Diary: Beavering about on the blower

On the publicity trail for their new film The Beaver (as in the semi-aquatic rodent), Jodie Foster continues her spirited defence of co-star and chum Mel Gibson against those unfortunate accusations of racism, anti-semitism and domestic abuse. "I just adored him from the second I met him," she gushes admirably to the Radio Times. "He reads books about crazy historical events and retains every detail [The crucifixion, for example?]... I can talk to him on the phone for, like, three and a half hours..." Yes, I hear he can go on a bit when you get him on the blower.

* Allegedly "Gorgeous" ex-MP George Galloway these days plies his trade as a broadcaster for Iran's Press TV, and for TalkSport, Sony Radio Award-winning home of Richard Keys and Andy Gray. Sunny Hundal, of Liberal Conspiracy, has valiantly listened to an extract from Galloway's most recent show, during which he called into question the evidence for the Tiananmen Square massacre (22 years ago last week). "It is a remarkable thing," Galloway opined, "that something we've been told for 20 years was a massacre, that not a single photograph of a single dead person has been adduced." More remarkable, I'd suggest, is that George has singularly failed to learn how to use Google (which happens to be especially challenging in China). If he had, he would know that such photographs are indeed available, along with, for example, that embarrassing old quote of his, in which he warmly praises the genocidal dictator, Saddam Hussein.

* Having been bested by President Obama in the battle of the birth certificate, wealthy comb-user Donald Trump has turned his attention to the little people. Trump, who plans to ruin countless good walks by building a new golf course in Aberdeenshire, has come up against local hero David Milne, 46. Milne has refused to sell his home of 20 years – which lies on neighbouring land – to the US developer, whose surname is a euphemism for "fart". Now, reports the Daily Record, the Trump Organisation has erected a fence around Milne's home, and sent him an invoice for half the bill: £2,820. "There is no way I'm going to pay it," says Milne. Someone make a documentary about this man.



* The Mail on Sunday's enraged front page about the BBC's non-use of a word beginning with "C" (which also appeared in this column just last week, courtesy of Liam Gallagher) appears to have been the work of Colin Harrow, sensitive soul and onetime managing editor of Mirror Newspapers. It was, presumably, Harrow who alerted the Mail to his email exchange with Paul Mayhew Archer of Radio 4, who suggested that in allowing broadcast of this almost-word, he had to "balance the offence it might cause some listeners against the delight it might give other listeners". Harrow, who once taught future spinner-in-chief Alastair Campbell at the Mirror's training centre, has form for such attention-seeking: In 2007 he and his wife wrote a humorous letter to their local newspaper in Cumbria, claiming to have set loose a batch of grey squirrels; after a complaint was made by a credulous fellow reader, they received a visit from the Peelers. "We felt so sorry for the police," Harrow informed the Evening Standard at the time, "who had to waste valuable time investigating this non-existent 'crime'."



* My thanks to reader Seth Alexander Thévoz for his help in burnishing this column's hard-won reputation for factual vagueness. In an item yesterday about the Facebook campaign to install actor Brian Blessed as the next Chancellor of Cambridge University, I suggested that Blessed's nomination was the work of "marginally-less-hilarious-than-they-think undergraduates, made giddy by their eclectic DVD collections". However, Seth politely corrects me, "Not one of Brian's nominators is an undergraduate... [They] span a wide variety of ages, from being in their mid-20s to their late 60s, and they include Cambridge graduates from every decade since the 1960s. Only graduates of the university with higher degrees are able to nominate candidates." Make that "marginally-less-hilarious-than-they-think graduates," then. Old enough to know better, or to have seen Flash Gordon.

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