IF I hear the name Jean-Claude Juncker again any time soon I shall scream.
EVEN as I scrieve they are tearing down statues and unscrewing plaques to Rolf Harris, the antipodean pervert. Like the odious Jimmy Savile, Mr Harris had his fans, of whom I am happy to say I was never one. They say he can paint but they say the same of Damien Hirst. He could also play the didgeridoo, but who can't? Indeed, Mr Harris once taught Mr Savile to play it. Should you be so inclined you may witness this on You'reAtube. Mr Harris also professed to be a singer. Once, he appeared at Glastonbury, delighting the ignorant multitudes who sang along to Two Little Boys, perhaps the most sugary song ever written. By spooky coincidence the BBC is showing a documentary, brilliantly fronted by my old friend, Howard Jacobson. It is a homage to four antipodeans who, like Mr Harris, left their native heath to find fame and fortune in Blighty. They are Germaine Greer, Robert Hughes, Barry Humphries and Clive James, all of whom have enriched our lives.
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LUNCH with my old amigo Dugald Cameron, erstwhile heidbummer of the ill-fated Glasgow School of Art. He is a reader of The Jackdaw, a bi-monthly journal which pokes its stiletto-tipped beak into the paunch of the art establishment, the majority of whom couldn't tell the difference between a Harris and a Holbein. I am drawn to a page labelled "stunts", which includes a censored photograph of a performance artist in Germany called Milo Moire who makes abstract paintings by firing eggs from her private parts on to a canvas. In public! This, we're led to believe, "is a powerful feminist statement about women, fertility and creativity". What we're not told is whether the eggs were raw or boiled. One assumes the former. Also highlighted by The Jackdaw is America-based, Paisley-born Anya Gallaccio who a few months ago covered four walls of an Edinburgh gallery with 40 kilos of Belgian chocolate in an effort to "explore issues of gluttony, excess, temptation and decay". How did I manage to miss this? And how thankful I am.
TODAY the Palio is run in Siena, the realisation of which has awakened horrible memories of my last visit to the Tuscan gem. It was May and to our amazement we found at the last minute a room in a characterful hotel in the middle of town. Soon we learned why, as first I then the Home Secretary raced between bed and bog as whatever we put in came expressly out. It transpired that we had booked into a place immediately beneath which was the cafe where students gathered from mid-morning to the wee sma' hours to celebrate their graduation, often to the accompaniment of a well-amplified band. I enquired of the receptionist, a student himself, if anything could be done about the din. He shook his head mournfully and said I could always contact the carabinieri. Later, when the HS's legs had lost a little of their rubberiness we got as far as the Campo where the Palio is run. As we lingered over a half-eaten omelette we watched in prurient fascination as a waitress with the sense of humour of a traffic warden explained in chilling detail to a young American tourist that while in the US burgers may come with a bun and chips that is not generally so in Siena. It was a perfect example of what happens when an immovable force meets an unstoppable object. Except where the young Yank was concerned the immovable force and the unstoppable object was a pipe-cleaner-thin waitress who was as unwavering as an executioner.
NOT a day passes without us being told that some celeb or other has joined the No bodies. For instance, there was somebody recently who has a part in Game Of Thrones. Then we've had Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Pope apparently saying Neigh to independence. The latest "person" to be asked how he might theoretically vote is Shrek, or, to be more accurate, Mike Myers, the Canadian actor who does the ogre's Scottish accent. "I can't answer," Mr Myers told Today, "because he's not actually real." This is the first sensible reply one has heard to this dumbest of questions.
TO Texas, where Governor Rick Perry has caused umbrage because he has let it be known he will not be wearing cowboy boots for the foreseeable future. Needless to say, Texans are not amused. In particular, one Rocky Carroll, who has made boots for George Dubya and his dad, was so upset he phoned the guvnor and demanded an explanation. Mr Carroll was once attacked outside his shop and, after an exchange of gunfire, wounded. Gov Perry called to commiserate and told him: "Throw that .380 away. I'm going to give you a Sig Sauer .45 for Christmas." Thus spake the spirit of the invasion of Eyerack.