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Ground control to David Bowie

DOES David Bowie talk to aliens? That's not a question that will trouble the rock star's greatest fans (he is, after all The Man Who Fell To Earth), but the more sceptical of you had better take a look at Backstage Passes, a hilarious autobiography by Bowie's ex-wife, Angie. She reveals that during the Diamond Dogs tour of the United States in 1974 Bowie had a telescope installed to peer through the sun-roof of his limousine. 'He would not have been surprised at all if the aliens had come right down to our limo and tractor-beamed him up for an exchange of ideas. He was feeling pretty much the centre of things here on Earth at the time, after all . . .' Well] None of this will surprise Globe in Transit, a group of London UFOlogists, who have already proved that Mr Bowie has met and possibly partied with extraterrestrials. They point out, for one thing, that while recording the video for 'Loving the Alien', Bowie suffered a mysterious nosebleed - classic symptom of a nasal probe by 'visitors'. And Globe in Transit has produced a lengthy but admirable analysis of the seminal Bowie song 'Jean Genie'. A genie, or djinni is, of course, an alien being. And then the line 'Poor little greenie' can refer only to the traditional 'little green man' of interplanetary encounters. And, if you're still sceptical, how about the information that the Jean Genie 'Keeps all your dead hair/For making up underwear'. People who have met aliens regularly report the latter taking samples of their hair. So that's that. Next, please.

JOHN SIMPSON, the BBC's foreign editor, was accosted on the Tube last month. 'I think you're one of the best people in television,' a woman gasped. Thanking her, Simpson said he was just back from Bosnia. 'Oh]' she said, 'Is there much wildlife there, Mr Attenborough?'

Turkish dates

WONDERFUL though Cilla Black's Blind Date is, it rarely becomes a bone of national contention. The dating show's Turkish equivalent, Saklambac, however, is causing quite a stink among the country's Islamic leaders: they say it's immoral and breaks the strict religious codes for courtship and marriage. Saklambac's format is much the same as in Britain - glam presenter Nurseli Idiz oversees young men and women as they compete to win partners hidden behind a screen. The questions are toned down and the contestants are sent to restaurants and night-clubs, rather than on holidays abroad. But soon after the series began, Idiz was sent hate mail and accused of pimping. A fortnight ago, the Islamic party Rifah brought an obscenity charge against the programme. Ferhad Boratav, a Turkish journalist, says: 'It's not simply a game show any more. It's a symbol. It's a challenge to present it, to participate in it and most probably to defy it.' Norra lorra laffs there, then.

DO THE organisers of the Shakespeare's Globe Building Site Birthday Festival in April actually want anyone to turn up? Top of the bill, they boast, is 'The Merry Wives of Windsor - performed in German, in the open air, by an all-male cast and in modern dress.'

Tree in a bed

WESTMINSTER has been reeling at a show of hard-core, yet legal, pornography mounted by the MP Ann Winterton and others, who wish to strengthen the Obscene Publications Act. But now the immoral minority is fighting back. Something called the National Campaign for the Reform of the Obscene Publications Acts has issued an angry press release: 'It is high time these self-appointed nannyist guardians of the nation's morals like Mrs Winterton were well and truly seen off.' This is issued by a committee of very smart- sounding people, including Professor Gerald Fowler MA Hons; Alexander Barrie AA Dip, MAEI and Tuppy Owens BSc, DIp HS . . . Of the last only do we have any knowledge. Tuppy Owens is the author and publisher of the Sex Maniac's Diary and, particularly useful for today's parliamentarian, the Politically Correct Guide to Getting Laid. Among other things, this volume preaches the delights of making love with trees. Beside an informative illustration Ms Owens commends trees as sexually 'safer' and 'very discreet'.


26 February 1897 Raymond Asquith writes to HT Baker from Winchester College: 'The Bear summoned all to a mass meeting where he harangued us for twenty minutes in a tearful voice on the disadvantages of unconventional forms of vice. He spoke in hushed accents of the abominable crime and exhorted us with passionate fervour to prefer every known form of prostitution and bestiality to the sin of Sodom. He told us that the Headmasters, in league with the Government, were proposing to increase the legal penalty from two to fourteen years; whereat a perceptible shudder ran through the audience - of whom some 85 per cent - by the lowest estimate were liable for incarceration on that charge. The bolder spirits muttered that the law was not altered yet, and registered a mental vow to make the most of the lucid interspace.'