Peter Rhodes on a cheesy lesson, the Gallic shrug and waiting for the male of the species to improve

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Simon and Garfunkel – a privilege
Simon and Garfunkel – a privilege

Well done, Sky News, for getting that dramatic, infuriating footage of people-smugglers cramming migrants on to inflatable boats near Calais and setting them adrift towards England, while French gendarmes watched on and did nothing. Or to be fair, not exactly nothing. To their credit, the French cops gave us Anglo-Saxons a perfect demonstration of how to perform the Gallic shrug.

There is a New Jerusalem (it's just down the road from the Sunlit Uplands) where all men treat all women with respect and kindness. However, 5,000 years of civilisation has failed to locate this blessed place and, while we are waiting for men to become saints, doesn't it make sense for women to take sensible precautions?

Apparently not. The very idea that women might carry rape alarms, avoid dark places and if possible walk in pairs is denounced by some activists. A tracker app designed by BT to protect anyone, of whatever sex, feeling vulnerable brought this response from a campaigner: “Stop restricting women's freedoms to accommodate male violence.” You might as well campaign against seat belts on the grounds that they interfere with the laws of physics.

Best way to celebrate the injection of Saudi money into Newcastle United while expressing contempt and loathing for a particularly unpleasant regime? Follow the example of some fans and wear a tea towel on your head at every United match. Nothing so irritates a Saudi bigwig as being associated with tea towels. Over there, the headdress reflects strength and masculinity. Over here, it means you're doing the dishes.

Watching TV is rarely a privilege but a rescreening of the 2011 documentary Simon & Garfunkel: The Harmony Game (BBC2) deserves that description. It was a fascinating insight into the work of two uniquely gifted artists. Two moments stood out. The first was when Paul Simon described how Bridge Over Troubled Water, one of the most outstanding anthems of its age, simply came to him (anyone else reminded of Paul McCartney dreaming the melody for Yesterday?). The second, revealing that not everyone was paying attention, was the arranger who misheard “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and labelled his score as “Pitcher of Water.” Simon had it framed.

Anything with hot cheese is better than anything without hot cheese.” Rule for life, as listed in her autobiography by Claudia Winkleman.

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