Peter Rhodes on casting cats, an inconvenient truth and chucking in the towel on apostrophes

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Any jobs for cats?
Any jobs for cats?

At the age of 96, John Richards has decided to wind up the Apostrophe Society he founded 20 years ago. He says the battle to protect this useful little bit of punctuation is lost. As he puts it, the barbarians have triumphed. Actually, John, they're not barbarians. Their just thicko's, innit?

The most glaring apostrophe cock-up I ever spotted was in a full-page glossy magazine advert for a very upmarket private school which, according to the blurb, offered: “Education at it's best.” I hope they got their money back.

Street names and their apostrophes are a rich and continuing source of argument for local councillors. Should it be St George's Street or St Georges Street? If I ruled the world, it would be St George Street.

I enjoyed John Richards' (or is it John Richards's?) tale of the cafe owner who defended his sign offering “coffee's” because “I think it looks better with an apostrophe.” Sometimes, there is no hope.

We are getting, as they say, straight. We have just had the bathroom at Chateau Rhodes revamped and re-tiled. You would not believe how big a skip you need to take away the contents of one little room. Nor would you believe, having run out of storage space, how unsettling it is to have the new WC pan sitting proudly in the middle of your living room for three weeks. But at least when the crucial moment came and the workers removed the old bog, the new one fitted instantly into place. A friend in the trade say it's not unknown for the lads to take out the old WC, smash it up and chuck it in the skip and then discover the replacement doesn't fit. It gives new meaning to the word inconvenienced.

And down to Stratford for press night of the David Walliams / Robbie Williams collaboration, The Boy in The Dress. The musical is promoted as a celebration of being different. But is there another dynamic at work? Sometimes, you learn as much by looking at the audience as at the stage. And at the key moment when 12-year-old Dennis suddenly emerges in a glittery orange dress, I couldn't help noticing how many women were applauding, and how many men were not. Any thoughts?

The Nonsense Factory is as hard at work as ever. Francesca Hayward, a mixed-race ballerina, has been condemned on Twitter for “whiting up” to play Victoria the White Cat in the movie, Cats. She says she would never dream of changing her skin colour to play a human - but surely different rules apply when portraying cats?

Where will this madness end? Probably with some cat-fanatic denouncing the casting of humans as moggies, instead of employing real cats. Hayward will be confronted in the street and accused of stealing jobs from cats. And when she replies: “Me? How?” they will accuse her of impersonating cats.

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