Let's get together - all over again

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The Independent Online
I was hoping to bring you the first exclusive extracts from Nick Leeson's prison diaries today, but it seems that he has sold them to 14 other newspapers as well, so my financial backers have advised me to have nothing to do with them.

I have also been offered exclusive rights to the John Lennon diaries, which sounded interesting at first, but turned out to be the diaries that John Lennon would have written after his death if he had not been shot, based on notes he made while he was alive and written by the remaining three Beatles, and I am not sure that this is really what my readers want or, indeed, anyone anywhere wants.

But there definitely is a great interest in the Beatles, expressed mainly in the much-asked questions: "Why on earth have they done it? What made them get together again?" These I cannot answer. The only question I am interested in is: if the Beatles can get together again and make a go of it, then what is to stop a lot of other safely interred teams from coming back from the dead?

I have done some ringing round to inquire about progress on the resuscitation scene, and this is the rather surprisingly lively picture at present:

The Bloomsbury Movement

Most of the leading figures are dead, but enough of the minor figures are left alive to think seriously about a comeback, and there is every chance that they may go on the road in 1996 in a show to be compered by either Ned Sherrin or Sheridan Morley. A book is to be brought out first called The Big Bloomsbury Book of Sex and Everything, containing a lot of rejected takes of Virginia Woolf novels and hitherto suppressed photographs of Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis; if it goes well the show will go on the road. The stage show is to be called, provisionally, It's What Lytton Would have Wanted.

The French Resistance

At least 20,000 of those who fought in the Resistance are known to be alive, if a little older than they used to be, and plans are afoot to stage a massive reunion somewhere in northern France. They are not going to announce the exact spot beforehand in case the Germans get to hear of it.

The idea is to gather at night in the same place, waiting for the RAF to come over and drop masses of supplies for them. If the drop goes well, they will take the stuff home and hide it. If the planes do not appear, the French will shrug their shoulders and say: "Albion perfide! Ces sacres anglais! On peut jamais compter sux eux!"

The 1966 World Cup Final

Apart from Bobby Moore, all the players from that historic match are still apparently alive, and there has been constant talk of how to make a bit of dosh from their still being around. There is the idea of restaging the match with Jimmy Greaves playing the whole 90 minutes to see if it would have altered the result, or converting the whole thing into an Anglo- German TV sports quiz, but nothing has yet come of it.

Perhaps the most exciting news for sports fans is that Channel 4 has located masses of film of the match showing off-the-ball activity (linesmen running up and down, goalkeepers leaning against their posts, strikers screaming for passes they never get, crowds groaning as passes go astray) and they now think they have enough footage to make a whole 90-minute film of the game in which the ball does not once appear except when it is out of play. The Alternative World Cup Final would be football at its most Post-Modernist.

Bourne and Hollingsworth

This once-famous London West End store is now only a memory, like Boot's Library, but there is talk of restoring the name, at least, if only so that the old Timothy Shy joke could have some meaning again.

Reader: "What is the old Timothy Shy joke?"

Me: "Oh, he referred to 'that bourne from which no hollingsworth ever returns'."

Reader: "I don't get it."

Me: "It's a reference to the famous Hamlet quote about death being the undiscover'd country from whose bourne no traveller ever returns."

Reader: "Yes, but what exactly is a bourne? And who is Timothy Shy when he is at home, may I ask?"

Me: "Oh, for heaven's sake! This is not a free information service, look it up yourself."

Reader: "Temper, temper! If you're going to be like this, I'll turn to the sports pages."

Me: "Go on, then. See if I care."

Tomorrow we look at the reunion prospects of the SDP, the Post-Impressionist School, Burke and Hare, Simon and Garfunkel, 'Picture Post', Swinging London of the Sixties and the entire cast of 'Jennifer's Diary'.

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