Thursday 21 August 2008
Cooper Brown: They're denying me free expression and blocking press freedoms
He's Out There: 'We ended up watching the Olympics and sort of making out. The Cooperman has still got it...'
OK, things are getting weirder – last week I was actually arrested by "immigration officials" and taken off to some place in Pimlico, where I was held and questioned for three days under the Prevention of Terrorism powers that the state seems to have unlimited amounts of. I was just leaving the Cooperdome when these guys literally surround me and "persuade" me to get into a car. I'm not allowed to phone Victoria or anyone and so they all go mental trying to find out what happened to me.
I end up in a small room in quite a smart office block. There are no signs or markings to tell me what this place is but I'm not allowed to leave and definitely held against my will. For the first time ever I was unable to bring you my column last week – I was not allowed to write or communicate with anyone for the whole period that these assholes held me.
Even if you don't give a shit that I might be kicked out of this country, they are denying me free expression and blocking press freedoms.
They start asking me about what I think of the Iraq war and what my views are on the situation in Israel and the West Bank? I'm totally speechless: frankly, I couldn't give a shit about any of it – what the hell has the Middle East got to do with me... a bunch of towel-heads with machine guns... I tell them all this, in no uncertain terms, but they seem totally uninterested in my rebuttals.
This is totally insane and I start to wonder whether this might be one huge joke set up by Ben and that he's somehow recording the whole thing and it's all going to be played on some huge screen at a party for all my friends like in that movie The Game with Michael Douglas? (I love that movie.) I think I've cottoned on and start telling them that I know that this was all set up by Ben and that they have got me, I admit it, but now it's time for all this to end. They ignore all this but start getting interested in Ben – "Who is Ben, what does he do?" This is getting crazy. Anything I mention starts to become some conspiracy.
Then this American dude turns up and I relax – big mistake. He starts pumping me hard about my Mom and her "associates". They're particularly interested in my Mom's new boyfriend, "Hakim". I tell them that I haven't even seen my Mom since she came over for the Proms last year. I've never met this dude and I don't think that I really want to either. They ask me whether I've ever spoken to him on the phone or communicated with him by email? I tell them that I only found out he existed two weeks ago – more raised eyebrows and tut-tutting...
I'm eventually allowed to leave and go home after three days but they have "retained " my passport and I am not allowed to travel anywhere outside London. What the hell is going on here? Once again I try to contact Dave Cameron's office for some help but he has blocked me out – I am a persona non grata to the "New Tories" and I eventually give up. Never trust a politician when you really need some help. I really got on with the guy and suddenly he shuts me down... Unbelievable. Victoria is really freaked by the weird scenes and is crying and wondering what is going to happen to her and my son Humboldt-Fog?
"Are they going to kick us out as well? I don't want to go and live in the States again. We're going to stay here, where we belong. This is all your fault..." I'm really getting support from all areas – not... It's very comforting. Like it's my fault that my Mom hitches up with an Arab terrorist? Why am I getting involved in all this? There's nobody more pro-Bush in the whole of London and I'm getting the hassle? Go figure...
I bump into my hot neighbour in Planet Organic and she starts acting really shifty with me. I ask her why and she admits that some people came round to her place and started asking questions about me – who came and went at the Cooperdome? I could see that she was a little bit attracted to all this intrigue despite herself and I made a little bit of a play and wasn't totally rejected – there's always a silver lining... We ended up watching the Olympics and sort of making out on her couch. The Cooperman has still got it...
The following day, my lawyer rings me and tells me that there is a closed-door hearing on my "status" next Monday and that my situation will be a lot clearer after that. So I have to sit around all week waiting to hear about what is going to happen to me. Sod that – I get in the Quattroporte and burn off down to Wiltshire to the cottage. I stop at the village shop and get myself a good supply of Jack D and settle down for a solo session to end all sessions. I like drinking alone: it allows you to be totally selfish and not have to make conversation or anything – you can just watch TV and laugh to yourself and drink and pass out and forget everything. It's what I need right now – a good binge to clear the memory. Everything will be all right when I wake up... except it won't be. I'll deal with that when I get to it.
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