Leading members of the Catholic Church have had their cassocks in a twist of late over Amnesty International's decision to back abortion for rape victims. Quite what the men of the cloth will make of a new film set for general release in British cinemas at the end of October... well, God only knows.
Princess, made by the Danish cartoonist Anders Morgenthaler, is a Manga-style animated revenge fairy tale set in the porn industry. The plot centres around a vigilante clergyman who violently avenges the death of his porn star sister, who has been abused.
The cartoon film depicts explicit intercourse, sexual abuse, drug taking and bloody violence, and was censored at the Singapore Film Festival because it was considered religiously offensive. Censors objected to a scene which depicts "a porn star in a nun's habit, with a cross protruding from her behind". Crikey!
As one critic put it: "Don't hold your breath waiting for the Disney remake."
Distributed by Tartan Films nationwide, the feature is in fact supposed to be a moral diatribe against the porn industry.
"Porn imagery has encroached into our society and culture to such a degree that I think we have to speak up against it," says Morgenthaler. "The porn industry is only about money and has nothing to do with sexuality, love of body or real eroticism."
No doubt Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and his C of E colleague the Rt Rev Rowan Williams (pictured) agree and will be first in line at the box office!
M.I.A. heads east in search of fine China
Flight socks and blindfold, please, for Maya Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.). I hear the Mercury-nominated, Anglo-Tamil rapper, is off to China to try to conquer its germinating popular music market.
Simon Wheeler, a director at the Beggars group of indie record labels, which includes M.I.A.'s XL label, is on a "Music Mission to China". He'll attend the Beijing Pop Festival, a Chinese Glastonbury: "We'll see how Chinese kids and teens get into music. There's lots of Korean and Taiwanese but not Western." He adds: "It's a really good market for M.I.A. We hope to take her over and play some shows."
The "vulgar" rapper Jay-Z was banned from China and the Stones couldn't play "Honky Tonk Woman" or "Let's Spend the Night Together" on their visit. M.I.A. has been censored by MTV for her track "Sunshowers", lyrics: "You wanna winna war? Like PLO, I don't surrendo."
Over to the Chinese...
Lembit leads a merry dance
Ever since it emerged that he was making sweet music with one half of the Cheeky Girls, Lembit Opik has proved popular fodder for the red tops.
The asteroid warden delights in yarns doing the rounds that he is about to make an honest woman of his other half, Gabriela – a rumour he insists is untrue. He gleefully claims to have wrong-footed his shiny-jacketed pursuers.
"I went to Warrington to be fitted for a wedding suit and must have been spotted," he tells me. "Not long after, the shop was approached by a News of the World reporter asking them to confirm I was planning to marry. They even offered money! I was actually getting ready to be best man for an old friend. He's now happily married, but I certainly am not."
So that means Gabi said no...
Man of stature
Nelson Mandela's brushes with the heavy hand of the establishment were, to say the least, dramatic. His sculptor, Ian Walters, who died last August, had his own established radical credentials.
Walters was one of seven lecturers at Guildford Art College who in 1968 supported rioting students upset by the poor quality of their education. He organised meetings, led rallies and helped raise funds. His reputation as a ringleader in the "Guildford Seven" saw him sacked by Surrey's council "of colonels and stockbrokers", one flaired-trousered survivor recalls. Walters was reinstated after a three-year campaign.
I'm told: "It's hardly Robben Island and the Long Walk to Freedom, but Mandela approved."
Peter's private army
Peter Kilfoyle MP: beloved by Liverpudlians and the, er, government of Nicaragua. The Tarbuck-esque Labour backbencher heads for Central America in a fortnight for a 140-mile, coast-to-coast trek across the jungly republic. Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua's President, is lending PK six soldiers as he traverses one of the country's most notorious drug-trafficking routes.
"We also have to get across Lake Nicaragua, which is full of bloody sharks, so that should be fun," says Kilfoyle, who is raising funds for the British Heart Foundation, following his own quadruple bypass op last summer. He concedes: "I didn't realise there was going to be so much involved. My son-in-law is coming, and he is a trained nurse, which will be handy if I conk out."Reuse content