Facebook? Tweets? iPads? How Absolutely Fatuous, says Joanna Lumley

For many, her forthright views on mobile phones, iPads, social networks and their ilk will come as a breath of fresh air.Joanna Lumley declares technology ‘a waste of life’ and admits she prefers pencil and paper to texting or tweeting.The 65-year-old Absolutely Fabulous star also revealed that she did not even use her mobile phone and kept it ‘switched off at all times’. Traditional: Joanna Lumley declares technology is a waste of life and admits she prefers pencil and paper to texting or tweetingMiss Lumley was adamant that she would not be following in the footsteps of Ab Fab creator Jennifer Saunders, who recently joined Twitter and now has more than 41,000 followers.She said she would never join a social networking site, adding: ‘Never, not Facebook, not anything. I’m returning to writing in pencil on lined paper

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The untold love story of Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi

When I began to research a screenplay about Aung San Suu Kyi four years ago, I wasn’t expecting to uncover one of the great love stories of our time. Yet what emerged was a tale so romantic – and yet so heartbreaking – it sounded more like a pitch for a Hollywood weepie: an exquisitely beautiful but reserved girl from the East meets a handsome and passionate young man from the West.

For Michael Aris the story is a coup de foudre, and he eventually proposes to Suu amid the snow-capped mountains of Bhutan, where he has been employed as tutor to its royal family. For the next 16 years, she becomes his devoted wife and a mother-of-two, until quite by chance she gets caught up in politics on a short trip to Burma, and never comes home. Tragically, after 10 years of campaigning to try to keep his wife safe, Michael dies of cancer without ever being allowed to say goodbye.

I also discovered that the reason no one was aware of this story was because Dr Michael Aris had gone to great lengths to keep Suu’s family out of the public eye. It is only because their sons are now adults – and Michael is dead – that their friends and family feel the time has come to speak openly, and with great pride, about the unsung role he played.

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The Moral of Auntie Sharon

A teacher gave her class of 11 year olds an assignment: To get their parent to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it. The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories.

Ashley said, ‘My father’s a farmer and we have a lot of egg-laying hens.  One time we were taking our eggs to market in a basket on the front seat of the car when we hit a big bump in the road and all the eggs got broken.’

‘What’s the morale of that story?’ asked the teacher.

‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!’

‘Very good,’ said the teacher.

Next little Sarah raised her hand and said, ‘Our family are farmers too.  But we raise chickens for the meat market. One day we had a dozen eggs, but when they hatched we only got ten live chicks, and the moral to this story is, ‘Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched’.’

‘That was a fine story Sarah.’

Michael, do you have a story to share?’

‘Yes. My daddy told me this story about my Aunty Sharon. Aunty Sharon was a flight engineer on a plane in the Gulf War and her plane got hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory and all she had was a bottle of whisky, a machine gun and a machete. She drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn’t break and then she landed right in the middle of 100 enemy troops. She killed seventy of them with the machine gun until she ran out of bullets. Then she killed twenty more with the machete until the blade broke. And then she killed the last ten with her bare hands.’

‘Good heavens,’ said the horrified teacher, ‘what kind of moral did your daddy tell you from that horrible story?’

 ‘Stay the f ….  away from Aunty Sharon when she’s been drinking.’

America sails towards Scylla and Charybdis

The Republican nomination has taken on the character of a somnambulists’ boat trip into raging seas.

After coasting to victory in New Hampshire and his narrow win in Iowa, Mitt Romney is being regarded as having his party’s nomination in the bag. At the same time, however, the attacks on him by Newt Gingrich have drawn such blood that folk are wondering whether, in securing the nomination, Romney will have lost the presidency.

To repeat what I have been saying from the start, there is only one question that matters: can the Republican candidate beat Obama? And if the attacks by Gingrich – reprehensible and disloyal as they may be – are doing Romney such damage at this stage, just imagine what the Democrats will do to him once they get going!

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