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Why my article was spiked

Further to Ernie Mendoza's account of a situationer about female genital mutilation being spiked by Features which found the subject obscene, I had the same experience in the early 1970s when I submitted a feature about controversy over an avant-garde Paris university.

Université Paris VIII, then at Vincennes on the edge of the French capital, was constantly in the news because of the experiments and off-beat activities carried out there by all sorts of bohemians and ultra-leftists who wished to carry on the May 1968 French students' revolt.

My feature led on the row between the education ministry, the press and the university over a class which - this is absolutely true - experimented in… armpit smelling!

The features editor in London sent me a somewhat indignant note saying that Reuters would not publish my article because it was “prurient”.

I admit it sounded a bit risqué then, but it was a funny story, though the features editor was not amused. ■