IT was a photograph which inspired the imagination – and frustration - of generations of young and not so young men.

There was Marilyn Monroe, the sex symbol of the 1950s, trying desperately to preserve her modesty by stopping her dress being blown over her head by an upward gust of air from a subway grate.

She just about managed it – and thwarted the hopes of millions of males.

They wanted to know just what was underneath that dress, but could never see.

But now they can, thanks to a recreation of the scene in statue form – and it is causing quite a controversy in Chicago where the 27ft high sculpture has been unveiled.

The people who commissioned it thought the work of art would become a talking point, which it has, although for the wrong reason in some folks’ eyes.

The two-dimensional photo is old hat. Now there is the three-dimensional statute which people can walk under – and look up.

What they see – at long last - is a pair of two-metre wide, lace trimmed knickers.

A respected city newspaper woefully noted that tourists were often to be seen “licking Marilyn’s leg, gawking up her skirt, pointing at her giant panties as they leer and laugh.”

One critic described the work as a “giant, silent avatar of non-consent”.

Another complained: “There are whole bachelor parties taking their pictures underneath her.”

But what do you expected from red-blooded American males, finally given the opportunity to realise their dream.

Over in this country, I can’t help but feel sorry for the young men – and women – who are about to embark on their university education.

They get their A level results this morning (Thursday) and may be looking bright-eyed and full of hope for the future as they take up their places in a few weeks time, but further on down the road will come the cold realisation that they are likely to owe more than �26,000 by the time they leave.

Even worse, when higher fees kick in the following year, students starting then can expect to end up owing a whopping �53,000 plus.

I think it is disgraceful that our young people with the ambition and intelligence to achieve something in life are being saddled with such a horrendous amount of debt so early in their lives.

Or is that just the harsh reality of our present day society?

Following on from my mention of ladybirds in last week’s column, some other, more exotic creatures have come to my attention this week.

Among them are crabs with hairy pincers, constantly copulating limpets and skeleton shrimps, not forgetting veined rapa whelks of course.

They are some of the strange sights you may now see lurking on our shoreline if you take yourself off to the seaside.

These alien invaders are arriving in droves, competing for the watery space with our home grown marine dwellers and squeezing them out.

The Marine Conservation Society and the Marine Life Information Network are so concerned that they have joined forces to raise awareness of these visitors from abroad and are urging people to help identify them. I just thought you ought to know.