Charles Nevin: Introducing a very modern Englishman

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday. Happy Valentine's Day, too. And by further happy chance, there's been a coincidence of reports suggesting the British male is finally losing his inhibitions. His upper lip now trembles with an almost monotonous regularity, while another disclosed that a team of builders had stopped working at the London Dungeon at night because it was frightening. Excellent. Here are some further tell-tale signs of New Anglo Man: 1. Scarf. 2. Blushes when Jeremy Clarkson is mentioned. 3. Asks for directions. 4. Listens. 5. Sends partner to investigate noise downstairs. More as I have them.

Mind you, I'm not sure how this squares with these worries in France about the increasing numbers of British ski instructors over there. Remarkable. Next time you're in foreign parts, I should keep a very close eye on your gondolier, gypsy violinist and intrepid native guide, if I were you.

The Big Society: it is clearly my duty to add to the debate. And some rebranding would help. The Great Big Society has a far finer ring to it, particularly as a new study confirms we are the most obese people in Europe. Even so, My Great Big Fat Society might be a touch flippant. I'm also concerned about Lord Wei, the Government's man in charge, when he can spare the time. He's called the Big Society tsar. But the tsars and their people were hardly all in it together, were they? Not much volunteering going on there. And tsar is a bit multi-cultural. How about the Great Big Society Event Organiser? Or the Great Big Society Cheese?

Someone has to say it. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music: lighten up, Pete! He wants muzak banned from public places, and has walked out of an Italian restaurant in Canterbury because of it. Time for muzak lovers to stand up as well, I say. I love the way 'Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head' and some top B Manilow keeps coming round again; it's a useful marker of your life passing. And how can you talk about the next table if they can hear you? I'm with the manager of the Canterbury restaurant: "Finding out he's a composer, that's what surprises me. Perhaps he had listened to too much music at work." Quite. Happy humming, Happy Monday.