Peter Rhodes on being too correct, charging for Christmas dinner and a bluffer's guide to movies

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who

MARTIN Dory, an eco-campaigner who launched a clean-beach campaign, has just written No More Plastic which he hoped would become one of the most environmentally friendly books of the year. The distributor wrapped every single copy - in plastic.

SOME years from now when Keir Starmer is prime minister, can't you just picture him in the Commons, as pious and earnest as we saw him this week, explaining oh-so humbly that he'd love to reveal his government's latest legal advice but that would be against the national interest?

IF you followed Tuesday's "contempt" debate, didn't it seem the most appalling waste of time and effort? Six hundred and fifty people in a sweaty chamber spent a whole day grandstanding and guffawing through a glacier-slow process that has barely changed in 150 years. And these are the MPs, remember, who keep lecturing us on the need for British workers to increase their productivity. Why 650 MPs? Chucking out a couple of hundred would increase productivity no end.

"HOW can you be too correct about anything?" asks the Doctor Who star Mandip Gill, responding to criticism that the sci-fi drama has become too politically correct. Well, this is how. Week after week viewers switch on to find the Doctor fighting slavery, standing up for womankind, opposing discrimination in any form and dealing with males who tend to be thick, violent or both. And after a while, it becomes so achingly, grindingly and predictably correct that we switch off and the viewing figures plummet. The milk of human kindness is a wonderful substance but eventually it curdles.

THE moment you write about great movies, as I did a couple of days ago, somebody weighs in with a reference to some obscure Japanese film of the 1950s, or a 1930s animated Czech masterpiece. Everyone else in the discussion, never having heard of these films, is silenced. What we need are a few bluffers' phrases to chuck into the debate when someone says:"Ah yes, but what about Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress?" Here's a couple. For pure originality, nothing compares with the albatross scene in Heinz Dressinks' 1908 classic Three Yaks and a Furball. Unless, of course, it is Nikki Nakki Nokki's groundbreaking use of crochet in his 1947 masterpiece The Halibut Always Knocks Once. Feel free to join in.

THE truly sad thing is how many young people refuse to watch any black-and-white film 'cos it's old-fashioned, innit? They could miss so much. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of their lives.

A WOMAN complains on the Mumsnet website that her mother-in-law is charging her family £17 a head for Christmas dinner. In this season of goodwill I can only advise charging the old baggage for her Xmas presents. So that's £17 for the meal, less £20 for the wincyette nightie, so Mum-in-Law actually owes you three quid. Or a tin of humbugs.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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