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Peter Rhodes on grubby youths, celebrity etiquette and that thing that goeth before a fall

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Glenys Who?

IT'S a wonderful dream, isn't it? Wicked old grey men may have harmed our planet but we will be saved by the self sacrifice of the young. And then you see the disgusting state of the Glastonbury site, half-buried under the rubbish left behind by hordes of young people. If we can't trust them to cherish a few meadows in Somerset, how can we trust them with the planet?

NOTHING damages a politician quite like a good, resonant and easily-remembered chant of derision at the hustings. I recall a boy named Howell standing in our school mock elections all those years ago. He never recovered from his maiden speech being drowned out by some unruly fifth-formers at the back of the hall endlessly chanting in a dark, menacing baritone: “Howell’s bowels are foul bowels.” I am frankly surprised that Boris Johnson’s nationwide tour of speech-making has not yet been interrupted with a chorus of: “Get off me, get out of my flat.”? There is yet time.

ETIQUETTE corner. There was a celebrity staying at our hotel in Devon. No names, no packdrill but a popular presenter I rather admire. So here’s the dilemma. Should one approach a celebrity and praise his work, or leave him alone to enjoy his breakfast? Having spent half my working life interviewing people from princes to paupers, I strolled over. He seemed happy to be recognised and we chatted for a few minutes. In my experience, slebs are usually happy to meet fans so long as you don’t cross the line by demanding a selfie or introducing them to all your mates. It's even better if you can remember their name. I recall a pleasant session chatting to a softly-spoken, long-haired bloke at a bar in Gatwick who told me he was in a rock band but didn’t tell me (I figured it out some years later) he was Ozzy Osbourne.

I HAVE a friend who, on a little trade mission to Japan, spotted a familiar face at the bar and chatted with her for some time. Then his colleagues came over and asked to be introduced and, to his shame, he had to admit he couldn’t remember her name. She smiled sweetly: “Glenys Kinnock.”

SOME of you may be nodding your heads wisely and reflecting on the wages of smug. You recall my recent piece about how, last year, we tried to early-book our annual Devon holiday for the first week in June but were pipped by an even earlier booker. How smug we were, only a few days ago, that he got a rotten rainy week while we got a heatwave. And then I got smitten with sciatica. The biblical phrase people often use in such situations is “pride goeth before a fall.” But it doesnteth, doth it?

IN facteth, the actual line from Proverbs is: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” The snag is that we pedants can’t correct people on that one without seeming ever so slightly haughty.

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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