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Anarchy at the BBC. On Monday, we gather, there was a 'mass protest trip to the pub' by a quantity of Broadcasting House staff - the hostelries around Portland Place were filled to bursting for much of the afternoon with complaining BBC types on PAYE. Now the normally bland and servile Radio 1 disc jockeys have taken to being rude, on air, about their superiors. Simon Bates has even introduced irony to his morning show - calling it the favourite of Janet Street-Porter, the BBC's 'Head of Youth'. He's also been making cryptic asides about Normski, an unusually young BBC TV presenter who just happens to be Street-Porter's lover. On Bates's show yesterday, fellow D J Adrian Juste did a cruel impersonation of Street-Porter (who has a remarkable cockney accent) concluding, memorably: 'Simon Bates can suck my Bristols.' This is all because Street-Porter - a self-confessed freelance paid via her own Birt-style private company - was less than polite about Radio 1 during a broadcast debate on the station's future last Sunday. Bates's Golden Hour came in for particular attack: Street-Porter said she didn't want to listen to music like the Eagles' 'Hotel California' because it 'reminded her that she was 46'. Bates, 44, and the other jolly deejays may just be joshing themselves out of a job - having failed to become controller of BBC 1, Street-Porter has apparently been offered the post of Radio 1 controller.

EXCUSES on the Underground, a series. Bakerloo line, last week - trains, a platform announcer apologised, could not accelerate at a proper speed out of Paddington 'because of beggars'.


A question. How are these two passages related? 1: 'Arguments about the British economy abound with self-denigrating myths. It is true that there was a decline in British manufacturing up until the early Eighties. But since that time British manufacturing has been on a strengthening long-term trend.' 2: 'A steady decline in manufacturing has taken place in Kingston throughout the Eighties, resulting in a 28 per cent loss of jobs in that sector between 1981 and 1989'. Answer? Well, the first statement is a bit of green- shootery from Norman Lamont, who is MP for Kingston upon Thames, whose Conservative- controlled council made the second statement to the Department of Trade and Industry as it applied to be granted 'assisted area status'. Got it?

AT LAST, the statistical breakdown of the 1992 discharges from the United States military. A total of 388,744 people left active service, 16.7 per cent of them because they failed to meet 'minimum behaviour or performance standards'. That includes the 5,029 who failed to meet 'weight or body-fat standards', the 708 homosexuals and the 67 sufferers from apathy. The US Air Force, meanwhile, discharged 58 servicepeople for unspecified sexual perversion and 11 for bedwetting.


George Robertson, the Labour foreign affairs spokesman, writes in the House Magazine of his satisfaction at seeing his opposite number, Tristan Garel- Jones, 'dip beneath the waves' - 'the 24th Foreign Office minister to face me in 11 years'. But is Robertson a survivor or a dinosaur? At a conference last month atttended by representatives of the post-Communist democracies, Robertson fell to reminiscing on the trip to Moscow in 1986 when he took tea with Fidel Castro, Erich Honecker, Janos Kadar, Todor Zhivkov and others of the 'Royal Family of Communism'. Of them all, said Robertson, only Castro remained. At which a Hungarian MP shouted back: 'And yourself]'

SO WHAT was it like eating with Morrissey, the vegetarian demi- god at the helm of Manchester's greatest rock band, the Smiths? Andy Rourke, the bass player, tells next month's Select magazine how the band nourished itself at the time of the album Meat is Murder. First, under 'Mozza's' baleful eye, they gave up meat: 'Then we moved on to fish, didn't we? And we hammered that for about a month, until we couldn't stand the sight of fish any more. Then Mozz said one day, 'Fish feel pain too'. And that was the fish gone.' The Smiths are no more, and Rourke is a happy omnivore again.


3 March 1848 Mr Featherstonehaugh, British consul at Le Havre, reports the escape to England of the deposed King Louis Philippe: 'The ferry-boat came to the quay. When half the passengers were out, the trembling Queen came up the ladder. At last came the King, disguised, his whiskers shaved off, a sort of casquette on his head, a coarse overcoat, and immense goggles over his eyes. I advanced, took his hand. and said, 'Ah, dear Uncle, I am delighted to see you.' He answered, 'My dear George, I am glad you are here.' I moved to a quiet part of the quay, but 'my dear Uncle' talked so loud and so much that I had the greatest difficulty to make him keep silence. At length we reached the steamer. I conducted the King below, respectfully took my leave, gave the Captain the word to cut loose, and scrambled ashore.'