Diary: A wacko tribute to Jacko
Thursday 17 March 2011
Mohamed Al Fayed, chairman of Fulham FC, is to unveil a new commemorative statue at the Craven Cottage stadium. Said statue will join the existing memorial to "Cottagers" legend Johnny Haynes at a club which also features Bobby Moore, George Best and Alan Mullery among its alumni. And no, before you ask: the latest hero to be honoured like Haynes is not Roy Hodgson. It's, erm... Michael Jackson. Mr Fayed, his club's website dutifully reports, will unveil the statue on 3 April "to honour the friendship he shared with the legendary performer... [The statue] was originally planned to be erected outside his Harrods store. However, subsequent to the sale of the Knightsbridge landmark, it was decided that Craven Cottage was the natural alternative for the tribute."
* Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock, he of the saucy Russian secretaries, doubtless wishes to put that whole [alleged] spying furore behind him. But, if so, he should probably change his answerphone greeting. Call Hancock's parliamentary office when no one's in and, sure enough, the honeyed tones of comely Katia Zatuliveter will urge you to leave a message. No voicemails were hacked in the writing of this story.
* James Brown (No, not that one), hairdresser to the stars, was in a bullish mood at the party for the publication of GQ's biannual Style supplement. Despite having spent all weekend with Kate Moss, he still couldn't say whether John Galliano would yet design the supermodel's wedding dress. He did, however, have some choice words for Dior spokesperson Natalie Portman, who declared herself "shocked and disgusted" by Galliano's anti-semitic rant in a Paris café. "Natalie Portman is a fucking idiot, she should fuck off," Brown told me. "I'm so fucking angry with her. You shouldn't condemn someone before you know all the facts." Of course, among the "facts" to which we do have access is the transcript of the aforementioned rant: "I love Hitler... People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed." And so on. Charming lot, these fashion types.
* The controversy caused by Midsomer Murders' all-white casting has generated several enchanting tales from the some-of-my-best-friends-are-black genre. From the Express, we learnt that Brian True-May, the producer at the centre of this storm, "left his multimillion-pound home in a car driven by an Asian man." (I confess myself confused as to whether this makes him more or less racist than previously assumed.) In the Telegraph, an Oxfordshire publican, whose establishment is a location for the show, revealed that, "We have one black guy who lives in the village. He drinks in the pub sometimes and is made welcome when he does." (I should hope so, too.) Finally, a delightful contribution from the Mail's Quentin Letts, whose Herefordshire village has "so far as I know, no black or Asian residents – though a sister of the local squire is soon to marry a black guy and he has come to church a few times, much to everyone's pleasure."
* If Jeremy "Rhyming Slang" Hunt were to run down the licence fee, the BBC would only have itself to blame. Considering he holds the corporation's fate in his hands, the Culture Secretary is shown remarkably little respect by its most high-profile presenters. First there was that impertinent name-calling by Naughtie and Marr, both of whom "inadvertently" replaced the first letter of his surname. Yesterday, yet more humiliation: Andrew Neil appeared to forget the poor fellow's name. During The Daily Politics, Neil turned to his Cabinet-level guest, seemingly lost for words. "Jeremy," Hunt quietly prompted him. "Sorry," Brillo replied, "Jeremy."
* The Beeb's rather fine Olympics mockumentary Twenty Twelve is in danger of becoming redundant. First came the failure of the countdown clock in Trafalgar Square. Then, at yesterday's London Assembly hearing about the Olympic Park legacy, the Deputy Mayor, Richard Barnes, nodded off. Can't say I blame him.
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