This week I run with the Brexit bad boys, tell a shaggy dog story ... and create a jammy rammy
HOW much would you pay to turn Nigel Farage’s career into a Hollywood film, specifically that bit of it where he gets photographed a lot surrounded by red-faced racists in replica football tops and as a result gulls 17,410,742 of his fellow Britons into voting to leave the European Union? Does £60 million sound reasonable?
Of course not. But “reasonable” isn’t a word that means much in Hollywood, and £60m is what someone is apparently willing to pay for the rights to The Bad Boys Of Brexit: Tales Of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare In The EU Referendum Campaign. It’s a book by Arron Banks who co-founded the Leave.EU campaign, was formerly one of Ukip’s biggest donors and is very definitely a CON (Chum Of Nigel’s).
The project is reported to be a six-part TV series and, if the deal goes ahead, it may air as early as (gulp) April next year. Beyond that, facts are scarce and the few others that are present – such as the possibility of Kevin Spacey playing Farage and Benedict Cumberbatch playing anyone at all – seem flimsy and barely credible. Not at all like a Ukip manifesto, then. And if by some miracle Spacey does think better of stepping into Farage’s shoes, there is another option for the role. “I am hoping if they do make the film, I think I should play me. I am really good at being me,” the man himself told the Daily Telegraph, the paper which broke the story and which should, by rights, be responsible for fixing it.
Hopes that a counter offer will arrive from somebody willing to pay £60m to stop Nigel Farage’s career being turned into a film are fading fast. But if you are that Remain-voting, Ukip-hating billionaire guardian angel, get your wings on.
Fur goodness sake!
IF I remember my Fred Astaire films correctly, cutting a rug used to mean dancing vigorously in a top hat and spats while Ginger Rogers did something elegant in a silk nightie. All change these days. Google the phrase “cutting a rug” now and you’ll be swamped with instructions about how to turn a certain type of floor-covering into something you might wear if you were, say, Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Yup, this week’s big Game Of Thrones news is that the luxurious furs Snow and his men wear in the world’s favourite TV show about dragons are sourced from – someone blow the Horn Of Joramun while I let the suspense build – Ikea. No, really. The revelation came last year when costume designer Michele Clapton let the cat out of the bag during a talk in a Los Angeles art gallery. But for some reason it has taken this long to percolate upwards (downwards?) to where the great mass of GoT fans dwell. Anyway, online searches for the items in question – the Ludde and Skold rugs, which are coloured white and cappuccino respectively and sell for between £30 and £40 – have now skyrocketed. Delighted by all the free publicity, Ikea has even produced one of its trademark, idiot-proof instruction diagrams for anyone who wants to give it a go. The best news of all? You don’t require an Allen key, a wedge dowel or any of those fiddly wee screws you need three hands to hold. Just a good pair of scissors and, if you’re planning on wearing yours in public, a fine sense of the ridiculous.
IDON’T know how hard Glasgow band Belle And Sebastian have ever tried to shake off their reputation as gentle souls who’d rather be tucked up in bed with some cocoa and a book than throwing tellies out of hotel windows. But if I blinked and they did briefly make the effort to party hard, “rock out” and indulge in Bieber-esque levels of mischief while on tour, then all their good work has come to nothing. When the band’s tour bus made a late-night stop recently at a Walmart in North Dakota in order to buy drinks, drummer Richard Colburn was accidentally left behind. Wearing just his pyjamas. Not very rock and roll, is it?
“I was coming out the Walmart and he was coming into the Walmart and he was waving very happily in a good mood and that was the last time that we saw him,” said singer Stuart Murdoch during an interview with a Minneapolis radio station. It took Colburn’s band members four hours to notice that they were missing a rhythm section, by which time the bus had crossed the state border. Were they partying too hard? No. The unscheduled stop had been to buy bottled water and no-one noticed because they had all gone to bed.
Happily – but also a little weirdly – Coburn seems to carry his credit card in his pyjamas, which isn’t something I’ve ever thought of doing. Anyway, well done him: that safety first approach where his little plastic friend is concerned meant he was able to book into a hotel and then hop on the next plane to wherever he was meant to be. But still wearing just his PJs, of course.
“We have Richard on a plane now, so everything is OK,” Murdoch tweeted later. “He’s in his pyjamas, sitting with a mimosa.” There’s a song in there somewhere – most likely one of those whimsical, hummable ditties for which Belle And Sebastian are known and loved the west end over – though I’m struggling to find a rhyme for mimosa that isn’t a spicy Indian delicacy.
REGULAR readers of the Diary – I’m an optimist, I always use the plural – will know about its author’s obsession with the annoying and entirely bogus tradition of rubbing Greyfriars Bobby’s nose. The bronze likeness of the faithful Skye terrier, made from life in the early 1870s by sculptor William Brodie and sited opposite Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard since then, passed a relatively peaceful existence until recently. Today, however, hordes of tourists who know perfectly well Bobby isn’t a real dog have taken to rubbing his nose for luck. So many and so often and with such unwanted vigour, in fact, that said appendage is now shiny with overuse. But a fightback has started. You may have read in our sister paper The National about a Facebook campaign which has been launched in defence of Bobby – “Get them telt” was one supporter’s succinct piece of advice to whichever council functionary has the job of admonishing tourists – and last week there was another development when signs began appearing around the dog’s neck saying: “Hands Off Bobby.” Will they work? Will the tourists keep their paws to themselves? Don’t hold your breath.
Clockwise from top left: Greyfriars Bobby, Jon Snow and Nigel Farage