Andy Murray in love with the English? You're having a laff, mate, aintcha?
Wimbledon is upon us, and he's got the best chance since Fred Perry in 1742 to win, and he doesn't want to irritate the Home Counties set, and he's got his new, yet retro Fred Perry outfit to promote. So he tries to pretend that he never really meant he was supporting "anyone but England" in the 2006 World Cup.
"I've got an English girlfriend [21-year-old Kim Sears], my fitness trainers are both English, all the people I surround myself with are English, my best friend is English. I get on great with English people," he trumpeted earlier this week. But I bet you all suspect he was cheering when Portugal did for you (again).
You English are an odd bunch. As even the idea of me writing this piece suggests, you are fixated by what we Scots think about you, as if we were a pitiful, small-minded drunken bunch of (sometimes glorious) losers who define ourselves by our hatred of our bigger neighbour next door, and take our pathetic little pleasures when you are defeated. That, my Sassenach brothers and sisters, is a sad mentality, and one to which no right-thinking Scot could ever subscribe.
Your inferiority complex – while perfectly understandable, it really is unnecessary – leads you to misunderstand the Tartan Army's gloating at Chris Waddle's skyed penalty; Gareth Southgate's trundler and David Batty's half-hearted attempt. You can fill in your own perceived slights at the hands of we sweaties here. Truth is, you might not do irony very well, but you're all right. Well, most of you. Sometimes. We just like to wind you up, that's all. And Andy's just playing mind games. No offence. John Mullin
Brucie does bondage
The male psyche is a dark and complex place: witness the photos in the July issue of American fashion mag W, which seem to have been shot on location inside Bruce Willis' head. The pictures are of the Die Hard star and his new wife, actress Emma Heming, three months after their romantic wedding in the West Indies. Shot by fashion photographer Stephen Klein, they show Willis, 54, in what can only be described as an S&M sci-fi sexlab with his 32-year-old new wife.
"It was challenging," Willis says of the pictures (in which he's clearly trying just a little bit too hard) "because we had literally just come from this great honeymoon period of eating great food all the time!" Stomach-turning though the pictures may be, Willis is actually referring to showing off his physique in the scantily-clad shots. Without a doubt, he's in great shape for his age (although faintly craggy), as stylist Camilla Nickerson must have recognised when she decided to clothe him only in the skimpiest and tightest of underpants.
Willis publicly vowed never to re-marry after his split from Demi Moore in 2000, but tells the magazine that meeting Emma has rekindled his faith in relationships: "I went from 'f*** love' to 'love is truly the answer'," he says candidly, "I would say 'I'm alone, but I'm not lonely'. But I was kidding myself." Thankfully, Bruce has seen the light, and it only took 5ft 10 in and a 33-23-35 silhouette to convince him. After all, no-one's lonely when they're snuggling up to a model. But having more than once played the father of teenage screen-candy, there's an unfortunate subtext to this relationship.
Or perhaps he's simply following his ex-wife's example; 47-year-old Demi Moore has been married to Ashton Kutcher (31) for the past four years. Maybe they're just couple of big kids looking for someone to stay young with. It's a warming thought, and they're said to get on well with each other, but how will Demi react to the saucy new shots? Especially given that the new Mrs Willis has been carefully groomed to look like her predecessor, in a dark, bowl-cut wig, and with a ghostly pallor.
One shot depicts Heming sitting astride the naked Willis, who is bound up on a stainless steel counter with his toenails painted red. In another, he's cowering on a balcony, wearing little apart from a pair of red gloves, while his new spouse looks on dispassionately, clad in a leather bodysuit and over-the-knee bondage boots. What does it all mean? Submission, domination and mutual affection, clearly – just what all marriages should be. But why not just get some snaps of them sharing a cup of tea, say? Or washing up together?
Another picture, in which baldy Bruce is cradling his robotic-looking lover, is reminiscent of Luc Besson's The Fifth Element in which Willis pawed supermodel Milla Jovovich during the height of his fame and physical fortitude. Something to prove to Ashton, Bruce? "Vanity dies hard," he tells W. "It really does." Harriet Walker
New musical frontier, or manoeuvres in the dark?
"Well, this is bizarre," were the opening words of Ed Mac, the lead singer of youthful electro-pop band Friendly Fires, at an unusual gig on Monday evening. In a venue close to London's South Bank, Mac found himself concealed behind a huge curtain, trying to belt out his band's latest tunes, while on the other side of the partition, 300 people sat in complete darkness.
In the true spirit of all musical experiments, some fans nodded their heads. Others fell asleep. Both would be filmed doing so with infrared technology. "Bizarre" doesn't quite do the experience justice.
As the house lights were lowered, and the hall was plunged into darkness, what sounded like Friendly Fires began belting out tracks from the group's self-titled debut album, from behind the curtain, though it could just as easily have been a CD.
Still, the lack of anything to focus on did draw attention to how tight the band have become in the last 18 months, as well as the trio's natty new brass section. But just as soon as the audience had begun to appreciate this novel sensory experience, the curtains drew back, revealing Friendly Fires banging out their tunes, not, as we had been led to expect, using infrared goggles, but their own, low-level stage lighting (isn't that cheating?). By this point, however, the audience scarcely cared, and jumped to their feet. Talk about the blind leading the blind. Rob SharpReuse content