Peter Rhodes on a resilient rock star, renaming a river and Chris Packham's battle with the Bible
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
On behalf of the wicked Press, I can only apologise for our inadequate response to the news that atmospheric pressure over Britain last week, at a staggering 1,049.6 millibars, was the highest it had been since records began in 1692.
Given time, we could have whipped this record up into a real scare story. All it takes is the tried-and-trusted journalistic process of finding a bonkers old professor prepared to claim that high pressure can result in spontaneous combustion, exploding eyeballs, withered toes or whatever. As it was, the worst prediction Fleet Street's finest could find in the time available was that high pressure might make your ears pop. This is not good enough. Next time the needle on the barometer shoots off the scale, we will be ready and go straight into full panic mode. Have your eyeball-guard ready.
It is terrible news that Ozzy Osbourne is suffering from Parkinson's disease. On the other hand, given the lifestyle he has led and all the booze and many, many dodgy substances he has ingested, the fact that he made it to 70 without dropping dead is a great testament to the resilience of the human body, or at least some human bodies. Keep rockin' on, Ozzy.
You may recall that in 2018 after the royal wedding, I questioned the wisdom of bestowing the title of “Sussex” on Harry and Meghan because “in the event of scandal, the headline writers would have a field day with any title involving the word 'sex'." Well, the departure of the Sussexes may not be a scandal but that title is still a delight for the tabloids, as the recent Sun front-page headline over a picture of Meghan proves: “The Joy of Sussex.” Expect more of the same.
Amid the debate over relocating the House of Lords to York, a reader asks whether the city's great River might be renamed the Ouse of Lords.
Chris Packham achieved the impossible in his TV documentary, 7.7billion People and Counting. He managed to devote an entire hour to the world's over-population crisis without once using the word “religion.”
Whatever Packham and the rest of us may think, the only guidance the Bible has to offer comes in Genesis when the Almighty commands the first humans, Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Not a word about saving the elephants and having just 2.1 children. At the heart of some religions is the belief that every new soul is a blessing, even as the Earth groans under the strain. And in places where the population is exploding, who are they going to believe, Packham or the priests?