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Donkin's World: Mask Fever

Richard Donkin reports an increased demand for masks following the arrival of swine flu.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

My wife says there has been strong demand in her local pharmacy for surgical masks among people afraid of contracting swine flu.

I can see the surgical mask becoming this year's "must have" fashion accessory. Someone somewhere stands to make an awful lot of money making customised masks for those who wouldn't been seen dead in white or pale blue.

No, if we are to be seen dead in our masks we might think of going out in style with something a little more original. Some will want slogans on their masks. How about a Bluebottle mask in memory of the Goon Show, with the immortal line: "You rotten swine, you deaded me."

Masks will come in very handy for thieves who want to hide their identities from CCTV cameras.

Those who sell scarves to football crowds could make a killing (or save one) by supplying masks in team colours. We could see a revival in football crowd violence as gangs of mask-wearing hooligans happily kick nine bells out of each other undetected by police cameras.

There will be job opportunities too. Now anyone can become a ventriloquist.

I expect those in the House of Lords will want velvet face masks and the catwalks will have masks designed by Versace. The police will love them in black for crowd control as long as they don't display any identification numbers.

But there is a problem. How will we possibly identify the surgeon in an operating theatre now that anyone can wear a mask?


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