A cyclist passes by a graffiti mural showing a slap-in-the-face scene that took place at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony, sprayed on a wall at Mauerpark public park in Berlin. | CLEMENS BILAN

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As someone who hasn’t tuned into a TV for many years, I rarely get a glimpse of the Oscars although I admit to skim reading online news about the award winners the next day. The ratings for the Academy Awards have been plummeting year-on-year and is it surprising? It’s now a ghastly wokedom luvvie loves luvvie, hand-wringing fest that is way above the pay grade for most of us in the poor seats.

This is an event for society’s most out of touch, spoilt, privileged, self-obsessed and uber-rich mostly-American A-lister folk, who pitch up in revoltingly expensive attire to preach to us all about values and pat each other on the back. Pass the sickbag, Ethel.

All the same, it’s quite fun to pick holes (figuratively speaking) in some of the hideous outfits and gasp at the stick-thin women so botoxed that their foreheads are as firm, smooth and shiny as the tables they pick a lettuce leaf at. Ah, how fab is the simple life, eh?

As usual I wouldn’t really have known whether the Oscars had even taken place or not this year but stone the crows if there wasn’t a bit of real, non-fictionalised action. I can’t say I enjoyed watching comedian Chris Rock (who’s he?) being slapped by belligerent actor, Will Smith, but it certainly made the event a bit more dynamic and authentic. I did enjoy watching Smith in Men in Black eons ago and I rate him as a comedy, gotta-love-him kinda guy but whoa, that unscripted slap was wild.

Of course, luckily it wasn’t a race issue (mercifully, the zip-lipped elephant in the room was kept at bay). Here we had two people of colour engaging in an altercation. If it had been white on black, in the light of Black Lives Matter, it could have been a whole lot worse.
Still, however entertaining Smith is as an actor he was totally out of order and deserved a stripping down. True, Rock made a crass joke at the expense of the actor’s wife, Jaden Pinkett Smith, who he teased for having a bald head when she happens to suffer from alopecia but people are stupid and cruel. You can’t throw a punch at everyone who piddles you off, even if your inner demon is hissing at you to do so. Worst was that Smith won best actor award. How very awkward for the organisers.

The jury is still out as to whether Smith will be denied the Oscar. Either way, he will apparently face tough sanctions such as having to be tickled by French hamsters, eat lettuce leaves blindfolded or wear a bin liner to next year’s event. He must be quaking. As we emerge from Covid-19 into a potential third world war, it’s wonderful that we have Hollywood to bring perspective for us all.

Shaggy Dog story

There I was on a wet afternoon in Soller, walking down an alleyway, laden with shopping bags, when a Boxer dog came charging at me. At first I thought it was going to attack but it was just young and boisterous and desperate to see what I had in my bags. It playfully leapt up at me and followed me on my journey. In desperation, I tried giving it the slip but it stuck fast. We arrived at my rural road and a few cars shimmied along in the drizzle. To my horror, my companion began trying to throw itself onto their bonnets. A few drivers yelled at me from their windows, telling me to take control of my pet so I shouted back that it wasn’t mine. A few shrugged and offered sympathetic smiles but drove on.

Thankfully, a nearby Mallorcan neighbour waved to me and asked why a Boxer was with me so I explained the whole saga. She said that it must have got loose or was abandoned so tried calling a friend to find out if her Boxer was missing. Meanwhile, more drivers were screeching to a halt as the kamikaze dog jumped about the road. Without a collar, the dog couldn’t be controlled and I feared for its life. However, a kind woman stopped her car and offered to help. Between us we got the Boxer into her boot and she promised to go straight to the police station. It turned out we were aware of one another on Facebook. Meanwhile, I took images and agreed to put up an FB post as soon as I got home to try to trace the owner.

Within three minutes of posting the pics, I had success. A telephone number was offered and I spoke with the British owner who was over the moon to know that the family’s beloved pet was safe. It had escaped from the garage. I cannot express the happiness I felt to know that young Mili was safe and had a happy home.

The good news is that I have two lovely new FB friends as a consequence. Most important of all is to know that when the world goes pear-shaped, nothing can beat the power of local community.

Whatever the weather

After two weeks of dreary weather and torrential rain, what joy it was to see sunshine on Friday afternoon. It was short-lived but when friends in France and the UK began sending me pictures of falling snow, I realised that things weren’t so bad. The optimists say that from Monday, the sun will be shining full blast. All I can say is that I hope they’re right!

Anna Nicholas’s second Mallorca based crime novel, Haunted Magpie, is available from Come In & Llibres Colom in Palma, and at Alameda gift shop in Soller, also at all good UK bookshops & via amazon.