The Blog

What Kind Of Week Has It Been? 21 February 2014

You'd think a George Clooney film being released on Valentine's Day would garner a very familiar torrent of questions along the likes of "Mr Clooney, who is your date this year? Are her legs taller than you again?" But oh no. For some reason, the pervading question was "Mr Clooney, what are your thoughts on The Parthenon?"

And that's how one of Hollywood's biggest stars came to have a weekend-long row with Boris Johnson over centuries old nicked artefacts, replete with inevitable "losing his marbles" jokes. Of course, the likes of The Telegraph were putting the case for keeping the Elgin Marbles here, but ultimately, when the likes of George and Bill Murray (to say nothing of longtime marbles expert and quizmaster, William G Stewart) says they should go back, who are we to argue? Bill is a doctor, after all. Well, he was in Ghostbusters.

Clooney and Murray weren't asked for their thoughts on Scottish independence, but lord knows there are plenty of actors throwing in their threepenny bit into that debate. So too is David Bowie, who chose to shake up a stultified, horrifically corporate BRIT Awards with a bit of a watercooler movement. In this instance, delivering a message to Scotland that sounded like a piece of dialogue from a resuscitation scene in Grey's Anatomy, through the medium of Kate Moss. So too is the President of the European Commission, although in a much more sober way, through the medium of Andrew Marr. For someone who spent his ten years in office dealing with and welcoming expansion, his attitude to Scotland joining the EU as its own entity was surprisingly, even suspiciously chilly. And why did he suggest Spain might veto their entry when they don't seem all that fussed? Maybe it has something to do with David Cameron's other looming referendum. But while the PM is consumed by floods, he probably feels lucky he's not in the state Tony Blair is currently in. Not even Nigel Lawson would argue Blair's mire isn't man made.

But if the independence debate or relative awfulness of Prime Ministers creates an odd sense of lesser of two evils, consider the horror of the following question: who would you side with in a fight between Michael Gove and Simon Cowell? The answer may surprise you.

Speaking of which, in what sort of homophobic opium den has former Irish rugby forward Neil Francis been spending his time? He gave a bizarre interview in which he said rugby is too manly for gays, which sounds like a really ill-advised slogan campaign for Yorkie. He also claimed gay men were more accustomed to fields of activity like hairdressing and said conversely that he had no interest in ballet. He actually said this.

It's small wonder Ireland's attitude to sex is as it is, especially when you have students being bound to each other in school. It's not as kinky as it sounds though, as the students are being bound by sellotape, by religious workshopping abstineers. Tearing off the sellotape serves as an allegory for pre-marital sex, because according to the Catholic Church, sex and adhesive stationery are exactly the same. What must they think of Pritt Stick? But essentially, they're hoping that by painfully yanking it off, you never think of doing the same.

Ireland's embarrassment has been assuaged somewhat by the slightly disproportionate pride that only seeing a niche thing you recognise from home show up on EastEnders can illicit. In this case, a Gaelic Football shirt in the Queen Vic. 'What a larf!', you might think, unless your name is Willie Frazer, who reckons it's nothing short of creeping terrorism. As it goes, it wasn't a GAA shirt but a PE kit from a school in Ballymena (the colours of which would have been worn by Brendan Rogers and the world's most protective father at one point). The again, Willie Frazer has in the past fundamentally confused the Italian and Irish flag, and dressed as Abu Hamza for a court appearance, so...

But if it's sport and zealotry you want, look no further than the Thierry Henry Q&A session on Twitter this week. Now, this is a man who was a member of one of the greatest teams to ever set feet on a field, won every major championship going, and also flogged a few Renaults with one of the better ad slogans of the last few decades. But what came up ad infinitum? That's right, his handball that shafted Ireland before the 2010 World Cup. People don't forget. And of course, they're quite right.