Diary: Another artistic appendage

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The Independent Online

Does the world need another Vincent Gallo, actor-slash-musician-slash-performance-artist? James Franco seems to think so. The actor-slash-creative-writing-student, who recently published his first short story in Esquire magazine ("I sit in the driver's seat of my grandfather's old DeVille. It is night out and cool. Me and Joe, we just sit."), has this week hung his first art exhibition at the Clocktower Gallery in New York City. "Hung" being the operative word: one of the central works in the exhibition, which is entitled "The Dangerous Book Four Boys", is a non-narrative video of Franco wearing a prosthetic penis on his nose. As actorly avant-gardism goes, Franco has some catching up to do. Gallo, his fellow renaissance fellow, uses his own non-prosthetic penis in his work: his controversial 2003 film, The Brown Bunny, featured an unsimulated full-frontal fellatio scene and, after this led to a lull in his movie career, Gallo offered samples of his sperm on his website for $1m a go. It's unclear whether he found any takers.

* Former Labour general secretary Peter Watt made a lot of enemies in the party hierarchy with his book, Inside Out: My Story Of Betrayal And Cowardice At The Heart Of New Labour. Published before the election and serialised in the distinctly Labour-unfriendly Mail on Sunday, it was packed with vitriol about the then-PM, Gordon Brown. So we were interested to read Watt's praise for Alistair Darling and Harriet Harman on Twitter during Budget week: "Once again Darling shows what a class act he is on BBC Breakfast," Watt gushed. "Harriet was magnificent today," he exclaimed. Has life in the world beyond Westminster left him pining for a return? Is this his way of building bridges? "I'm tribally Labour, but I've gone from being an uber-loyalist to being a critical friend," Watt tells me. "I've no plans to get back to Westminster. But feel free to speculate that I'm going to." Alright, I will – not that it'll do him much good. One party official at Labour HQ told us: "He can creep as much as he likes. Plenty of us aren't going to forget the trouble and embarrassment he caused."

* Trouble and embarrassment are buzzwords for the Conservatives of Bournemouth council, as yet another of their number finds himself under investigation for alleged misconduct – bringing the total number of alleged miscreants to four. Cllr Douglas Spencer has been suspended from the Tory party as a result of "unspecified" allegations, reports the Dorset Echo. Whatever the aforementioned allegations are, some might speculate that they must be worse than those levelled at the other three Bournemouth Conservatives under investigation, since none of them has been similarly suspended by the party. They are: Cllr Richard Powell, who admitted forwarding racist jokes from his mobile phone; Cllr John Beesley, the council's deputy leader, who faces complaints to the standards board over a potential conflict of interest with his planning brief; and council leader Stephen MacLoughlin, who was forced to apologise after adult websites were accessed from his official council laptop. Bournemouth residents are currently taking part in a consultation over how their council should be run. By someone else, maybe?

* The sacking of Stan McChrystal could be good news for servicemen's stomachs, if not their Afghan strategy. As the Times reported prior to the General's dismissal, McChrystal ordered the removal of all fast-food outlets from Kandahar's Nato airbase, population 24,000. Pizza Hut, Burger King and others were duly airlifted away. But TGI Friday's has so far survived the crackdown despite its calorific menu – and now looks set to stay put under Petraeus. Thus, the troops under his command can still spend $25 (£17) per steak, should they so wish. Tastes like freedom, apparently.

* In other popular meat-based restaurant chain news: following my unnecessarily scathing criticism of Gourmet Burger Kitchen's World Cup advertising campaign (featuring Gordon Banks, esteemed former England goalie and Independent on Sunday columnist), I received a phonecall from GBK's representatives. They want to send me a free burger for my lunch on Monday. With chips. I should point out that I also thoroughly despise recent advertising campaigns for the iPad, Audi R8, Kuoni Travel Ltd and Knight Frank estate agents.