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London Tonight Tonight Monday 2nd March 2009

Good afternoon.

The Oz is tired but is still sticking to her impressive Lent resolution to single-handedly collapse the economy of the Great State of Virginia. She wondered if not smoking made her tired and I ventured, au contraire, it might make her more lively: more oxygen would now be surging towards her muscles and her neurons. She glazed over. I have that effect, sometimes, when I attempt to be knowledgeable.

Phil wonders if those who had first sight of the report into how London coped with last month's cold spell gave the same reaction. It concluded in a way that would surely earn a PhD from the University of the Bleeding Obvious, that we hadn't coped too well. But the bit that really is interesting is the bit which deals with the Emergency Services, especially London's splendid Ambulance Service. They reported evidence of an inability to organise a Bacchanalian excess in a beer factory. They also say more buck was passed, or bucks were passed, than at the annual convention of "The Not Me Guv - Wasn't My Fault Society". And what they heard when they asked local Councils to clear the snow so that they might save lives, will tempt you to tear up your Council Tax demand when it drops on your doorstep. I am not inciting law-breaking but rather offering what might prove to be a reasonable defence if you took such extreme action having been kept waiting for an ambulance last month.

No delay in the ambulance taking Jade Goody from her hospice to hospital and then on to yet another hospital. Jade has a lot of supporters and publicity but she hasn't got a lot of time. Her new husband may get a little "time", at her Majesty's pleasure, if he is convicted on a charge of assault. If acquitted, of course, he won't. Marcus keeps an eye on her prospects for you, and his.

Working about as well as our anti-winter-weather public services, has been the system for vetting people who want to work with children. The vast majority of them - teachers, care-workers and sports centre types - are absolutely fine. But because it is kids we need to be doubly careful, don't we? So when a German on the run from the sex crime police in Cambodia shows up at Northwick Park Hospital, looking to work on the kiddies' ward, you'd have hoped the checks were meticulous. They were, and yet he slipped through the net. Glen exposes a fundamental flaw in the system which we hope will never be repeated but we are not holding our breath.

Nor is Kirstie holding her's for a recovery in property prices, but she assesses how many swallow-like splurges of extra lending might make a housing market spring.

Man U beat Spurs in the Carling Cup which is sad if you are a Spurs fan and predictable if you are a "Red". No goals in 120 minutes ((45 x 2) + (15 x 2) I'm told by the Oz and Dishy Dan, who says he's more of a rugby boy)) so the drama that is The Penalty Shoot-Out unfolded before expectant eyes. The Man U goalie reached for his I-Pod. Not, I am told, to while away the moments whilst the Spurs man did his best; nor to seek the calming influence of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"; nor even to enjoy the ecstatic stimulant that is The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World's "Start Me Up!"
Lewis, also a bit more of an oblong sphere merchant, truth to tell, reveals all. Well not all, though the rating boost would be welcome! He EXPLAINS all including why the FA couldn't care less...

We meet a woman who sailed both ways round the world. Both ways? Clothed and unclothed? Ah! East and West. She might have saved someone en route but that is a little unclear, as must have been her second journey as she thought "Haven't I been here before .... but going the other way?"

Lucy meets Jennifer Aniston at the stomping ground of her life that is The Red Carpet. "Marley and Me" seems to be the title but I am not sure if that is grouting, glaze and Marley Tiles or "No woman, No Cry" Bob Marley. I'll certainly be tuned in.
The Oz is looking at clips of it, right now, but is yet to laugh. Probably not a comedy then; or, if it is, perhaps not a very good one.
"It looks funny", she suddenly says. "It's got a dog in it", she adds. Not what I would call a boost on the way to the Oscars but we'll see and you can be the judges.

Chrissie judges a fair forecast and the papers - getting thinner it seems to me - will do their best to compete for your fleeting attentions.

Faye thinks the best story of the day is the claim by Heston Blumenthal - (second name, family; first name, a nod to the Services on the M4 - HONEST! ) - that the food poisoning at his top-rated gaff in Bray was sabotage. We joked about "Spike" Rhodes and "Foul Mouth" Ramsey helping the fuzz with their enquiries but it sort of faded.... like Faye's elegant jeans. I think the fashionistas call it "distressed" which is what The Big Boss will be if I don't finish, publish and be damned.

So I will.

See you at 6

Alastair and Alex