6th February 2009 at 00:00

Full steam ahead

With funding for new buildings at colleges resembling a disaster area, FErret has to congratulate our friends in Northern Ireland, who are pressing ahead with a new campus for Belfast Metropolitan College.

It will be part of Europe's largest riverside development, with 1,000 flats, a hotel and a "multimedia hub", all due to open in 2012.

The development's name? The Titanic Quarter. "If you think of the value of the brand name Titanic, it's enormous," said Mike Smith, chief executive of the project, based on the slipway where the world's most famous doomed enterprise was launched.

He's right: if anything can inspire confidence in uncertain times, it is surely a reminder of Leonardo di Caprio dying in freezing water. Excellent work.

In pole position .

A thousand teenagers with phone cameras, a scantily-clad woman and a pole: what could go wrong?

Such must have been the thoughts of the decision-makers at South Devon College before they were embarrassed across the international media for allowing a lunch-time pole dancing - sorry, "pole fitness" - demonstration.

Staff complained that students spent the afternoon giggling over their footage rather than paying attention to lessons. Astonishing.

Actually, the fuss is a bit excessive when you consider that colleges have been hosting pole-dancing classes for at least four years, when New College in Swindon caused a brief flutter of excitement in the tabloid press.

The pole dancer in this case is a picture of injured innocence, complaining that lap dancing clubs have sullied the pastime of hanging on a pole in a bikini.

FErret's research is a bit sketchy, but it seems pole dancing is about fitness in the same way that men read Playboy for the interviews.

The dance teacher is not quite so naive when it comes to publicity, however, having ensured a supply of photos for the waiting media.

FErret wishes her luck with her classes, now famous as far away as Cleveland, USA. It's a shame we don't have space for her name.

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