Diary: January's cold shoulder

Last week, this column was illustrated exclusively by middle-aged men, so I'm jolly grateful to Zach Galifianakis, star of The Hangover and its forthcoming sequel, for saying something mildly interesting about an attractive young lady. January Jones, best known as Mad Men's Betty Draper, recently claimed that Galifianakis (whose name I remain unable to spell without cutting and pasting it from the internet) was the most naturally funny man she'd ever met.

"That's really funny," Galifianakis tells Shortlist, "because, if I remember correctly, she and I were very rude to each other... I was at a party – I'd never met her – and she was like, 'Come sit down.' So I sit at her table and talk for 10 minutes, and she goes, 'I think it's time for you to leave now.' So I say, 'January, you are an actress in a show and everybody's going to forget about you in a few years, so fucking be nice,' and I got up and left. And she thinks that's funny?" Funny enough for me to print, Zach.

* Comedian and conservationist Bill Bailey was chuffed to be immortalised in plant form at last year's Chelsea Flower Show, when a new breed of carnivorous Nepenthes was named after him. But has he taken the accolade a little too seriously? Carnivorous "pitcher plants", he informed me at the launch of this year's Flower Show, are "much cooler than regular plants. We've got a bathroom that we keep them in at home. We've got chameleons in there as well; it's a tropical bathroom. The temperature has to be kept quite high and the conditions quite moist so that it suits the pitcher plants – they love all that. And of course there are insects in there as well, so the insects fall into the pitcher plants and they eat them. Flies get in there. Crickets... A few locusts." Surely you don't bathe in this so-called bathroom, Bill? "It's a fully functioning bathroom that we bath in and wash and everything." I don't think he was joking.

* A phone call from my favourite Estonian (I know only the one): Lembit Opik, glamour model-bothering ex-member for Montgomeryshire, and star of my notional sitcom Anyone But Lembit. He's deeply displeased, he tells me, by the Lib Dems' lack of movement on the mayoral question: the party still has no candidate to run against Boris and Ken, with less than a year to go until the election. Poor, unemployed Lembit complains, "I deliberately haven't tried to get a nine-to-five job so I can concentrate on campaigning for the mayoralty full time. It's hugely unhelpful that we still don't have a timetable for the selection. I'm already campaigning, but without being able to say I'm my party's official candidate. It really is the worst-case scenario." (Believe me, it could get a lot worse.) When I call the party's press office on Lem's behalf, a spokesman chuckles, then assures me that the selection process will begin "er, soonish".



* Watching Barack O'Bama sink a pint of the black stuff in Moneygall, I'm reminded how keen his Democrat forebear Bill Clinton was to inform the world of his Irish roots. When he took office, alleged distant cousins were unearthed and County Fermanagh was talked up as the family seat of Clintons past. "I feel more Irish every day," the ex-president proclaimed on one of his many visits to the Republic. Yet unlike Bush, Reagan and Obama, there remains no concrete evidence that Clinton is in any way Irish. I suppose it depends on what your notion of "is" is.



* A hat tip to Nicholas Grier, senior lecturer in law at Edinburgh Napier University, for helping to burnish this column's hard-earned reputation for factual vagueness. "I was fascinated," Grier writes, "to read that Sir Fred [Goodwin] will be moving to upmarket Colindale... The good burghers of Colinton, just down the road from where I work in Edinburgh, may not be wholly sorry that their flighty new neighbour has decided to up sticks to London at such short notice." Given that, as Grier suspects, my knowledge of "the North" stretches little further than "Kenwood House on a wet Sunday afternoon", I do hope he'll forgive this single-syllable, 400-mile mistake. More venerable hacks than I are familiar with Colindale as home to the British Library's newspaper archive. No doubt I'll soon be sent there as penance, on some spurious but lengthy fact-finding mission. I'll be sure to send a postcard.

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