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Friday, 18 January, 2002, 17:00 GMT
Amazing tales from Planet Tabloid
News that is out of this world
News that is out of this world
Welcome to our weekly trip to the twilight zone of the news agenda. This week: ancient Egyptian rap lyrics, pork chop sandals and revelations of kangaroo torture perpetrated by professional footballers. But first the news...

This week, as ever, was a right royal week for the tabloids with the problems of Prince Harry competing for space with the country's new aristocracy, Footballers' Wives.

HM Queen
Stunning revelations... honestly
And in the wake of exclusive "behind the scenes" Daily Telegraph articles about the queen's private life, numerous others have followed suit.

Here are just some of the revelations gleaned from reading the Daily Express:

Queen Elizabeth II...

• "is a wife and mother as well as Queen"

• has "spent a lifetime observing royal protocol"

• eats food, and sometimes even has picnics

• felt "anxious" when her son divorced

• will no longer be Queen when she dies

• has never posed for Express owner Richard Desmond's OK! magazine and has no plans to do so.

Drug/alcohol panic of the week

Conclusive proof that the UK continues to go to the dogs is provided by news of an 11-year-old being thrown out of school after openly drinking shandy in the playground.

The shandy crisis flared after first-year secondary school student Kelly Clarke, of Wokingham, took a can of Bass shandy from her lunchbox, the Mirror reports.

Her mother Sindy told the paper: "I was horrified."

Heartless rotters of the week

It might strike some as odd that professional footballers should have the blood of animals of exceptional cuteness on their hands.

But this is the impression given by the Daily Star, which ran the headline:


Protest against legal shooting of kangaroos for skin and meat trade
Protesters left a dead roo outside Parliament House in Sydney
The accused include Liverpool's Michael Owen and Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez - and of course David Beckham, without whom no tabloid football story is complete.

Apparently "barbaric hunters batter young kangaroos or leave them to starve", an atrocity described by a militant vegetarian organisation as "the worst wildlife massacre in history".

Why are footballers implicated? They wear leather football boots, and leather can sometimes be obtained from kangaroo skin. So it all makes perfect sense.

Unfortunate but amusing accident of the week

A Stourport teenager crashed his dad's Mercedes through a window, leaving the front protruding into his mum's 300,000 luxury kitchen.

The scene provided a cartoon-like photo of the car sticking out of the wall of the house, an image which most of the tabloids printed with great glee.

One fire-fighter called to the scene said: "The car just took off when it hit the kerb and piled through the kitchen window." Nobody was injured. And there was no fire.

And in meat-related news...

A man in Sydney is suing a pub for 269,511 after he slipped on pig fat while playing pool, fell over and broke his arm.

The slippery patch dated from three years prior to the accident, when a man had walked past the pool table wearing pork chops on his feet, leaving a trail of grease behind him.

He had won a meat pack in a pub competition and, by way of celebration, had fashioned the chops into sandals.

"If you handle pork chops they become greasy and it is our position that the pork fat from the chops became strewn across the floor and made it inherently dangerous," says the injured man's lawyer.

The case continues.

Rapping through the years

Archaeologists have discovered rap lyrics inscribed in hieroglyphic form in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

Rap like an Egyptian
The lyrics are 3,500-year-old and are the "primitive precursors of the works of contemporary artists like Puff Daddy and Eminem," according to the US supermarket tabloid The Weekly World News.

Also found was a fossil of a conical reed that ancient rappers may have used to amplify their voices.

One of the raps is entitled "Gonna Mummify Your Butt" and according to Milanese Egyptologists includes the lines:

"You decomposin' and I'm tryin' to push your pose in/ so I pray to Isis in this crisis/ gonna mummify your behind."

But wait, there's more

And now to the even more ludicrous world of PLANET LIFESTYLE - our look at the style and "Living" sections of the broadsheets.

Graham Norton in diamond
Ladies, think this...
Lisa Armstrong (aka "fashion writer of the year") of The Times says diamonds are "the new basics".

Most women are wearing diamonds every day now, and somehow this is a direct result of the attacks of 11 September. This is because diamonds are now cheaper, with prices as low as just 10,500 for a must-have diamond and pearl choker.

Accessories with such eye-watering price tags should not be worn with just any old twin set. The key this season is to emulate Graham Norton in his diamond-encrusted jock strap, she says, as opposed to Grace Kelly's more demure look.

Grace Kelly
... rather than this
While you are at it, you can vastly improve your fashionableness ipso facto by taking Ms Armstrong's advice to "throw away any clothes you have which are unfashionable".

Lastly, the journal of record thunders that we are in a "transitional fashion trough - it's official".

How can this be? Surely diamond encrusted jockstraps are forever.

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