August is a wicked month, as one lady novelist astutely observed.

Whether she had the NHS in mind is another question. But this month Monitor Towers is overflowing with filth and smut. And under strict instructions from that nice Mr Milburn and his pal Tony, Monitor is charged with giving this place a good scrubbing. Which means that the young person's Good Grope Guide , part of the indecisively titled Say No, Say Yes, Say Maybe from those sex maniacs at Brook Publications, won't be getting a read. Still, who could resist a quick shufty? Not those enthusiastically religious bods at Life, who went straight to Scotland Yard's obscene publications unit in an attempt to spoil the fun. Coppers around London are now carefully considering the publication: we can only hope that the wider population benefits from any skills they pick up en route .

The book, aimed at weenie babes of 14 and 15 years old, gives advice about sexual positions and foreplay. What could they mean? Years of experience have taught Monitor that the combination of a cheeky Bordeaux and a raised eyebrow are more than any young lady can resist.

Nonetheless, Life trustee Nuala Scarisbrick reckons the book is 'an utterly disgraceful publication which any decent person would immediately recognise as likely to deprave and corrupt'. Ms Scarisbrick makes no further comment as to what action a decent person might take upon recognising the guide's potential. Meanwhile, Valerie Riches, founder and president of Family and Youth Concern, suggests that the guide 'treats teenagers like alleycats'. That might be just the way they like it, recalls a nostalgic Monitor.

Meanwhile, it's always fun to laugh at blunders made by other people, and the Sunday Times was home to a particularly dainty correction earlier this month. So here it is in full: 'In our article about NHS reforms last week we ran a picture of a nurse pouring from a bottle of medicine under the headline 'The medicine that never works'. We wish to make it clear that it was never our intention to suggest there was anything wrong with the medicine in the bottle (manufactured by Napp Pharmaceuticals), rather that the headline referred only to the subject of the article, NHS reforms. Our apologies to Napp for any confusion.'


It's grim up north, ponders Monitor, in slight despair at the news that Oldham trust decided that one of its 93-year-old patients was best 'dumped like a parcel' as his wife was out. The Daily Mail reports that Roger Carter - scantily clad in pyjamas and slippers - was discharged from hospital despite telling staff there would be no-one at home to meet him. His wife Lilian says she told hospital staff that his daughter would be picking the elderly gent up. But poor Roger was bundled into an ambulance which brought him home, and upon finding it empty left a note on his door which read: 'Mrs Carter. The ambulance came with your husband but nobody was in so he is staying at Harvey's round the corner.'

Speaking of blunders, those of you working in what will soon become red-light hospitals could cheat your way to the top of the league tables with the help of a Japanese 'cover-up guide'. Last week news emerged that government hospitals in Tokyo are referring to a guide which urges doctors to push relatives to approve early post-mortems 'unless it is absolutely clear that the death resulted from a blunder'. The 1990 guide also recommends separate desks for staff and patients to prevent patients seeing official documents and warns staff not to apologise or express personal views, according to the Mainichi Daily News , which says the policy will now be revised.

Occasionally, Monitor shrugs off his cynical overcoat and runs out into the sunshine. And so it was when a press release promised a rash of family picnics to celebrate the August bank holiday. Yet what's this? Put down that diet cola, kids, for the events are a chance to 'pledge to picnic additive-free' and are hosted by the 'Additives Survivors Network' - led by the fantastically named Betty Martini. We are all survivors, muses Monitor, who wonders where minor aspartame use sits on the scale between child abuse and exposure to major war crimes.

And finally: it's a while since Monitor offered you lucky readers the chance to take a nosey at the phenomenon known as the look-alike.

The defection of millionaire businessman and huntsman Ivan Massow to Labour once he spotted that the Conservative Party is a bit on the Tory side brought on an idea (see left`). Who can guess at the political inclinations of one Matt Tee, director of communications for the Commission for Health Improvement - but can you tell him apart from the former Tory mayoral candidate?