Peter Rhodes on old movies, a BBC warning and memories of feeding the elephants

“Contains some upsetting scenes” is the BBC's warning on CCTV footage showing a bicycling suspect being arrested in Grimsby.

Long memories?
Long memories?

Chased by one police car, he collides head-on with another, flies over the handlebars, crashes to the ground, and is promptly nicked by five armed cops. Later he is charged with possessing an imitation firearm, a bladed article and some cannabis, trying to escape lawful custody and assaulting an emergency worker.

So tell us, Auntie Beeb. Which bit are we supposed to find upsetting?

Animal-behaviour experts claim that elephants in zoos “react positively” to the presence of human visitors. No surprises there. Elephants have long memories and their inherited race-memories must stretch back centuries.

Is it not likely, as today's elephants witness the approach of people, that something deep in their grey cells recalls the days when zoo visitors were allowed to feed the elephants? It's a simple equation. Humans = buns.

For welfare reasons, feeding the elephants was banned years ago. I dare say today's child visitors come away from the elephant enclosure with a sense of awe. But they will never experience, as we experienced, that breathtaking moment when the tip of the elephant's trunk settles on your palm and removes the food like a hot, hairy little Hoover.

No surprises in this week's news that drug-driving offences now exceed drink-driving. Drugs have never been cheaper nor easier to obtain. Don't get me started on the price of booze. I was in a hotel bar the other day where they were charging £7.25 for a pint of lager.

Incidentally, in the continuing thread about old expressions that younger people no longer understand, how about “one over the eight”? It got a mention in Sunday's Footage Detectives (Talking Pictures TV) when the conversation drifted to how much beer was contained in the old Watney's Party Seven can.

Footage Detectives? If you're over 60, approach it with extreme care as it may take over your life, or at least your Sunday evenings. It's a weekly nostalgia show hosted by DJ Mike Read and Noel Cronin in which viewers share their collections of Ford Anglia workshop manuals, recall bumping into Victor Maddern and correctly identify a few seconds of cine film as the 1958 Burnham-on-Sea beauty pageant. Beyond riveting.

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