Then he closes his eyes again: 'Arms 2, 3, 4; Turn 2, 3, 4; Swing 2, 3, 4; Down 2, 3, 4 ….' He continued counting till it faded out, leaving only the sound of faint breathing, slowing down to his last breath at 9.25pm. Still Geoffrey Holder. The most incredible night of my life. Thank you for indulging me," Leo writes.

I'll have what she's having

Considering the fact that Germany is the third-largest beer-drinking nation in the world, it might surprise you to learn that its national airline, Lufthansa, serves one drink in almost the same quantity each year as it does beer (53,000 gallons to 59,000 gallons).

Tomato juice. Which led Lufthansa to seek the help of the Fraunhofer Society, a German research institute, to look into just what it is about flying that makes people want to drink TJ, as nobody calls it.

And the scientific answer is that, due to low pressure and our sense of smell and taste being less sensitive, tomato juice simply tastes better in the air.

But that answer did not satisfy the Lufthansa people who argued that people could not know those facts but were still ordering the drink. "So we started observing passenger behaviour," says the airline's catering executive Ernst Derenthal. "And many people see someone in front of them having a tomato juice and think, 'Why not?'"

No rhyme or reason

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

It was one of those rose-tinted weeks,

A godsend for all TV geeks,

They're remaking 'Dad's Army',

And if that sounds barmy,

Who knows what to make of 'Twin Peaks'?