Chris Schuler: btw

Share

I had the good fortune this week to attend a lunch addressed by the amiable and indefatigably entertaining Gyles Brandreth, who was promoting his new book Oscar Wilde and the Candlelit Murders, the second in a series of Victorian mysteries in which the flamboyant man of letters engages in a spot of sleuthing. Recalling how an elderly teacher at his school had once known Lord Alfred Douglas, Brandreth shook the hand of the diner seated next to him, exclaiming: "You are shaking the hand that shook the hand that shook the hand that shook the hand of Oscar Wilde." I was inevitably put in mind of the story of how James Joyce, approached by a fan who asked, "May I have the privilege of shaking the hand that wrote Ulysses?" replied: "I wouldn't if I were you. It's done a lot else besides."

Ooh, er. Carla Bruni, lissom consort of the President of France, can be seen disporting herself in her scanties while strumming a guitar in a new advertisement for Lancia that was, ahem, unveiled at the European Motor Show in Brussels on Thursday. The previous weekend, Tony Blair drew enthusiastic applause from a gathering of Nicolas Sarkozy's party, the UPM, when he described their great helmsman as "very active in all areas". Now, there's no better way to win over a French audience than by praising the manly vigour of their elected representative. And no doubt there will have been those among them who, recalling Cherie's "five times a night" boast, will assume that our former prime minister knows whereof he speaks.

While we're on the subject, the manufacturers of Marmite are launching a special St Valentine's Day limited edition of the popular savoury spread, with an added dash of champagne. Aficionados will be relieved to hear that it's packaged in the traditional glass jar, not the disappointing new squeezy version, with a label that reads "For my lovely Marmite lover". Am I missing something here? I can't quite see the romantic potential of yeast extract. Perhaps M. Sarkozy can enlighten us.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for the 84-year-old Estonian opera-goer who spent a night locked in the lavatory at the opera house in Tallinn last week after a performance of Rossini's Cinderella. The retired music teacher went to spend a penny after the three-and-a-half-hour Sunday matinee, and was only discovered 20 hours later when staff arrived to reopen the building on Monday morning. "This is very embarrassing," said a spokesman for the Estonian National Opera. "It's not the first time that an opera-goer has been locked in the lavatory in Tallinn. The last occasion was in November when an American who was very drunk got locked in."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The traditional Boxing Day hunt in Lacock  

For foxes' sake: Don't let the bloody tradition of the Boxing Day hunt return

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all