Diary: All the King's men...
Thursday 24 February 2011
Colin Firth has been filming on the set of a gay porn movie. Once you've forgiven/sued me for that misleading opening sentence, let me explain: a series of photos acquired by the website QueerClick (best viewed – if at all – at home, using a computer for which you have administrator rights and can swiftly clear your browser history) appear to prove that the shabby office inhabited by Geoffrey Rush's character, Lionel, in The King's Speech, has also been the setting for a number of graphic mano-a-mano celluloid encounters. The owner of the location used in Firth's film, Edward Davenport, has already admitted to hosting sex parties there, while the walls and windows of the room in the aforementioned snaps are identical (though I don't recall that billiard table being there during The King's Speech). Remarkably, given the ripe-for-pornification male friendship at its core, there appears to be no "porn version" of The Kings Speech (à la Shaving Ryan's Privates) in circulation just yet. But might this online leakage – as it were – be yet another elaborate attempt to sabotage the film's substantial Oscar chances? The people behind The Social Network have both motive and expertise...
* Perhaps piqued that Julian Assange thought his Bush-era emails insufficiently scandalous to leak into the public domain, the former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has released a cache of documents himself, in the hope of shifting more copies of his new memoir Known and Unknown. One of these memos, sent to the then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Doug Feith, in April 2003, provides a vivid snapshot of life outside the reality-based community. Its subject? "Issues w/Various Countries." Writes Rumsfeld to his trusty sidekick: "We need more coercive diplomacy with respect to Syria and Libya, and fast. If they mess up Iraq, it will delay bringing our troops home. We also need to solve the Pakistan problem. And Korea doesn't seem to be going well. Are you coming up with proposals for me to send around? Thanks. DHR." Feith managed to wash the dishes, iron a shirt and buy milk before leaving the Pentagon two years later. The rest of that to-do list is still pending.
* This column reported yesterday – a touch presumptuously, it turns out – that Liverpool FC manager Kenny Dalglish had been "dragged" to a Boyzone concert by his mischief-prone £35m striker Andy Carroll. More details have since emerged, however, suggesting that Dalglish, 59, is the greater fan of the Irish boyband-not-to-be-confused-with-Westlife. Talismanic Reds boss "King" Kenny is well-acquainted with lead singer Ronan Keating, who provided him with prime seats at the show. When Carroll learned of the outing, he blagged a pair of tickets, too – telling Keating that his girlfriend was a fan. His girlfriend, eh? I've heard that one before.
* The ex-Mrs Chris Huhne, leading economist Vicky Pryce, tells Jeff Randall of Sky News that she hasn't quite decided whether or not to write her tell-all tome about life as the wife of the Coalition's Energy and Climate Secretary. Given the revelations published in other memoirs by political spouses, I'd encourage her to proceed for the good of this column, if nothing else. In her book A Slight and Delicate Creature, for example, Robin Cook's first wife Margaret detailed the late former Foreign Secretary's multiple affairs, as well as the time he allegedly passed out in a hotel room clutching a brandy bottle. Then again, the less said about Tony and Cherie's trip to Balmoral, the better.
* On the subject of Lib Dem lotharios, Prospect reports that Paddy Ashdown was a whisker from the Cabinet last year, when Vince Cable's tenure as Business Secretary almost came to an abrupt end after his "War on Murdoch" gaffe. With David Laws out of bounds, Ashdown was deemed the next best Lib Dem for the job. He was called and primed, only for Cable to ring No 10 back and beg to stay.
* Even Ashdown's learned friend Sir Menzies Campbell QC has been playing away: the MP for North-East Fife still practises law on the side, and was paid £30,000 to represent BP in court last year. The oil firm hoped to overturn the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, which banned them selling alcohol at certain petrol stations. Somewhat inconveniently, the legislation was introduced by Scotland's last Coalition government between Labour and, er, the Lib Dems.
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