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Charles Nevin

Charles Nevin: Water on the brain or is that a salmon piano?

Start the week...

Happy Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Do you know how to measure the speed of raindrops? It's pretty easy, apparently, involving a force meter, windproof cylinder and Newtonian movement equations. So that won't take all day. Anything need doing? Might be the moment to shorten your intermittent windscreen wiper time settings, although, personally, I rather enjoy the ratcheting tension as still nothing happens and I begin to wonder whether, in fact, I have switched them off. What about fixing that tap washer? Drip, drip. Guttering clear? Were you aware, by the way, that the annual precipitation in Manchester is equivalent to that of the Amazonian rainforests? Still, we need it. Could just stay cloudy, though. Oh, you're away, are you? Somewhere abroad? Ibiza? Good for you.

As time goes by: today is the 58th anniversary of the passing of the great Dooley Wilson, who played Sam and the piano in Casablanca. A very fine film. I especially like the matchless Claude Rains as Captain Renault, the rogue hampered by his decency. But it's often a mistake to delve too deeply into such ephemeral delights. I now know that Dooley was a drummer who couldn't and didn't play that, or any piano; and, worst of all, I now know that the piano was salmon-coloured. Salmon-coloured! And did you know Claude Rains was born in Camberwell? Dooley was also the only member of the cast who had visited Casablanca, with his jazz band; the audience included Lawrence of Arabia, which almost makes up for the rest.

Elsewhere, there has been further evidence for the increasingly persuasively documented theory that your behaviour is influenced subconsciously by your name: a man called Gross in North Carolina has exposed himself in a restaurant, while a man called Stoner has been arrested on drugs charges in Florida. Against that is Lionel Messi. Meanwhile, a Dairy Queen in Washington state has revealed that she is lactose intolerant, a man in Indiana is still simmering after he was arrested for sunbathing in nothing but olive oil, and a giant male tortoise in Tennessee has just met a giant female tortoise for the first time in 28 years. Happy Spring Bank Holiday Monday to them, and you.