The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Musical mushrooms

Istanbul, Feb 8 (AFP): He cares for his mushrooms “like his own children.” And, serenaded with music in their mosque basement locale, the mushrooms return the favour by exploding in size.

Nihat Mihci, an ice-cream maker in the central Turkish region of Kayseri who turned to cultivating white mushrooms during the economic crisis, has created edible monsters. Giant spores, some reaching 700 grams each, grow in the basement of the mosque, where “the humidity is perfect, the temperature is stable and sickness is rare,” according to Mihci. But the secret, said, was in his loving details. “If my mushrooms grow so big, it’s because they listen constantly to Arabesque music I love.”

Neighbouring mushrooms deprived of the music and mosque cannot come close to Mihci’s mammoth crop, which on average weigh in at a pound and can be 30 cm in diameter and 15 cm high. “And what’s more, they’re delicious!” the proud farmer said, explaining that he raises more than four tonnes of mushrooms every 45 days. Mihci prefers them “roasted, with eggs and vegetables”, he said.

Gay store

New York (AFP): New York’s Oscar Wilde bookshop, widely acknowledged as the world’s oldest gay and lesbian bookstore, has won a last-minute reprieve from closure after six years in the red, its new owner has said. Originally scheduled to shut down at the end of January, the tiny shop in Greenwich Village has been taken over by the Washington-based Lambda Rising Bookstores, which operates four gay and lesbian bookshops in the US. “Oscar Wilde was the world’s first gay and lesbian bookstore and, as such, holds a special place in our community’s history and in our hearts,” said Lambda owner Deacon MacCubbin on Friday. MacCubbin said he was confident he could pare the losses to a manageable level, but added that the local gay community would have to shoulder some responsibility for keeping the shop open.

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