To remind denizens of the French capital that they are only a short train ride from Britain, Eurostar has a witty poster campaign in Paris.
One ad shows grinning men in turbans in an Indian restaurant and declares that "Bombay" is only three hours from Paris. Beneath a pair of ring- and razor-blade-adorned punks, another says that the "biggest hardware store" in the world (in other words, London) is only three hours away. The third poster shows a typically bluff, late-middle-aged Englishman in a pin-striped suit, with an ugly yellow and black tie slightly askew. The caption is: "Pour un bon roastbeef, comptez trois heures." (For a good roast beef, it takes three hours).
Les roastbeefs, or, more usually, les rosbifs, is what the French call us, in the way that we call them frogs. But to display such a poster in Paris en plein beef war amounts to treachery. One possible reading of the caption is that you have to travel three hours from Paris to eat good roast beef.
Prince and the paper
Why was this news kept from us? When the Queen met India's Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, at the Commonwealth summit recently, she expressed her sorrow at the cyclone deaths in Orissa, only for the Duke of Edinburgh to leap in and say that "the Indian authorities should not be too worried about the deaths of a few thousand in a nation groaning under the weight of a population of one billion plus".
It sounded all too plausible, but somehow only The Hindu, India's most serious daily paper, ran the story. …