If music be the food of love, play on, wrote Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. At The Trentham Monkey Forest near Stafford, the Park Director, Mark Lovatt, has hired a Marvin Gaye impersonator, David Largie, to perform some of the singer’s greatest hits inside the Barbary macaque habitat to put the females in the mood for love. Whether they monkeys will say “Let’s Get It On” for some “Sexual Healing”, and increase the monkey population, only time will tell.
Lovatt will be hoping for more success with his choice of music than authorities in New Zealand have had. In an attempt to disperse protestors who are camped outside the Parliament buildings in protest against Covid-19 vaccination mandates, they have bombarded them with Barry Manilow’s greatest hits and Macarena on a loop from one of parliament’s loudspeakers.
While it might have got me scurrying to the hills, the demonstrators are made of sterner stuff. Inevitably, James Blunt got in on the act, giving permission for You’re Beautiful to be blasted out on a loop. Rather than dispersing, the protestors put on their own music and had a party.
You can’t win ‘em all.
Health authorities are resorting to ever more ingenious ways to get their message across to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. In Germany they have turned to sheep and goats.
Around 700 of them were arranged into a shape roughly resembling a 330-foot syringe in a field in Schneverdingen, just south of Hamburg.
Herding sheep is not as difficult as cats but it took several days of practice before shepherdess Wiebke Schmidt-Kochan hit upon a solution to keep them in formation for long enough for the inevitable drone to take the footage. She laid out pieces of bread to represent the syringe and the sheep and goats were happy enough to gobble them when they were let into the field.
Whether it will encourage the metaphorical goats to become sheep, only time will tell.
Perhaps having been on the run for two decades makes you a little blasé but, even so, taking the most basic of precautions still pays dividends. Under current Covid-19 rules in Poland masks are mandatory in all shops, offenders facing the risk of arrest and prosecution.
A 45-year-old man entered a shop in the Bielany district of Warsaw without a mask on. The police were called, and he was arrested. They were surprised, and delighted, to find that he was a convicted murderer who had absconded from prison twenty years ago. He was carted off to prison to serve the rest of his twenty-five-year stretch.
Clearly, wearing a mask protects you as well as others.
One of the traditional images associated with the tale of the birth of Jesus, which, apparently, is what Christmas is all about, is the three wise men congregating around the newly born baby bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In Naples nativity scenes have developed into an art form since the Baroque period and many families have one on display in their homes over the festive season.
The craftsmen who operate along San Gregorio Armeno in the historical centre of Naples are famous for adapting the traditional nativity scenes to reflect the zeitgeist. Last year the figurines wore masks, but this year the three wise men have been provided with Green Passes. The Green Pass is mandatory in Italy for travel on much of the country’s transport system and to gain entry to many cultural and leisure venues and evidence that the bearer has had at least one dose of the vaccine or has tested negative or has recently recovered from the virus.
“As the wise men have travelled a long way following the star”, explained one of the craftsmen, Marco Ferrigno, “it made sense that they displayed a Green Pass complete with QR code”. Indeed.
Reaction to this novel way of getting an important message across has been generally positive.
With Hallowe’en fast approaching (groans all round) a woman in Canada, who wishes only to be identified as Juliana, has come up with an innovative way of decorating her garden to get into the swing of the festival. She has transformed her garden into a graveyard complete with headstones.
Each of the headstones bears a message which mimics some of the comments that have been made by anti-vaxxers, including “Dead. But not a sheep”, “Thought Facebook was a reliable source”, and “Believed it was only the flu”. Inevitably, there is a gravestone for “Aunty Vaxx”, and another which baldly states “My body. My Choice. My Coffin”.
Inevitably, Juliana’s attempt at wit has divided opinion. Still, it makes a change from a carved pumpkin.