The irrepressible Osbournes
FRIDAY, JULY 12
As someone who, thanks to my ITV interviews and travel shows, has regularly been called ‘the poor man’s Alan Whicker’, I was very sad to hear that the great man died today. Whicker was a superb broadcaster, a wonderful character, and a personal role model when it came to the art of interviewing.
‘You can ask the rudest, most personal questions as long as you smile and don’t patronise your subject,’ he once said. A theory that I’ve tried very hard to prove over the years. He also showed that sometimes the most powerful weapon in an interviewer’s armoury is silence.
Whicker’s raised bushy eyebrow was often far more damning than any words could possibly be. Asked what he thought of ambitious wannabe Whickers seeking to emulate his extraordinary career, he chuckled: ‘I’m sure they will all be better than I was.’ He was wrong.
SATURDAY, JULY 13
A murder trial that has gripped America came to a shocking conclusion tonight.
George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch patrolman in Florida, was cleared of unlawfully killing an unarmed young black teenager called Trayvon Martin.
The jury, all female and 90 per cent white, concluded that Zimmerman had been acting in self- defence when he pulled out his gun and shot the boy dead after they got into a fight.
But the fight would never have occurred if Zimmerman hadn’t profiled him as potential trouble – a tape of his call to police caught him saying ‘f***ing punks . . . these a**holes, they always get away’ after he got out of his car to follow Trayvon. The reality is that Trayvon, 17, was simply walking home to his family after buying a bag of skittles and a can of soda from a local store.
If Zimmerman had just left him alone, or instantly identified himself as a neighbourhood watch official, then the young man would still be alive.
Instead, he pulled out a concealed gun during the struggle, and killed him. And now he’s walked free, with no punishment whatsoever — a conclusion that has sparked race protests all over America. I’ve no idea if Zimmerman’s a racist. But I do know that his
‘This is f***ing boring,’ Kelly announced. Ozzy was mortified. ‘No one’s ever called me boring before!’
constitutional ‘right to have a gun’ led to Trayvon Martin’s death.
I have three teenage sons. If one of them was shot in these circumstances, I’d find it impossible to understand how it could possibly be deemed ‘lawful’ to do so. In fact, I’d find it utterly, unforgivably disgusting.
SUNDAY, JULY 14
Talking of my sons, they’re all huge fans of TV adventure survivalist Bear Grylls, believing him to represent every quality of heroic courage, supreme physical fitness, and instinctive practicality lacking in their father. To exemplify this, my middle boy, Stanley, 16, said on Twitter: ‘To see my father tweeting Bear Grylls is possibly the greatest thing I have ever seen.’ Adding, for good measure, two wounding hash-tags that he’s certainly never tweeted about me: #hero #watchedeveryepisode.
By coincidence, Bear also has three sons. ‘ I’m definitely not a hero to my boys,’ he laughed, when I pointed out Stanley’s comment, ‘just a man who creaks and has bad wind!’
MONDAY, JULY 15
My best wishes to Kelly Osbourne, who has got engaged to her boyfriend, Matthew Mosshart.
Ms Osbourne, like her mother, is small and dangerous but shares Sharon’s slightly insane, very funny sense of humour. I’ll never forget a dinner I had with the Osbourne clan during an America’s Got Talent audition trip to Miami. Kelly was with her then boyfriend Luke Worrall — a weird creature who ended up cheating on her with a transsexual who had undergone gender-reassignment surgery. She grew steadily testy as Sharon, Ozzy, and I swapped what she mockingly called ‘old person stories’.
Eventually, Kelly sprang to her feet, announced, ‘This is f***ing boring,’ and dragged a bewildered Luke out of the restaurant. Ozzy was mortified. ‘Boring? Nobody’s ever called me f***ing boring before!’ Seconds later, there was a loud bang on the window next to our table. We turned to see Kelly and Luke, bare-bottomed, ‘mooning’ against the glass. ‘That’s disgusting!’ cried Sharon, a woman who once woke me on a plane by dangling her naked breasts in my face. ‘Terrible!’ agreed Ozzy, who has spent 50 years stripping, snorting, and eating bats. ‘Shocking!’ I concurred. Then the three of us burst out laughing at the almost overwhelming irony of the situation.
TUESDAY, JULY 16
My official Twitter photo is currently a picture of me and Snoop Lion, or Dogg as he used to be known. I chose it both to enhance my credibility and make a point about gun control: Snoop renounced violence after an earlier life of gang crime. The man himself, was surprisingly pleased. ‘I can’t believe you selected me for your Twitter picture! That’s a great honour, man.’
I almost burst with pride at my own sudden coolness. Today, Ricky Gervais posted a YouTube clip of his character David Brent, performing a toe- curling rap song called Aint No Trouble with Brent’s protégé Dom Johnson. It’s as spectacularly inappropriate as it sounds, with Brent effectively using a black rapper to make a hideously clumsy reverse racism statement.
‘This,’ Gervais informed me, ‘is your Twitter background photo brought to life.’ Crushing.
Below: The outspoken, ‘small and dangerous’ Kelly Osbourne