Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

A Stranger's London

His life worth only £6,000

The life of farm labourer's son Nigel Swain was valued at just over £6,100 by a judge last week. Judge Martin Tucker, QC, said that the 14-year-old Nigel's life-style was quite different from that of a wealthy "Horay Henry". Any damages over his death had to reflect his social position and expectations, the Judge said at Winchester Crown Court.

The judge argued that if he had been the son of a wealthy man who "enjoyed the estates, gardens and swimming pool with the use of the family car and free access to the decanter" his life would have been worth more.

But Nigel Swain who was killed by falling electricity power cables was probably a youngster "living in a back bedroom of his parents' tied cottage and spends a good deal of the cash he earns in public houses, discos, record shops or motor discount stores."

The damages were assessed on the pocket money he was likely to have had by the age of 30. The judge said he was assuming that Nigel would have had a manual job and married in his mid-20s.

A Daily Mirror comment on the case described the judgement as fatuous, outrageous and the attitude, nonsensical.

Sunday shopping

All shops should be allowed to open on Sundays. . because most families would rather visit stores than go to church, a government inquiry has recommended.

It said that all shops should be allowed to open and close when they like.

The committee behind the report said the traditional Sunday of church and family gathering at home had long gone.

Sunday was now the only day when many families could get together in a leisurely and relaxed way to go shopping.

The committee also agreed that an "Open all hours policy" could accelerate the closure of small shops.

At the blink of an eye

The Television experts have been doing a bit of research into the style, the skills and the nervous control mechanisms of some of Britain's leading public figures. "I select one random item which I find quite fascinating" wrote Geoffrey Goodman, - Mirror Group survey. Industrial Editor, "it is the blink rate. This is the number of times a public figure will blink while talking into the cameras. And the man with the lowest blink rate while making a speech? Tony Benn."

Abdul's payout

Out-of-work waiter, Abdul Bari, who picks up a massive £476.30 a week in state hand-outs is a deliberate sponger says council investigators (News of the World).

They claim he left a perfectly good home in Belgium and brought his wife and five children to London just to live off welfare.

After probing the Baris, Westminster City Council cut off their cash. But then, 'the Department of Health and Social Security stepped in to pick the bill.

And, as the News of the World revealed recently Bari's dole payments now add up to a staggering £24,767 a year more than Maggie Thatcher's take home pay.

Aids toll doubles

Health Chiefs are drawing up massive battle plans in a bid to stem the deadly tide of the sex disease AIDS.

Doctors predict 400 cases of the Gay Plague in Britain by the end of 1985 - and the snow-balling toll doubles every six months. The nation-wide total of last February of 37 cases with 20 deaths has now shot up to 90 confirmed cases with 38 deaths. The cause and cure of AIDS are still a mystery. But the disease has already spread outside the gay community through blood transfusions.

Where Sunday is sin day

Sunday is a sin day for fun-loving Londoners. They spend all day in bed kissing and cuddling according to a survey.

Some couples under 35 admitted that they always make mad, passionate love on a Sunday - but not with their married partner.

The hottest place in town is Islington. But the biggest treat of the day for half of the 2000 people interviewed by Capital Radio was breakfast and reading the papers.

The Gauche Ghanaians

Australian diplomats posted to Ghana are presumably advised against giving formal dinners to Ghanaians. The in- sight came out in a batch of 'post reports' written by Australian diplomats to guide their successors which has just been released under Australia's Freedom of Information Act.

Incumbents of the Accra High Commission were warned that "oral subtleties such as irony should be avoided until confident of the level of sophistication of even highly educated Ghanaians".

There was no indication about what social gaffes had been committed by which Ghanaian guests of Australian diplomats which led to the warning. Lagos, the Nigerian capital was described in the report as "large, dirty, unattractive and unhealthy".

The 'Times' diarist made the disclosures.

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