Rhodes on rattling sabres, finding fossils and the irresistible march of the rudest word

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Colin Farrell, left, in The Gentlemen – brilliant
Colin Farrell, left, in The Gentlemen – brilliant

I've just watched ''The Gentlemen' and 'The Lost Daughter'.

The first movie is the latest Guy Ritchie gangster romp (brilliant work by Colin Farrell), the second is a stark study of a woman (Olivia Colman) who deserts her young children. You'd think they have nothing in common. But they do. From the opening moments of each film, the action is saturated with the C-word.

Not so long ago this word was forbidden in any creative work. Today, it has become commonplace. The most offensive noun in the English language, a term naturally despised by many women, and the only word with real power to shock, is now sprinkled on scripts with what we used to call gay abandon.

And now that this cultural watershed has been reached and breached, what next? When all the worst words have been used, where will the new shockers come from? I dare say we won't have long to wait.

Assuming, that is, that we have any time at all. The three way stack-up between Ukraine, Russia and Nato has scary echoes of July 1914 when Germany, France and Russia rattled sabres at each other for a few weeks. And then Germany realised the only way it could win a war was by starting it as soon as possible.

Any Questions (Radio 4) tackled the old claim that youth crime can be traced to cuts in youth-service budgets. The theory is that if kids are busy playing table tennis, they won't be mugging old ladies. I've never believed that. For some youngsters, the youth club is just another place to be bullied. The only time anyone attempted to recruit me into crime (a van load of stolen fags to be shifted), it was a couple of nasty, intimidating lads at, of all places, a Methodist chapel youth club.

Rutland Water, the biggest man-made lake in England, is the inland sea of the Midlands. It covers 3,100 acres, is more than 100 feet deep and caters for ocean-going yachts. Only in London could this massive, marvellous creation be dismissed quite as sniffily as it was during a BBC bulletin this week. It concerned the discovery of a 30-ft fossilised ichthyosaur at Rutland Water or, as the newsreader described it, “a reservoir near Leicester.” Do they ever get outside the M25?

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