Express & Star

Peter Rhodes on a matchstick tower, Putin's words and claims of racism in rural Britain

Two languages, one interpreter, hundreds of radio journalists adding their own words. Parts of the Tucker Carlson interview with the Russian president were at first a tad confusing. For instance, did Putin boast: “Defeat in Ukraine is impossible” or did he admit: “Defeating Ukraine is impossible”?

The Eiffel Tower - not always so popular

Frenchman Richard Plaud spent eight years building a 23ft replica of the Eiffel Tower from 706,000 matches, only to have his achievement denied a Guinness record because he allegedly used the wrong sort of matches. Guinness World Records has now backed down, recognised his tower as the world's tallest matchstick edifice and called it “officially amazing".

France, which loves its Eiffel Tower, naturally rejoices at M. Plaud's success. Interestingly, when plans for the real tower were unveiled in the 1880s, there was much opposition to it, led by some of France's leading artists. These precious souls denounced the “hateful column” as “useless and monstrous . . . a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack.” The critics became a perfect example of what we now call being on the wrong side of history.