Mark Andrews on Saturday: Guitarist gets a ribbing, identity politics in the parish council, and the folly of smart motorways

Read the latest musings from Mark Andrews.

Is Britney Spears trapped in Jackie Weaver's body?
Is Britney Spears trapped in Jackie Weaver's body?

Recycling is great, but some people take it too far.

American rock musician Yaago Anax, for instance, who performs on stage with an, ahem, eye-catching electric guitar he claims was made from his late uncle’s ribcage.

Yaago, who calls himself Prince Midnight, said he made use of his uncle Filip’s bones after his family struggled to pay the rent on the burial plot in Greece. “I got the box of bones and didn’t know what to do at first, “ he said. “So, I decided to turn uncle Filip into a guitar, which proved to be challenging.”

You don’t say.

Yaago said he asked a few guitar specialists to take on the job but, they didn’t have the stomach for it. Which seems a bit marrow-minded.

Anyhow, some are now questioning the veracity of Yaago’s story, suggesting he might be a serial prankster.

Which does make sense. I thought he was telling fibias from the start.

This column has regularly questioned the use of ‘smart motorways’, which have variable speed limits and no hard shoulders.

This week a coroner invited the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider a corporate manslaughter charge against Highways England over the death of grandmother Nargis Begum, killed when a car shunted her husband’s car which had broken down on the carriageway. What I did find disturbing, though, was that the coroner referred to “a distinct lack of knowledge and education of drivers in the region” saying it was their responsibility to report incidents.

Maybe so, but it wasn’t the drivers who removed the hard shoulders, putting them at risk in the first place. Maybe it would be better to start ripping up these deadly roads as a matter of urgency, rather than blaming the victims.

It’s surprising how the woke folk have elevated Jackie Weaver to heroine status following her acerbic put-downs of the pompous, petty parish councillors of Handforth.

Because after chairman Brian Tolver apparently declared himself clerk of the meeting, Mrs Weaver retorted: “From now on, call me Britney Spears.”

Call me Britney Spears? That’s got to be a hate crime. Or a phobia at the very least. What if Mr Tolver really was a parish clerk trapped in a puffed-up council chairman’s body? And if nothing else, her comment trivialises the suffering of everyone who self-identifies as a teenage bubblegum popstar with a penchant for wearing school uniform. Put Mrs Weaver on a diversity course at once.

Guardian columnist Gabby Hinscliffe says the school shutdown is taking a huge toll on the mental health of children, and risks creating a generation of angry, withdrawn young people.

Is there any other kind? I’m sure the lockdown is tough for youngsters – just as it is for adults. And there are some who genuinely need help.

But it hardly compares with the hardships of the Second World War evacuees. Or the teenagers called up to battle, for that matter.

And I do wonder whether today’s youngsters would find it easier if society had not encouraged them to become so thin-skinned.

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