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FErret

The enigma's machine

Luther Blissett - the former Watford and AC Milan footballer - is an enigma, even a mystery. Legends multiply around his identity: it's said, perhaps apocryphally, that he was signed for Milan by accident when they intended to recruit John Barnes.

Italian activists alighted on his name to use as a pseudonym for media hoaxes and situationist pranks. "Anyone can be Luther Blissett simply by adopting the name Luther Blissett," their slogan ran. (Mr Blissett later added to the confusion by repeating the motto on TV.) Eventually, four of the Luther Blissett collective wrote a successful historical novel under his name, titled Q.

So when Barnet and Southgate College students were invited to work on a car for the footballer's entry in the Le Mans 24-hour race, they might have been forgiven for suspecting that someone was having them on.

Delightfully, however, the project turns out to be real. Mr Blissett formed Team 48 Motorsport with fellow ex-footballers Les Ferdinand and the aforementioned Barnes to create opportunities for black British racing drivers, and Le Mans is their next challenge. FErret wishes them, and the students putting all the nuts and bolts together, the best of luck.

Carrying a torch for charity leads to trouble

When a staff member at Bridgwater College in Somerset was chosen to carry the Olympic torch, she had an idea that would give the British public the chance to display its famed sense of proportion and tolerance.

Like several others, Sarah Milner Simonds decided to auction off her torch, in her case to raise money for a community gardening project. Eventually, the bidding rose above #163;150,000 (although the winner has not come forward).

FErret supposes the public took this entrepreneurialism in its stride. Not exactly. "We've had people calling us the scum of the earth and saying we should be expelled from England," said Ms Milner Simonds' partner, Beverley. Well, who wouldn't be shocked, shocked that someone would try to make money out of the #163;11 billion Olympic Games(TM)?

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