Mark Andrews on Saturday: Magic medics, making e-scooters bearable, and why it could be risky to scoff at goths

Read the latest musings from Mark Andrews.

SAME DAY Aladin is this years Panto at Severn Theatre, Kirk Barker plays Aladin with Genie of the lamp Anna Westford. PIC PETER SHAH
SAME DAY Aladin is this years Panto at Severn Theatre, Kirk Barker plays Aladin with Genie of the lamp Anna Westford. PIC PETER SHAH

Electric scooters are to be fitted with 'artificial noise devices' to reduce the risk of people being mown down by people whizzing around pavements on the silent devices.

The new sound effects will be introduced next year, once it has been established which ones work best.

It will doubtless be an infuriating bleeping sound of some description, which will of course add to the joy of walking around towns already marred by various barriers, stickers and warning signs.

May I be the first to suggest an alternative sound, less painful on the eardrums? Let's make all these scooters play the Rupert the Bear theme tune. And to improve visibility for the hard of hearing, all riders should wear yellow checked scarves and tartan slacks.

E-scooters could soon be made to play a sound effect

A fool and his money are easily parted. Leeak Khan, a doctor India, claims he was conned out of £72,000 by a trickster who sold him a fake Aladdin's lamp after apparently giving it a rub to make a genie appear.

But when he got the lamp home, Dr Khan found it didn't work, and the penny dropped that the genie was actually a mate of the conman who was in on the fiddle. So naturally he contacted the authorities and complained his magic lamp wasn't fit for purpose.

"Erm, I wonder if you could help me? I've just paid 72 grand for a magic lamp, but it doesn't seem to work, I think it might be a fake. Is there any way I might get my money back?"

At least it didn't happen here. Because I'm not sure I would be too happy my GP thought a popular children's pantomime was actually a fact-based documentary.

"Antiobiotics? You don't need them squire. Just take these magic beans, get yourself a goose that lays golden eggs, and you should be right as rain."

The tricksters told Dr Khan the lamp would bring wealth and good fortune. Well it certainly did for them.

Is joking about goths a hate crime?

Amid the hullabaloo about the US presidential election, one truly terrifying news item closer to home has slipped under the radar.

The Law Commission, a quango headed by Appeal Court judge Sir Nicholas Green, is calling for an extension of 'hate crime' laws to cover private conversations in the home. Not only that, the commission wants a major expansion of their scope to cover sub-cultures such as goths, punks, nudists, vegans and sex fetishists. And for stiffer sentencing, with jail terms of up to seven years.

While they insist this is not the intention, it doesn't take a massive leap of imagination to see half a dozen officers with Tasers rocking up on the doorstep because Uncle Barry made a disparaging remark about the Quorn nutroast.

And how will these laws be enforced? Will all those voice-activated devices in the home be secretly programmed to pick up offending terminology? Or will it be done the old-fashioned way, with undercover police officers in light blue tracksuits masquerading as family friends, like they did in East Germany?

Either way, this troubles me far more than who will be the next leader of a country 4,000 miles away.

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