Did you know this man?

BE honest now - did you have any idea until this week that someone called Lord Browne was the boss of BP?Me neither. If that information ever passed through my brain (and I suppose it may have done) it made too little impact to stay there.

BE honest now - did you have any idea until this week that someone called Lord Browne was the boss of BP?

Me neither. If that information ever passed through my brain (and I suppose it may have done) it made too little impact to stay there. So why on earth was his departure from the job splashed across the front of almost every national newspaper?

It's only a slight variation on the old observation that “news” means reporting the deaths of people you didn't know were alive.

Recent examples of that include Kitty Carlisle Hart, Joan Wyndham, Jack Vallenti and Boris Yeltsin.

(Well, yes, all right - I did know who Boris Yeltsin was. But it was news to me that he'd still been alive so recently.)

I have no idea whether Browne was a good or bad boss, but I do feel some sympathy with him now.

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In his departing statement he said: “I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private. It is a matter of deep disappointment that a newspaper group has now decided that allegations about my personal life should be made public.”

And quite right too.

He would have done much better, though, once he knew his private life was about to become public, to come clean.

If he'd admitted to his unconventional love life it might have made for a moment of personal embarrassment and public titillation. But the ultimate reaction, surely, would have been “so what?”

Where he went wrong was in trying to cover up by lying.

That is something all parents battle to prevent their children from doing.

And having been children ourselves, we all know that lying is wrong.

Lying about your sex life is the one sure way to bring a glittering career to a crashing end - even in politics.

If Tony Blair, for example, had been caught lying about sex he'd be old history by now.

It's simply so much more important than little things like weapons of mass destruction, terrorist threats, peerages… (Well, all right, leave peerages off the list. Sex really is more interesting and important than that.)

And speaking of Blair and departures, has anyone ever taken so long to leave the stage?

His exit has been going on for years now, with more false endings than a Guns 'n Roses ballad.

When will it all end? At least now he's told us when he's going to tell us.

Deep down, though, do you really believe him?

STEVE DALY seems like a nice bloke. Open, friendly, intelligent - and very brave.

He had to be all those things to put himself through the ordeal of a flight from America to Britain and then parade all of his grotesque 31-stone body as a warning to the rest of us.

There were lots of cringe-making moments in Channel 4's Fat Man's Warning.

The one that really got me was when a nurse pressed her thumb into Steve's bloated shin and the dent she made stayed there.

The best laughs came from some fat girls in serious denial.

For a supposed comedian Steve himself is not terribly funny. That may not be surprising in a man publicly contemplating his own early death. And he made it very clear that pain, discomfort and humiliation now, followed by death soon, are his penalties for a life of eating too much.

In America, this sad, enormous man is not a freak. There are, he says, an incredible nine million Americans as big or bigger. He also says Britain is just four years behind the States on the rising line of obesity.

His programme was very uncomfortable viewing for someone who has edged up again to about a stone above his optimal weight.

I can only imagine what it must have been like to watch it as a fat person.


ON those rare occasions when I watch TV, I often find the adverts at least as diverting as the programmes between.

Such as the one in which a car mutates into a metallic spider, a snake and an amphibious reptile.

That short film is a brilliantly executed piece of artwork and must have cost many millions to make. It's just a shame all that skill, ingenuity and expenditure could only find an outlet in advertising.

Still, it's an eye-opener. It beautifully demonstrates the versatility of a vehicle that can apparently smoothly cross mountains, jagged rocks, barren deserts and white-water rivers.

Just the sorts of terrain, in fact, that one regularly encounters on the school run. Or the weekly expedition to the supermarket.

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