September and October

Peter Mandelson’s yoghurt

From Mandelson: The Real PM? (2010):

Sam Wollaston, the Guardian:

It’s the yoghurt pot moment that stands out in Storyville: Mandelson – The Real PM? (BBC4). Peter Mandelson has finished his yoghurt, after spilling a spot on his tie (“how annoying”), now he wants rid of the empty pot and the spoon. So he holds it up until someone called Marie takes it from him. He’s not handing it to her, there’s no “would you mind?”. Both would be too much effort on his part. He simply holds it up in the air, like Julius Caesar. And then when she takes it, he gives her a withering lizardy look as well. Poor Marie, she probably thought she was getting into politics, but it’s turning out to be more about yoghurt pot removal. She’s going to have to run the spoon under the tap too, to rinse away any residue of Mandy-lick. Does he have a forked tongue I wonder – is that what caused the spillage?

Rachel Cooke, the New Statesman:

I could watch him eat yoghurt all day; a stoat devours a field mouse with less menace.

Michael Hogan, the Telegraph:

[Mark] Gatiss mimes Mandelson spooning yogurt into his mouth. “There’s this lovely old clip where he’s eating a yogurt and drops a bit on his tie. He looks down at it and says, ‘Oh,’ holding out the yogurt pot with a monarch’s expectation, just knowing someone will appear to take it. Such a fascinating character.”

(Gatiss mentions it again in an interview in the Independent.)

What is it about Mandelson and yoghurt? There is another story, from 2008, which the Daily Mail has. A bit like what John Selwyn Gummer’s daughter did with some beef, Mandelson “gulped a glass of Chinese yoghurt” to show confidence in Chinese dairy products after a food safety incident. “I shall continue drinking my favourite milk product, which I enjoy and which does not make me nervous.” Ten days later, Mandelson just so happened to become poorly with kidney stones, which might or might not have been caused by his lactose-based stunt.



From ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ (1999)

You may read in bed for ten minutes. No longer.

Oh, and if you need to use the convenience, remember… it isn’t shameful for a young man to sit. It’s quieter that way.

I’ll try to keep that in mind.

Sound advice. (Like the difference between a dish-cloth and a tea-cloth, something I’d dimly remembered for years but wasn’t sure of the source of, might even have thought I’d entirely imagined, if it wasn’t for one of those legally dubious online subtitle repositories – so hooray for them.)

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