28th November 1997 at 00:00
Fresh from being described by The Sun as "the egghead paper" (for explaining how to reprogramme cyberpets), The TES is proud to pose this week's burn-ing question: Ubi telepingues ieiunt?

Or, to put it another way: Where have the Teletubbies gone?

Carborundum has obtained a copy of the oddest script of the year: Telepingues et Vir Vespertilioni, as performed by the GCSE Latin group at Lewes Priory comprehensive in sunny Sussex for would-be new bugs looking round with their parents.

Goodness knows what the impressionable visitors made of the playlet: Teletubbies And Batman is something you don't see every day (probably just as well: the BBC is rather hot on the copyright of its current pre-school cult) and that it exists at all is a compliment to the fertile mind of Richard Burrows, head of humanities at Lewes.

Concerned that the rudimentary language skills of Tinky Winky and the gang may rot small minds? Try running through the script in Latin (certain pre-pre prep schools will be wonderfully impressed) and the whole thing sounds much better. Tempus telepinguibus, as they say.

Anyway, back to the Lewes script, which has Gotham City overrun by the four fat little Tubbies. Robin is aghast. "Sancta monstra foeda, Vir Vesperilionis! Quid facere possunt?" ("Holy weird furry monsters, Batman. What can they do?") "Malus est, Robinus," replies Batman. "Mentes liberorum occupant." ("It's bad, Robin. They take over children's minds.") "Sanctae mentes liberorum!" exclaims Robin. What, you want Carborundum to translate? OK then: "Holy children's minds!" A bit of tomfoolery ensues, with Batman (Vir Vesperilionis) falling for the Tubbies because they are so loveable, only to be attacked by Tinky Winky. "Eum cum sacco pulso!" ("I bash him with handbag.") In what is probably a first, the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder are forced to retreat, overpowered by the superior might of Po and co. "Veni, Robinus. Volvi ad cavernam vespertilioniem."

And that, Carborundum thinks, is more than enough Teletubbies. Or, to quote from the script: "Tempus telepinguibus vale vale."

The shock of the "new" swept into another corner of the education world this week. Staff at the Further Education Development Agency (FEDA to its friends) are forging a new image by trading their Olde Worlde sites in the Mendip Hills outside Bristol for a spanking new high-tech London headquarters.

Confidential memos circulating around the quango's numerous outposts now talk bravely of NEW FEDA - part of a hearts and mind campaign to woo cynical college principals who would rather divvy OLD FEDA's budget up between them and be done with it.

New Whatever worked for Tony Blair, of course. But FEDA's chief executive Stephen Crowne (an avid fan of 60s rock idols The Grateful Dead) will remember the slightly less successful New Avengers and New Seekers.

However, as fans of Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt know, "new" is something that will surely get "old" with time.

So whatever will come next? Perhaps the cue will come from the Coca Cola Company - New Labour, Classic Labour and Diet Labour perhaps. Surely Cherry Labour is only just round the corner.

Still, it's as near to having fun as FEDA will get this Christmas. As befits an organisation with its headquarters in the heart of London's West End, FEDA's Christmas lunch will be in Vauxhall on the ever-so-seedy south side of the Thames. Gloomy staff grumblethat they are only going to get two glasses of wine - and will haveto be back at work by 2.30. Bah, humbug.

And on the subject (well, sort of) of New Labour, Carborundum was fascinated by the acres of space devoted to the subject of Mr Blair's new hairdo. A Caesar, the Daily Mail called it. "Out was his former frizz-prone cut which always seemed to waver between the bouffant and the windswept. In came this shorter, flatter, decidedly trendier style favoured by the likes of the actor George Clooney and (in his seagull phase) Eric Cantona." Other famous Caesar-wearers, according to the breathless prose, are Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker and Noel Gallagher.

Why is Carborundum so interested in the Blair hair? Well, for the simple reason that the most notable wearer of the Caesar in educational circles is The Man Who Inspects Schools For The Queen, dashing Mr Chris Woodhead. Let us finish with the Mail's verdict: "In crimper-speak, we are told, the Caesar is young, exciting, slightly aggressive. It apparently says: 'This is me, this is my hair, take me as I am!'" Gosh. So that's what he's been saying all this time.


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