INSIDE LONDON

This week London’s second most famous resident, after the occupant of Buckingham Palace (the Queen), who incidentally now wears a nice hat trimmed with pheasant’s feathers [see last week’s Inside London], was in Moscow in a Beer Cellar on Lenin Prospekt with Vladimir Putin, his old friend and fellow lawyer. This was enough to give Tony Blair a new name in the British press : Beer Cellar Blair. The Russians have a habit of giving lasting names to British Prime Ministers – a certain lady was also denominated “Iron Lady”…was it President Andropov or Chernenko who invented the very fitting name?? Speaking about the Royal Family, the most famous piece of litter was picked up on London’s streets this week : the 100-year-old private medical history of the Queen Mother, who celebrated her 100th birthday on August 4th. A thief had broken into the Royal Family private doctor’s car and obviously was not interested in the Queen Mother’s medical record…he discarded it on the street. If he had sold it to the tabloid press, he would have been the most famous thief in London this Christmas… The third link with the Royal Family this week is the Judith Heppel story, the cousin of Camilla Parker-Bowles, the long-term and eternal girlfriend of Prince Charles (even while he was married to princess Diana), who is the first person in Britain to win a million pounds (38 million Roubles) in a televised quiz-show. Another Queen, but this time American sex queen Madonna, has decided that she will live in London forever and will marry her British boyfriend, Guy Ritchie, next year…like a virgin. The England Rugby Squad went on a spectacular strike this week and the England Rugby Union board accepted their demands for better pay. They had to, otherwise there would have been no game against Argentina tomorrow. This sport had been amateur until five years ago. The players were dissatisfied that men in suits were earning more than the players and said “No pay, no play!” This sets an interesting precedent for all sportsmen in other sports. British farmers are calling for a change of name for Brussels sprouts, (Bruselskaya kapusta) that popular Christmas vegetable. They say that the time has come for a more modern, and more British, name for this vegetable. Suggestions for new names are welcome…the problem is, if the name changes, what are they to be called in Russian? The final note this week goes to Moscow team Spartak…congratulations for the victory against London’s Arsenal. “Eleven frozen turkeys” was the headline in one of Britain’s tabloid papers, blaming the London team for terrible “schoolboy defending”, according to French manager Arsene Wenger. The weather may have been cold but the attacking of the two Brazilian strikers was Samba-hot. This Spartak team is the talk of the moment here in western Europe…as one player is sold, another from the youth team is ready to replace. What an excellent example for all football clubs everywhere. Congratulations, Spartak! John Ashtead Pravda.Ru correspondent London