If there's one thing that's been troubling my sleep this week, it's what a disappointment I am to Stephen Fry. Not because I'm a sex-hating woman, because, as everyone should know by now, Mr Fry never said that. At least, he obviously didn't think that. In fact, he's disgusted that we should even think that he thinks that. I know, I'm ashamed, too: we have all been such hideous fools.
His disappointment stems (in case you're one of the three people in Britain not following Mr Fry on Twitter) from an interview he gave to Attitude magazine. "I feel sorry for straight men," he said in it. "The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want." His evidence for this? "If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas." Okaaa-ay...
When other people noticed and objected to this, err, avant-garde opinion, Mr Fry revealed the shocking truth: it was the evil journo scum wot done it. He was "misquoted", he revealed, resigning (again) in fury from Twitter.
Staff at Attitude are bemused. "We absolutely did not misquote him," its editor, Matthew Todd, told me. "And the interview was taped so it's surprising that he said we did." But now Mr Fry has risen again, in a long blog, which compares giving print interviews with being raped. (Again, I'm so sorry: I never knew.) It was a "humorous" interview he gave, you see. "I was simply... 'playing gracefully with ideas' to repeat Oscar's great phrase." It is partly his fault for crediting his public with more intelligence than we were born with, to be fair. He shouldn't expect people who are not on first name terms with Oscar Wilde always to understand his own, super-cerebral sense of humour. And talk about switching arguments in mid-stream.
This is not the first time that I have disappointed Stephen Fry. When The Independent on Sunday published The Pink List in August, he objected – fairly – to our portrayal of the dancer Louie Spence. However, he also quoted us out of context and admitted that he hadn't read the piece against which he fulminated in a excoriating, 1,500-word tirade, Nonetheless, he accused IoS journalists of "misogyny", among other things. I typed a comment on his blog; it disappeared. I contacted him through his production company; he didn't see any point in continuing a conversation about it, he said. A man claiming to be a friend of his sent me an ominous email about the dangers of taking on the most popular man in Britain. He had a point.
I stand by The Pink List. So would you, if you'd seen the moving letters. But sometimes, people, even evil journo scum people, make mistakes, and we hold our hands up to Louie Spence. Those of us who write in the forum of a national newspaper are responsible for what we say. But the same does not apply to Stephen Fry, silly.
It's hard being the cleverest man in England. It must be lonely, knowing that you alone are always right. If Mr Fry ever read newspapers, I'd say: I'm sorry for letting you down, again. But he doesn't even touch this vile rubbish, he says. I'm just going to have to keep losing sleep.
Eat less, move more. That will be £500, please. Next!
It seems very odd that Kylie Minogue's remark about dieting has not been taken up and endlessly repeated by the kind of magazines that usually like to share famous women's thoughts on dieting with all their agog readers. Kylie was responding to claims that she is on a drastic water-only diet and that this is how she keeps her lovely figure.
"It's so not true," she said. "I had water for a day as I had an upset tummy, but other than that I would not be doing any diet : they are nuts."
At the same time, the creators of most famous diet in the world revealed that its patented magic formula has suddenly changed. As of now, WeightWatchers will allow the eating of fruit for "free" on its weird, point-based system of counting and measuring. Formerly, foods that contained the same number of calories had the same points value. Now, boffins at WeightWatchers (£38.80 for three months) have discovered that you're better off eating 200 calories' worth of broccoli than 200 calories' worth of doughnut, and have changed the points accordingly.
How long will women (and it is, annoyingly, mostly women) go on paying the diet industry billions of pounds to tell us what everyone knows? Eat green things, avoid fat, and dance your little bum off for a living and you'll be quite thin. Eat doughnuts while reading diet tips and you won't. (Cheques, please, to the usual IoS address for those genius words.)
I'll go for the Thai chicken and chips
What a shame that Good Housekeeping's guide to serving a Christmas dinner for eight for only £21.06 coincided with an RSPCA report into the welfare of the poultry that is bred for our tables. Good Housekeeping directed shoppers to a 4kg frozen turkey at £9.99. The RSPCA pointed us towards Thailand (GDP per capita £5,060) and Brazil (£6,232), where chickens are better treated, with more rest time and much more space to move around in, than in the UK (£21,471). The usual complaint of the battery chicken-buying masses is that they are "too poor" to pay £2 extra for a chicken that hasn't slowly pickled in its own guano for the 35 miserable days of its top-heavy, wheezing, overcrowded life. I'm tempted to have Thai chicken curry this Christmas, but only if the Thai chicken can come straight from Thailand.
We'll always have Staines...
Anyone planning to buy property in Staines had better hurry up before prices shoot up, I thought, as I strolled down the tree-lined towpath to the Wheatsheaf & Pigeon the other day. Town hall officials ( the Town Hall is actually a pub in Market Square, so I don't know how official they are) have cottoned on to the fact that the name Staines might be putting people off, and are planning to rename it Staines-upon-Thames. What are they thinking of? They'll have all sorts moving in! Staines is part of a corridor of unfortunate nomenclature that extends from dodgy Hounslow to Slough. It takes imagination to live somewhere that sounds so nasty, even if it does have swans, riverside walks and a weird microclimate that makes it about two degrees warmer than anywhere else. They should leave it that way, and keep out the Runnymede riff raff.Reuse content