Peter Rhodes on mug shots, musical fury and supersonic silliness
As a rule, the worst photographs of us are the ones taken by the authorities: passport photos, snaps for the bus pass, and so on. Yet Donald Trump manages to pose for a police mug shot and looks great. This narcissistic eternal sore loser and all-round bad egg looks defiant, determined and (dare we admit it?) Churchillian.
The famous wartime portrait of Winston Churchill at his most pugnacious was captured by the Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh who, according to his account, cheekily removed Churchill's cigar from his lips and pressed the shutter as Winnie snarled. Is that the look Trump deliberately tried to emulate?
Incidentally, while it's fine for us hacks to write “mug shot,” I was surprised that the BBC embraced this American slang so eagerly. Mind you, they've been calling bank raids “heists” for ages.
The British conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, 80, has "apologised unreservedly" and pulled out of the Proms after allegedly assaulting a singer who “left the podium in the wrong direction.” Failing to observe podium etiquette may seem a minor thing but when old gentlemen dedicate their lives to a single subject, be it plane-spotting, model trains or conducting orchestras, they tend to take it very seriously.
I speak from experience, having spent a couple of terms in my teens being slapped and shaken by a permanently angry, chain-smoking old Austrian who was trying to teach me the cello. One misplaced crotchet was enough to trigger a volcano of fury, fag ash and head-slapping. On one memorable evening his dog, a smelly, flea-bitten old terrier, joined in the musical criticism by emptying its bowels on the rug in mid Clair de Lune.
God knows what that livid old tutor would have done if a student had quit the podium in the wrong manner, heaven forfend, but I dare say it would have involved a baton.
As half the world drowns, half the world burns and millions are prepared to risk their lives migrating between continents in lethal boats, Nasa unveils its business plan for a new generation of luxury supersonic airliners which will chew up the atmosphere at 3,000 mph. What planet are they living on?