Peter Rhodes on brainless campaigners, the ink-cartridge racket and how to remember an actor

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Tom Conti - Shirley Valentine star
Tom Conti - Shirley Valentine star

The actor Tom Conti may take all sorts of stick for denying there is a climate crisis and damning the Cop26 conference as “a waste of time and money.” But was any response more barbed than the three words used to describe him in a Daily Mail gossip column? He was introduced to readers as “Shirley Valentine star.” How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to be remembered chiefly for a film you made 32 years ago. Especially when Conti is far better known as Emily's drunken father in Friends.

“Your SUV contributes to the second biggest causes of carbon emissions,” declares a parking-ticket style sticker left on car windscreens in Glasgow. They were planted by a group called “Tyred of SUVs,” who explained the cars had been “disarmed” by letting down one or more tyres. But some of the cars targetted in Glasgow were perfectly normal, small-engine saloons, not SUVs.

This tells us that some members of Tyred of SUVs don't actually know what an SUV (sports utility vehicle) is and, what's more, are too thick to find out. Are we not reminded of the Insulate Britain leader who cheerfully admitted his own house was not insulated? One of the first casualties of urban rebellion appears to be brains.

I bought my new digital printer (£50) in the first week of October and its first black ink cartridge (£13.35) has just run out. I have a friend who reckons it's cheaper to buy a new printer every time the cartridges expire. I haven't done the sums but £13.35 every five or six weeks must be a nice little earner for somebody.

And, please, before the techno bargain hunters among you write to tell me how much they save by buying knock-off cartridges at half the price, or re-filling empty cartridges from big bottles of ink, I've been there and done it. The knock-off ink seemed to be manufactured entirely of sticky blots and the refilling caper brings instant and permanent admission to the Black Hand Gang. Printers' ink is like diamonds. It's forever.

Meanwhile in Athens the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has suggested that if Britain were to return the hotly contested Elgin Marbles, he would offer some other treasures to the British Museum, on loan. It sounds like Greeks bearing gifts. What could possibly go wrong?

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