December 18th, 2006

The Ipswich Murders

They've just arrested a man on suspicion of murdering the five women in Ipswich.

I sense a change in the public mood. Normally there's a kind of collective shrug at the murder of a prostitute. If it makes the news at all it's a case of  "well, what can you expect.?" This case started out that way, but as it's progressed and the number of victims has mounted there's been a rethink. The dead girls have aquired faces and characters, we've heard from parents and siblings and friends and now we're thinking of them as young women first and prostitutes second and the shrug has turned into an awareness that anyone could take that wrong turning and end up where they did. 

At the same time we seem to have opened a proper, national debate about prostitution. We've learned that the government was thinking of licensing properly regulated red-light areas but backed away for fear of the right-wing press. Typical New Labour, that!   But maybe now they'll carry through. We seem to have joined the dots and realised that by not wanting  to deal with the issue we have created conditions that make murder easy.

Britain's Greatest Living Cultural Icon

The Culture Show has been conducting a poll to discover Britain's greatest living cultural icon. The final three were McCartney, Morrissey and Sir David Attenborough. And we're a nation of animal-lovers so Sir David won.

I've never sat down and watched one of his shows. My attitude to animals- wild or otherwise- is let 'em get on with their lives and I'll get on with mine. Human beings interest me, animals don't. 

Except, of course for rabbits. Rabbits interest me hugely. 

These poll-thingies are interesting (I suppose) in what they tell us about ourselves. The final ten contained four musicians- the other two were David Bowie and Kate Bush- but only one actor- Michael Caine. Where were Connery, McKellen and Dench? And there was only one comedian- Stephen Fry- and I was thinking comedy was the new rock and roll. But perhaps that was last year or the year before. Now, it seems, rock and roll is the new comedy.

I was lying in bed last night wondering who my Number One British Cultural Icon would be and  plumped for Matt Lucas- who sealed his iconic status yesterday by entering into a civil partnership with his boyfriend. I think Matt is the finest comic actor/comedian since Peter Sellers.