Article excerpt

With the silly season comes the silly survey. Topping this week's inanity chart is a stop-the-presses revelation from AA Insurance that people who live in suburban roads called Acacia Avenue tend to think and act exactly as you'd imagine that people who live in suburban roads called Acacia Avenue would. Well, let's take a strimmer to that stereotype. I bring you exciting news about liberated, bohemian Acacia dwellers - though it was a Road and not an Avenue. In the 1910s that literary god of lurrve, D H Lawrence himself, used to stay in London at a house in Acacia Road, St John's Wood, northwest London, then occupied by his friend SS Koteliansky. The Ukrainian-born "Kot" later helped DHL in the clandestine distribution of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Forget the gnomes: that scent of acacia in your address can be a stimulant and not a soporific.

On the other hand... Henry Cass's 1945 film 29 Acacia Avenue - the source of the original clich - saw the debut of a 21-year-old actress who would later star in a soap that did more for the British late-afternoon nap than an ocean of branded milky drinks. Yes, 29 Acacia Avenue launched the career of none other than Noele Gordon: Meg Richardson in Crossroads.

During the smart New Statesman summer party at Tate Britain (with champagne all the way for the champagne socialists), the editor John Kampfner announced that the magazine's revamp has boosted sales by more than 20 per cent. Now, I'm all in favour of the NS fuelling its circulation with good writing and design, not least because - when I worked there - it once tried a rather tackier attention-grabbing tactic. …