* One of the canapé fashions in London this year is post-modern fish and chips: a few long thin potato fries arranged around a goujon of cod, and perhaps a couple of whitebait, in a cone of newspaper about the size of a large ice cream cone. Last night, at a party given by a very rich woman, these were served, with two notable twists: the napkins accompanying them were ironed linen, not paper and the paper they came wrapped in was the _Wall Street Journal._
* Something else I learned then. If you have enough money, it is possible to redo the floor of your London house so that it smells, faintly, but distinctly, of the pine dust of Swedish manor house.
* An encounter with another _Guardian_ writer: “I remember you. You’re the man who says I’m a ghastly woman who writes ghastly things about people.” The other woman present mutters something to the effect of QED. I say — truthfully — that I had never used the word ghastly, and would not. I had said, to her face, that she wrote cruel things. “I’ve been watching your shoes all evening. They’re so clever!” says the third party. The conversation moves into happier regions.
* Brooding over a curious smothered scandal which bubbled up, or at least appeared in the _Daily Mail,_ while I was away: one of Cardinal Murphy O’Connor’s advisers was accused of procuring an abortion for his then girlfiend in 1989. I remembered a lunch I had with him earlier this year: a very clever, rather attractive man who had spent a good ten minutes trying to persuade me that eventually the whole world would come round to the belief that the unborn foetus was a fully human being. “Come off it”, I said, citing miscarriage statistics. If we really thought that the foetus was equivalent to a human being, we would be prostrated with grief every time a woman had a miscarriage. He pooh-poohed this. It must have been at about that time that another of his discarded mistresses was miscarrying twins, if I have read the _Mail_ story right.
* Apparently, in Swedish law, it is not a crime to bit torrent American films, though films made in the EU, music, and computer programs are all protected by copyright law. But Swedish law does not recognise that films can be worked on under work for hire, so, in the absence of a specific assignation of rights to the producer, the copyright is shared between the director, the photographer, and even the writer. Therefore, the prosecutor who wrote “this opinion”:http://www.svt.se/content/1/c6/61/24/40/piratebay_aklagarpm.pdf (and who later busted the Pirate Bay site) does not feel he can respond to complaints about file sharing from American film companies.
* “Two”:http://www.tankafritt.nu/ “companies”:http://www.delaut.se/ or at least web sites have been set up in Sweden purporting to insure bit torrent users against law suits. Pay them a premium, and they say they will pay your fines. Dear valued Bit torrent user …
* Last year there were 987 road accidents involving wild boar reported in Sweden.