Chris Schuler: btw

Share

The estimable Pushkin Press has just published an English translation of Envy, a gripping tale by the celebrated Italian novelist Alain Elkann. Set in London, the novel concerns a writer's obsessive quest to interview an eminent British painter called Julian Sax. A wealthy, reclusive and difficult man, Sax lives in Notting Hill and is known for his "erotic episodes" with young women whom he seduces, paints and then dumps. Just in case that doesn't ring a bell, the priapic paint-flinger is "the grandson of Ludwig Sax, the most important scientist of the last century". At the book's launch last week, in the opulent surroundings of the Italian embassy, I asked Elkann who the painter might be. "He is Julian Sax," the novelist replied, smiling enigmatically. As the old publishers' disclaimer has it, any resemblance to persons ...

* Those of us who maintain that Facebook is a serious journalistic tool (no, honest, even the fresh-faced editor of a rival daily is on there) have suffered a bit of a setback. Some wag called Freya Valentine has started a Facebook group called "On May 15th 2008, everybody needs to go out and panic buy CARROTS" – and has already recruited more than 90,000 members. "If everyone does this," says Valentine, "we can make this global shortage of carrots happen." Er, why? "It's all a bit of fun," apparently. Not that the British Carrot Growers' Association are too upset about it. "Purchasers can be assured they'll have a fine product in the middle of May," says David Martin, the association's vice-chairman, "as long as they buy British carrots. Bring it on!" Well, he would, wouldn't he?

* Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ... We'd just turned out the light when that familiar whine moved into earshot like a heat-seeking missile. Not another bloody mosqui – hang on, it's January, for pity's sake. After blundering around the house with a rolled-up newspaper, I eventually slew the blighter in the hall. I've heard of global warming, but this is ridiculous. Friday 21st broke the record for the warmest night in January, with a temperature of 13.2C in London – and it needs to fall below zero to kill off the mosquito larvae. Let's hope the cold spell we've been promised sees the buggers off – and the carrot fly larvae too, or Mr Martin may have difficulty meeting demand.

* Global warming is also behind the EU's proposed ban on patio heaters, which has sent a chill through the hearts of publicans anxious to hang on to the custom of nicotine-fixated regulars. One enterprising German host has come up with a novel solution. According to a report in Der Spiegel, Michael Windisch, landlord of the Maltermeister Turm in Goslar, Lower Saxony, has knocked three holes in an external wall so smokers can stick their heads and arms through and puff away to their hearts' content while their nether regions remain warm and dry indoors.

React Now

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

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Time Served Fabricator / Welders - Immediate Start

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Advisors

£14564 - £15311 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Adviso...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Here's what I learned after creating the Caitlyn Jenner Twitter bot @she_not_he

Caitlin Dewey
 

Daily catch-up: the Labour leadership election hasn’t yet got to grips with why the party lost

John Rentoul
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific