SO the First Minister and the Prime Minister have kicked off panto season eight months early with their “Oh no you won't!”/“Oh yes we will!” referendum routine. Wonderful. That means the rest of us can sit back, enjoy the show, and lay bets on who'll be in the red, white and blue pantomime horse that heads up the No campaign when, as seems likely, the Wicked Stepmother finally says: “Oh … go on then!” But the wags and wagettes of the fifth and sixth estates (the online media and its troll-bedevilled cousin, social media) have been busy wondering what to actually call a potential Scottish exit from the UK.
Scoxit? It sounds as horrible spoken as it looks written down.
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Scotch Eggsit? I'm quite partial to this tasty treat myself, but as it was invented by posh London grocer Fortnum & Mason it's hardly apt under the circumstances.
Scoot, a conflation of Scotland and oot? Not bad.
Joxit? Careful. Don't want to have to invoke any EU laws on hate speech.
Personally, I'm increasingly viewing independence as more of an escape than an exit, in which case we either hold down our kilts to preserve our modesty and leg it in a Sclegit – or, for the biblically-minded, prepare ourselves for a Scexodus.
Actually that last one works best: I think Theresa May kind of fancies herself as Pharaoh.
Hunger games deluxe
HARD to know whether to laugh or cry at the news that in the same week the world wakes up to the famine in Somalia and South Sudan, the girls of unfeasibly posh Benenden School go on a fast – a Phone Fast. Either way, tears are required.
For three whole days, starting on Sunday night and ending on Wednesday, sixth-formers at the £34,000 a year Kent school did without their rose gold iPhone 7s. That meant a whole 72 hours in which they couldn't post pictures of themselves on Instagram or Facebook. Couldn't check emails. Couldn't Whatsapp or Snapchat their chums at other expensive public schools. Couldn't watch cat videos. And couldn't tweet about their inability to do any of the above.
“I am expecting our Phone Fast to cause disquiet among some students,” says headmistress Samantha Price ahead of the traumatic social media blackout. “But if just one girl decides to switch off her phone an hour before they go to bed, then it will have been worth it.”
Benenden alumni include Princess Anne, ex-spy chief Eliza Manningham-Buller, and It Girl Lady Victoria Hervey, who once said: “It's so bad being homeless in winter. They should go somewhere warm like the Caribbean where they can eat fresh fish all day.” Not exactly relevant, but I thought you'd like to know.
Dancing with one's self
PRINCESS Anne's naughty nephew Prince William has been getting a spanking of late. Not the sort that might be administered to visiting businessmen by those Russian sex workers Vladimir Putin is so proud of, and not the sort that fellow Old Etonians of an earlier vintage might remember fondly from their schooldays. No, this is the verbal kind the British tabloids like to deliver from time to time, using a headline and a grainy smartphone clip in place of a velvet-covered ping-pong bat.
First up, HRH PW was accused of being workshy for having undertaken a modest 13 royal engagements so far this year. That's compared to the 24 done by his 91-year-old granny, HRH QE, who'd much rather be at home watching Crufts on the BBC's Red Button service than opening supermarkets and community centres. Even his brother HRH PH – try saying that after a day on the piste – has managed 17.
And talking of going on the piste, another six of the best was delivered to the royal rear after William was filmed “dad dancing” at a nightclub in Verbier, a ski resort he had flown off to for a lads trip away. This was early on Monday and within hours the footage had gone viral. So now the world knows that on the same day the senior royals were attending a Commonwealth ceremony at Westminster Abbey, William was busting moves to Luniz's 1990s hip-hop hit I Got 5 On It. On his own. With a space round him. Like when there's a drunk guy on the dancefloor and you steer clear in case he starts doing The Helicopter.
Mind you, there may be a silver lining. Madonna is looking for new choreographers to work with and is apparently scouring the internet looking for them. Should she cast her net as wide as Mail Online – and what right-thinking celebrity wouldn't? – she'll see Prince William shaking his stuff. Prospective dance instructors will be flown out to New York to audition for her and he could be one of them. As he can actually fly a helicopter, he could get there under his own steam too. It might mean even fewer royal engagements, but it would at least give him gainful employment.
TV or not TV?
IN 1954, American abstract artist Ad Reinhardt began painting black canvases for people to hang on their walls. Today, his works sell for up to £1.6 million.
That's a bit pricey for most people. But for a fraction of the sum – around £400 – you can buy something almost identical. It's called a flat-screen, wall-mounted TV set and as long as you keep it turned off, it will look just like one of Reinhardt's works and everybody will be fooled into thinking you're an aesthete with rarefied tastes in art rather than a gadget nerd with a ridiculously oversized telly Rawlplugged into your plasterwork.
And if abstract painting isn't to your taste, your TV can now be used to make visitors think you have all kinds of other works of art hanging in the living room. That's thanks to a new box from Samsung called The Frame, which has an Art Mode with 100 pre-sets of paintings to choose from. Not sure if Edvard Munch's The Scream is one of them, but if it isn't it should be. Truly, modern technology is a blessing in these troubled and trying times.