Diary: School's out for Eugenie

Charles Saatchi's Newspeak exhibition opened at the collector's London gallery yesterday, and among the works on show is Eugenie Scrase's "Trunkated", a found section of fencing topped with a fallen chunk of tree. Viewers of BBC2's
School of Saatchi will recall Scrase (and her piece) as the winner of that TV reality contest. The works she created for broadcast also included a lamp-pull draped over a radiator, and a whistle hanging from a door handle. "Actually," she corrects me, "it was a handlebar for handicapped people getting out of the bath." And what has the 20-year-old, currently completing her second year at the Slade art school, been up to since the show was broadcast? Working with doorhandles, as it happens: "I've been tampering with and perverting their intended role," she says. "I'm also planning a project in Frankfurt to do with bollards." For now, however, Scrase plans to spend her summer waitressing at a caff in Brixton. The life of an artist.

* James Cameron is providing submarines, Kevin Costner is bringing centrifugal oil separation machines, Stephen Baldwin is making a documentary, and even Robert Redford has fronted a 30-second ad for clean energy. But surely everyone on the Louisiana coast must be asking themselves the big question: where is Sean Penn? Well, he's still busy dealing with Hollywood's second-favourite natural disaster: Haiti, where he's been living since January, in a tent "not much bigger than an army surplus locker". Or so writes Douglas Brinkley for Vanity Fair, in a feature on the actor, his divorce, and his sickeningly sincere commitment to aid work in the earthquake-stricken nation. The experience has been "a reciprocal thing", Penn says. "[The Haitians] have returned to me something I had lost – my humility." Now, Sean. Let's not get carried away.

* If the coalition has any plans to placate the SNP by granting independence to Scotland, it shouldn't count on the colourful Scottish historian Norman Stone for support. "The idea of an independent Scotland is quite ridiculous," he told the Hay Literary Festival yesterday. Stone, however, has a fix for the Scottish problem, which he first proposed under the last majority-Tory government, in the 1980s. "I used to say to Margaret Thatcher: 'Your answer is the Bavarian solution'," he recalled. "You develop a system of internal competition among biggish groups within your country: a federal system. They compete with each other in matters of education or culture. She thought about it, but then dismissed it because she didn't really like Germany very much."

* When David Laws made his Treasury predecessor Liam Byrne's parting shot public, he had no idea he'd be following him so soon. But knowing that Byrne's notorious "there's no money" note made it to the front pages, Laws evidently decided to leave his own successor, Danny Alexander, a rather more sober Post-it. "Dear Chief Secretary," it read, according to an interview Laws gave the Western Daily Press. "Good luck, carry on cutting, but with care." What, no jokes?

* Time to turn to the week in balls. No, not Ed "Bruiser" Balls, but the World Cup's official Adidas "Jabulani" football. Goalkeepers are getting their excuses in early, with Mark Schwarzer of Australia, Iker Casillas of Spain, Gianluigi Buffon of Italy, Julio Cesar of Brazil and England's own David James all whining about the supposed unpredictability of said ball's flight, just in case any of them concedes four goals in his opening game. Neither the bizarre name for the ball, nor the keepers' complaints are new. At 2002's tournament, Buffon called the "Fevernova" ball "a ridiculous kiddy's bouncing ball". In 2006, the German keeper Oliver Kahn said the "+Teamgeist" ball was "built in favour of the strikers". What none of them mentions is that since 1998's "Tricolore" ball, they've saved more and more shots despite the aerodynamically enhanced spheres: 2006's tournament featured 147 goals, compared with 161 in 2002 and 171 in 1998.

diary@independent.co.uk

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