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Tin Pan Alley

The overture reaches a tinny crescendo by the time someone picks up the phone. Right in the middle of the love scene you hear "I’m in the cinema" One of life’s annoying little things that the French are determined to ban


No signal

Culture is written with a big "C" in France. And the idea that someone might disturb the peace in a cinema has the Cultural brigade up in arms.

What they are now planning to do about it enjoys widespread popular support in the land of fine food and haute couture.

It sounds a bit like a military operation. And they’re moving in a sizeable piece of hardware for the job.

A scrambling device will block out the signal. No more WilliamTell ringing tones ruining the love scene.

EU blessing

The French are moving in on such tasteless philistines with the backing of a new European Union law.

Because of technical and legal problems, it will not come into force until the summer.

According to a poll, 85 percent of the French are in favour of the new legislation. And 84 percent of French mobile phone owners are not too bothered either.

There are 37 million mobile phone users in France, more than there are people using land lines.