I confess I have a soft spot for Jamie Oliver, the chef so beloved by middle Britain. His livery lips, his unruly thatch of hair, his speech impediment--I could just eat him up. And soon, I will.
Oxford is all a-flutter over the impending arrival of a new restaurant conceived by Oliver. It will be known as Jamie's Italian. And what exactly will the cuisine be like? Well, I took this photo of the site, which is being renovated now:
A "twist of Jamie." It sounds cannibalistic. But it's the obvious next step in the deification of celebrity hash-slingers. First you could buy their cook books. Then you could buy their skillets. Then you could buy their ingredients. Now you can buy them, little bits of their bodies to sprinkle into your sauces and salad dressings, like a pinch of a saint's relic. A twist of Jamie. Some Oliver oil.
Or maybe I'm thinking this way because we saw the wonderfully odd French movie "Delicatessen" last night.
Did you see Emily Wax's delightful Washington Post story about the Redskins cheerleaders traveling to India to perform at cricket matches? Now comes the backlash. The Guardian reports that the pom-pom shakers have angered conservative politicians and drawn lewd comments from male oglers. "I think in the Indian context [cheerleaders] are seen as slightly sleazy which is not a reflection on the women but the perception [from Indian men]. So lewd comments, I am sorry to say, do not surprise me at all," Mukul Kesavan, a cricket writer, told the Guardian. Slightly sleazy? Cheerleaders? No.
Meet Britain's worst driver: Jamie Manderson has never had a driver's license and yet he notched his first driving offenses as a teenager, getting banned at age 15. This week he was jailed for eight months after earning his 51st driving-related conviction. Rob Ross, Manderson's lawyer, told the court: "He still has a problem with motor cars. He always will." In the past, Ross, who describes his client as a "likeable idiot", has said Manderson suffers from "a serious addiction to cars."
I haven't been able to find a decent video online (someone must have bought the rights to film it in 3-D Imax) but even the still photos are pretty amazing: More than 1,600 Belgian students dropped Mentos into Coke bottles yesterday, creating the world's largest eruption of sticky sweet geysers.
The same arguments over the HPV vaccine are being fought here as in the States. There's that puritanical tinge to it--the vaccination to shield girls from cervical cancer will just encourage them to have sex--but England being England, there's also an anti-science bent. This, after all, is the country that swooned over the MMR vaccine, when middle class mums with too much time on their hands started to believe a discredited researcher who said the jab caused autism. (It doesn't.) The Daily Mail helped fan those flames. Now the paper says one in three British girls offered the HPV vaccine in a trial have refused it. Or is it one in five, as the Guardian reports? Oh let's just average those and call it 25 percent.
The making of a new James Bond movie is greeted here with the same sort of excitement and glee as the news that a member of the royal family is pregnant. It's an excuse for Fleet Street to run all sorts of stories, starting with the annointing of the new Bond girls, roles that are roughly equivalent to those of the vestal virgins in ancient Rome. The latest movie, "Quantum of Solace," is providing lots of news, especially since they keep crashing those expensive cars. The third accident in five days has people talking of a "Bond curse." Maybe that's what you get when you give your female characters names like "Papilloma Jabb."
Finally, everybody hates J.K. Rowling. And when I say "everybody," I mean all the other authors at her publishing house, who feel the imprint pays far too much attention to that darned Harry Potter.
Gargoyle of the Week
This fellow peers down from a university building on the Banbury Road, the master of all he surveys.
I survey the weekend coming up. Have a good one and thanks for reading.