Alternative history

Guardian video: Robert Harris on Fatherland: 'What would have happened if Hitler had won?'

Answer: They would have banned smoking in all public buildings, started monitoring all of our personal correspondence, anaesthetised our brains with vapid television and radio programmes, banned dogs from beaches, and sold us a pack of lies about how we could combat climate change with a few windmills.

But I suppose the trains would at least run on time.

Words of wisdom

…courtesy of Mr Mark E Smith in today's Observer:

If I could change one law I would reverse the smoking ban immediately. I was in a pub last Saturday night, just having a quiet pint, and this fella gets his baby out and changes its nappy on the table next to me. That would have never happened before the smoking ban.

He has a point you know, anti-smoking killjoys.

Horrendously misfiled

Spotted in Borders while buying Christmas presents the other week:


Not where I'd have put them.

The late Simon Gray would be laughing his head off to see his diaries on sale in the self-help section. If you are thinking of giving up smoking as a new year's resolution (and you really should), then Simon Gray's books about utterly failing to do so are almost certainly not for you.

See also:

Satire is getting harder and harder to spot

NewsBiscuit: Smokers banned from naming or pointing at favourite brand

In further moves to discourage smoking, the Department of Health have announced a complete ban on naming your favourite brand of cigarette or pointing at them in the newsagents and tobacconists.

From now on smokers will have to perform an elaborate round of charades to express their desire to purchase a packet of cigarettes' explained Jane Shillitoe, Under Secretary of State for Health. 'For example, '20 Benson and Hedges' would involve flashing both palms twice, then doing a sounds-like hen move, then indicating a sun, then a little cross to symbolise the word 'and', and finally a mime which recreates a pair of garden hedges. We expect to reduce smoking across the population, except possibly among mime artists.'