Diary: Keep your eyes off me, says Celine Dion

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The Independent Online

The Mail has added to the annals of the bleeding obvious by reporting on a study which finds that some women "hate" looking at photographs of themselves. Still, on cue comes along one such woman to confirm the accuracy of the research. Wealthy Canadian singer Céline Dion was recently informed of the existence of a blog by one of the world's little people, self-explanatorily entitled "Ridiculous Pictures Of Céline Dion". Ms Dion was not amused, and Duckumu (also known as Nick, 26, from Brooklyn), the humble blogger responsible, claims he received a letter from her lawyers demanding he shut the site down. "Though this blog is well within the realm of 'fair use'," he insists, "I don't have the money or time to get a lawyer to respond. The dream is over." In honour of his site's demise, however, this column would like to contribute one more ridiculous picture.

* During the phone-hacking crisis, one major player has been lying extremely low. I write, of course, of George (né Gideon) Osborne, who has avoided the issue by occupying himself with what he no doubt claims are pressing economic matters. A likely story. Still, as she deflected the interrogatory bullets fired at her by the Media Select Committee this week, former News International chief exec Rebekah Brooks pinged at least one stray round in the direction of No 11 Downing Street – suggesting that it was Gideon who had personally recommended the hiring of Andy Coulson as the Conservative Party's comms director in 2007. Given that it was Coulson's News of the World which had, in 2005, published the notorious photograph of the young Gideon posing with a prostitute and a modest heap of unidentified white powder, either the now-Chancellor is an extremely forgiving chap, or Coulson has something really bad on him. I know which I'd prefer.

* This column has thus far chosen to ignore the (frankly, rather dull) travails of the eurozone, due to its distinct lack of custard pies or Hugh Grant. However, the phone-hacking saga is undergoing a lull, and needs must. So to Brussels, where the eurozone leaders met yesterday on, coincidentally, "Belgium Day". On 21 July 1831, Leopold I took the constitutional oath as the low country's first king; 180 years later, the date marks its 400th day sans government.

However, with Belgian politicians failing to form a viable coalition, the civil service has calmly continued to run the country, despite its inability to approve any new spending. Thus Belgium's debt has been reduced at a pace envied across the EU, and (I'm told, by somebody more conversant with the subject than myself) approved of by the crucial ratings agencies. Sir Humphrey to the rescue...

* And Europe – would you believe it? – yields not one item today, but two. For last month in Totnes, 89-year-old grandmother Eileen Noakes emailed her Conservative MEP, Giles Chichester, to ask him to vote for a 30 per cent EU emissions reduction target. Mr Chichester replied to his constituent, politely informing her that while he supported such targets, he would not vote for it without competitor countries doing the same. Mrs Noakes, unimpressed, replied a tad tetchily: "Dear Mr Chichester, is this what you teach your children – don't do the right thing until everybody else does it too?"

Mr Chichester, clearly taken aback, consulted his staff, who told him he ought to respond, which he duly did. "Your fatuous and ill-informed comments, clearly intended to insult, merely serve to prove how silly you are," he raged. "How dare you personalise this issue by involving my children? What sort of contemptible person are you? You obviously can't mount a serious case. Yours, Giles Chichester MEP." Another vote lost. Ho-hum.

* In Chipping Norton the natives are restless. The townspeople, it's said, are fed up with their name being dragged through the Oxfordshire mud. Those responsible – the so-called "Chipping Norton Set" – don't even live in Chipping Norton, but towards Burford on the A361. "It's a terrible shame that these spivs have brought the town's name into disrepute," former town councillor Gerry Alcock told the Witney Gazette. Fellow resident Keith Ruddle, 61, was more sympathetic, offering the unemployed Brooks a job with the Chipping Norton newsletter.