Cries & whispers

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Indy Lifestyle Online
These days the star doesn't even have to turn up for an event to be a wild success. When Quentin Tarantino was over here to sign copies of his Faber film scripts up and down the land, the superhip director cried off at the last minute, plunging the stood-up bookshops into despair. The signings had already been publicised, and one paper rashly reported that hundreds of fans mobbed the director at every shop. Dude never even showed! The story of the non-existent supertour grew and grew. Meanwhile, Quentin wanted a free day in London, and asked his PRs to say he'd gone back to LA the day before. One politely sceptical bookshop manager rang up to check Quent's exact wheareabouts. Um, why d'you ask? "Because he's just been spotted browsing in my shop," came the testy reply.

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings ... There's an ugly trend of making child actors eff and blind in the movies. Heather Matarazzo, the pre-teen protagonist of Welcome to the Dollhouse, even has to blurt the naughty C-word. But there's an even worse example in Tom Cruise's forthcoming Jerry Maguire. The hero falls for a single mom and her son, who is all of three years old. At one point, the cute poppet lisps, big-eyed: "You said 'fuck'!" I know squeaky-clean Tom is trying for a tougher image nowadays, but exploiting the innocence of a toddler for a cheap laugh is a tacky way to do it ...

"Any chance of giving my latest poetry/ art booklet a plug?" All right then, Lord Biro of Nottingham, though I do hope you've checked the use of the name with its owners. Wouldn't it be safer to call yourself Lord Roller-Ball Writing Implement? LB has strong views about modern art: his "Shears in Hirst" calls Damien "a creative nit / I do not rate". Gormley's Angel of the North is dubbed "Albatross Tatlock". Derek Jarman's Blue "always reminded me of Daz or was it Omo". I think their reputations will survive this critical savaging. "Stuff Hirst" costs pounds 1 (0115 960 8829).

I have never heard of The End, a post-industrial boite de nuit just off New Oxford St, but my cabbie knows all about it. This is the London launch - with "rave readings" - of Disco Biscuits, a book of short stories celebrating 10 years of acid house. Inside, it's frighteningly cool, with DJs galore and bar staff who only respond to brand names and affect not to recognise the universal monosyllable "beer". It's "Staropramen" to you. A striking Liverpool docker called Freddy delivers a long, passionate speech which is like, ooh, reality-check time! Then author Nicholas Blincoe raps about jelly, sex and cripples, novelist Jeff Noon perspires plumply in his red shirt and a gyrating poetess called Sophie provides a break from the relentless laddishness. Irvine Welsh is by far the most popular reader, probably because he shuts up after two minutes. The Disco Biscuits roadshow will move to Brum on 1 March, venue: Athletico @ The Sanctuary.

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