It's reigning cats and dogs

25th September 1998 at 01:00
AS THE world is mesmerised - or bored - by the latest Clinton revelations which, not least, add to our vocabulary ("inappropriate" will never be the same again) the country's thickest man is revealed.

Poor old Gazza. The ace footballer was streets ahead in a magazine poll to find the country's top brainboxes and dunces. One in three voted him least intelligent.

But football pundits don't fare much better in Peter Ayton's books. His research revealed that those pontificating on telly only perpetuate myths: a goal scored just before half time, it seems, does not pack a psychological punch. Dr Ayton of the City University examined 355 games and showed that the result bore no relation to when the first goal was scored.

Lourdes Ciccone, however, is more likely to play lacrosse - as befits a pupil at Cheltenham Ladies College. Madonna, the multi-millionaire pop singer, has put her two-year-old daughter's name down for the Gloucestershire public school, synonymous with gentility, respectability and discipline. Not so Cool Britannia.

That unfortunate epithet is all hype and no substance anyway, according to a study by the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing in Illinois. The British appear to be less talented and creative than the French, Spanish and Americans. France emerged as the country most capable of producing world-class creative achievement.

Meanwhile, the work of two deceased creative geniuses has been resurrected. The magical world of CS Lewis, author of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, has inspired a Pounds 3.5 million laser-dance spectacular to celebrate the centenary of his birth in November. While Hollywood's Universal Pictures has acquired the film rights to two of Dr Seuss's stories - but not The Cat in the Hat.

When is a cat not a cat? When it's a Jack Russell terrier at Queen's College, Cambridge. Two-year-old Sprite has been officially appointed College Cat because a 400-year-old law bans dogs. The dog's view on becoming an honorary cat have not been noted. Barking mad.

The ancient Brits in the south were apparently fed up with being biffed about by rough northerners, according to Martin Henig from Oxford's Archaeology Institute. He reckons that the weedy southerners welcomed the Romans with open arms as they liberated them from enslavement of the north. Agricola's historian Tacitus invented the battles fought between the Romans and the Celts to glorify his master's name. Boadicea was in any case not a British nationalist, says Martin Henig. "She murdered so many Britons it is better to see her in the light of someone like Pol Pot."

Talking of tyrants, (well, not really), our man who inspects schools for the Queen, came in for some unaccustomed approbation from a gentleman in Harrogate - the Tunbridge Wells of the North - who told the Daily Telegraph that Mr Woodhead was a priceless asset whose salary should be doubled. Not a teacher, presumably.

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