Regular readers of this column might remember the story of the Michael Gove voodoo pincushion (9 February), which the Goves, gamely, bought each other for Christmas last year. Well, the woman behind that creation is at it again – only this time the subject of her crocheted ire is Nigel Farage.
"Once Michael Gove got demoted," Kat Stiff tells me, "he [Nige] seemed to be the obvious next candidate."
Eager to see if Mr or Mrs Farage had put orders in yet, emails were sent to The Independent columnist's press officer, Annabelle Fuller. This is the light-hearted exchange that followed:
Me: "Hello. I am wondering if Mr Farage is aware of the pincushion in his likeness and whether, perhaps, he is planning to buy one?"
AF: "It is more a pity it is not a scratch and sniff [?]. By happy coincidence I have a pincushion that looks just like a Kat."
Me: "Do I take that as a no?"
AF: "I suspect the closest Mr Farage has got to haberdashery in recent years is hiring a milliner as his press officer. However, as I littered his office with pins when I was making a hat for him for Christmas maybe he thinks a pincushion could be a good idea."
Me: "Perhaps you should buy him one."
AF: "I am more likely to be bought one for the purpose intended by Mrs Stiff."
Me: "For your wit and candour, perhaps I should buy you one."
AF: "It will take pride of place in my sewing basket." And there ends this amusing yarn.
While many crowdfunded projects never reach their goal, one recent idea proved so popular that it made four times its target within three days. "Ever wondered what it might look like if a science-fiction film presented LGBT people the way it should be done?" the blurb reads. "Credence will be the first sci-fi of its kind to challenge the way gay characters are portrayed in film."
Intriguing. Over to the film's director, Mike Buonaiuto. "It's difficult to make people believe in characters in a film, so we see the same stereotypes again and again," he says. "But that's not a progressive way of representing people and, ironically, although science-fiction films are supposed to be forward looking, they can be anything but, in this respect."
To avoid the things you might expect from gay characters in a mainstream film (coming out, and so on), the Credence team wrote a man and a woman as the leads and switched it to two men in the last draft.
"Now the problem is whether to show them kissing," Buonaiuto says. "There would be no question of that if they were a straight couple. But if we don't, it becomes more about them as fathers and as a family. For once it will be more controversial if we don't see two men kissing."
The rock writer Barney Hoskyns is so incensed by the practice that he set up the Facebook group Stop Working For Free. His manifesto reads: "Calling all freelance content providers (musicians, writers, actors, photographers, designers etc):
Join us in withdrawing unpaid labour from the creative and media industries."
Last week, an American artist called Dan Cassaro followed Hoskyns' lead. Asked to enter a competition to provide a piece of artwork for the Showtime channel's coverage of the upcoming Maidana vs Mayweather fight, Cassano replied: "It is with great sadness that I must decline your enticing offer to work for free. I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are low-budget affairs, especially ones with nobodies like Floyd "Money" Mayweather. I heard he only pulled in $80m for his last fight! I also understand that a cable channel like Showtime must rely on handouts just to keep the lights on these days. My only hope is that you can scrape up a few dollars from this grassroots event to put yourself back in the black. If that happens, you might consider using some of that money to compensate people to do the things they are professionally trained to do." Now what was that we used to say about sarcasm?
Emperor's new clothes?
In the week that the Oxford Online Dictionary added "clickbait", "adorbs", "humblebrag" and "yolo" to its lexicon, it is worth noting that not all buzzwords were given the thumbs-up. Which is just as well, because it turns out that fashion's hot new look, "normcore", is actually an in-joke that went wrong.
"People are posting pictures of that look," says Gregory Fong, from K-Hole, the New York consultancy that coined the term. "Whether they believe it's real or a joke, it's impossible to say."
No rhyme or reason
Another in a regular series of limericks based on recent events:
They have lived through the death of a daughter
While another was ditched at the altar
But now Downton seems calmer
Let's pump up the drama
With the odd misplaced bottle of water.