This column naturally applauds any celebrity who decides to use every means at their disposal to highlight the spread of Aids in Africa and India. Thus I was somewhat dismayed to learn that the efforts of a selection of American stars to raise money for a relevant charity (at buylife.org) – by removing themselves from social networking sites until $1m is raised – have been a tad underwhelming so far. As of 6pm yesterday, said celebrities have amassed less than $162,000 since ceasing to tweet and/or update their Facebook status.
Perhaps it's the calibre of celebrity that's causing the problem: among those taking part is the baffling "celebutante" Kim Kardashian (nope, me neither), who, it was reported yesterday, was one search engine's most-sought celebrity of 2010. Surely she must have been missed since her "digital death"? That said, given that the search engine in question was Bing, I can't imagine the number of hits was all that high.
* As the exceedingly wise Sir Elton John was saying to me just the other day, over tea and lemon-glazed pistachio cake, "Having the World Cup in Qatar would be a joke." Fifa shares my sometime celebrity editor's sense of humour, though I suspect Sir Elton shan't be visiting the Emirate to enjoy the tournament and the tax-free shopping in 2022: homosexuality remains punishable by imprisonment and/or 90 lashes. Lucky, I suppose, that there are no gay professional footballers.
* The Adrian Chiles Effect seems to have spread to ITV's comedy department, where, claims comedian Katy Brand, operatives "forgot" to submit her nomination form for the British Comedy Awards, for the second year in a row. "I didn't say anything about it last year because I thought it would look ungracious," Brand tweets, "but AGAIN ITV? ARE YOU ACTUALLY SHITTING ME?... I'm not saying I would have made the shortlist, but once again ITV has prevented me even having a chance by not being fucking arsed... A sit-in at Daybreak might work, but then again, no one would see it."
* "Chanukah is a special time for the Jewish community," writes Miliband (E) in his characteristically bland seasonal message. "The festival of lights is a chance to gather with friends and family... an opportunity for everybody to celebrate the values of Judaism – values of dedication, justice, compassion and humility." An inevitable question arises: will he be gathering with his own family at this special time? Specifically, his brother: the melancholy Miliband (D), who might well argue that he's been done an injustice despite his dedication, and that Miliband (E) demonstrated little in the way of compassion or humility when he snatched his rightful crown like a petulant Shakespearean princeling. While the pair may pass each other in the corridors of Westminster this week, I understand the former future Labour leader will be spending Christmas with his wife's family in the US – plotting, I presume, like Coriolanus in exile.
* From a long-time reader, first time emailer: "This might sound ridiculous, but I was in Euston station this morning, and I'm sure I spotted Julian Assange eating a McMuffin under the clapper boards near Accessorize. Am I dreaming? I did hear he's supposed to be in the South East." Why was the WikiLeaks founder at Euston station (if, indeed, he was at Euston Station), and where was he going? The offices of The Guardian, perhaps? Do inform me of any further Assange sightings, readers; I'll be sure to maintain an appropriate level of discretion.
* Diary regular Rory Stewart, honourable member for Penrith & the Border – a man compared (by himself) to Lawrence of Arabia, Alexander the Great and the fictional demigod Achilles – will be taking part in Radio 4's Any Questions next Friday. Any suggested enquiries welcome. Let's begin with one from my friend Gilly, who recently spotted Stewart smouldering at number 10 on Tatler's list of Britain's most eligible bachelors. I subsequently informed her that, according to The New Yorker, the humble-as-humble-pie polymath is "a dazzling, sonnet-wielding wooer of beautiful women, but not a great builder of long-term relationships." Just her type. I know you still won't speak to The Independent, Rory, but can I give her your number?