Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Idler, Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Michelin star awards

OO-LA-LA … a small, down-to-earth eatery in the French town of Bourges – what we'd call a truckers' café – suddenly found itself besieged by well-heeled boulevardiers and their madamoiselles decanted from limousines. Owner Veronique Jacquet was astonished.

The boulevardiers themselves were astonished to find that the ultimate in French gastronomic experience had suddenly become home-style stews, sausages and crabsticks, washed down with draught beer.

Yes, it was a mix-up. Michelin had awarded one of its much-coveted stars to Bouche a Oreille, on Route de la Chapelle, Bourges, when what it meant was Bouche a Oreille, on Rue de la Chapelle, Boutervilliers – a genuine gourmet restaurant, very swish, in a town about 160km away.

Meanwhile a baffled Aymeric Dreux, owner of the Boutervilliers etsablishment, was getting phone calls asking about the new place he'd opened in Bourges.

Entanglement! Quelle domage! But at least it perhaps explains a phenomenon we've noticed lately at the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties, where very swish  parties in evening dress have been arriving, ordering champagne, caviar and lobster and asking what time the Folies Bergere begins?

Adolf calling

A BATTERED red telephone that once belonged to Adolf Hitler has been sold by auction in America. It fetched $243 000 (R3.2 million).

The phone, which has a swastika engraved on it and has Hitler's name on the back, was recovered from the Nazi leader's bunker by Russian troops when the war ended. The Russians gave it to a British officer, Ralph Rayner.

Rayner's son, Ranulf, put it up for auction in Chesapeake, Maryland, and it was knocked down to an unidentified buyer by telephone.

Look, we've had more than enough alarming news lately. Let's not be told that this battered red telephone will next be set up in the Oval Office. The tweets are bad enough.


ALL kinds of street demos against Donald Trump continue in California, a state that voted solidly against him. This is not America as usual.

California has the right to decide next year whether it wants to remain part of the United States (The US is a hodge-podge federation, remember. Texas has the same right to secede.)

Trump has been vocal in his support for Brexit, predicting a break-up of the EU.

How ironic if he should next year face agitation for a Caxit.


THIS week's announcement of plans to build a 6m bronze statue of Jacob Zuma as a tourism landmark at Groot Marico, in North West province – the heart of Herman Charles Bosman country –  is already causing waves.

Raconteur Spyker Koekemoer – aka Pat Smythe – tells me the Bekkersdal Skoolkomitee has called an emergency meeting to discuss the issue. They take it very, very seriously, he says.

The meeting is no doubt to discuss getting involved in fundraising.



A WOMAN is at the hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip  to Rome with her husband. She mentions the trip to the hairdresser. 

"Rome?  Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?"

"We're taking United Airlines."

United? They're terrible! Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, they're always late.  So, where are you staying in Rome?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on the
 Tiber River called Teste."

"Say no more! I know that place. It's a dump."

"We're going to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope."

"That's rich! You and a million other people. He'll look the size of an ant." 

A month later, the she comes again for a hairdo.

"How was your trip?" 

"Wonderful. United have brand-new planes, but they'd overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. And the hotel was great.  They've just finished a $5 million remodeling job."

"And the Pope? Did you see him?"  

"Actually, we were very lucky. When we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and said the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into this private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand.  I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."

"Really?  What'd he say? 

"He said: 'Who messed up your hair?'"


Last word



If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster. Clint Eastwood

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