The sentencing of Pussy Riot for causing religious offence was unjust, but it is disingenuous to ignore the lyrics that caused that
offence ("Putin has lost this game of cat and mouse", 19 August). You are unlikely to publish these lyrics (which juxtapose excrement and God), or illustrate the pornographic content of other "street art" from the parent group Voina, such as the filmed sex scenes in Moscow's Biological Museum which Nadezhda Tolokonnikova participated in, or the insertion of a chicken into a (suspiciously fully waxed) young woman in a St Petersburg shop. It seems that pornographers may be OK if they share our cold-war enmities.
It is to be hoped that the Prime Minister's will live up to his pledge to restrict honours dished out to high-ranking members of the civil service ("Britain's Olympic champions snubbed", 19 August). Mandarins' seemingly automatic elevation through the ranks of honours to knighthood and beyond appears to be related solely to whatever level they are promoted to, rather than achievement.
No doubt the wizard who thought up the wheeze of trying to intimidate the Ecuadorians by threatening to invade their embassy in order to dig out Julian Assange will get a peerage despite having ensured the united opposition of Latin America to any negotiated settlement over the Falkland Islands in the foreseeable future.
So we're back to normal, with a sports section that has around half its pages devoted to football (19 August). Not much Olympic legacy here.
While I take Katy Guest's point about Facebook and how secure personal accounts are (19 August), there are other issues. First, if you venture anywhere online, whether via email or social media, you've got to assume that anything you do might appear somewhere beyond your control in ways you don't like. Mostly it won't; occasionally it does. Secondly, are there really that many people out there who take Facebook seriously? Clearly judges who look at comments people make about riots that don't happen do. But anyone who has ever compared the numbers of people who say they will attend an event posted on Facebook with those who actually turn up will understand the point.
Some 30 years ago I gave an outline proposal to the executive producer of an ITV police drama serial that I had co-written ("The return of Philip Marlowe PI", 19 August). It told the story of why Raymond Chandler's detective hero had been fired as an investigator by the Los Angeles district attorney's office: an event referred to in several of the Marlowe stories but never explained in detail. My producer was enthusiastic but the project was blocked by Helga Greene, then Chandler's British literary executor. She said that Chandler would have hated the idea, quoting the author as saying that worse than plagiarising a writer's words was to steal what he called an individual writer's mood.
When Paul Vallely (19 August) enjoys his breakfast in first class on the 7am Virgin train from Manchester to Euston (they don't serve salmon in second class), he is apparently oblivious to his fare (£194 single). The rest of us find £148 for a single peak-time (standard class) ticket unaffordable. This may explain why we are hoping that FirstGroup do better than Virgin. Otherwise, we look forward to a nationalised line.
Oh dear, the po-faced prissies strike again. Am I the only one who was cheered up on a grumpy commute by the sight of a laughing Prince Harry in his swimming trunks, having a whale of a time? Who would you rather see − buttoned-up Cameron, Clegg, Osborne et al in their sober-dull suits and ties, or a decidedly unsober, cheery, misbehaving prince? How I'd love to have been 20 years younger and at that pool party. Thanks for the giggle, Harry!
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