Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Oops I did it again...

    Jessica Elgot
    Jul 9, 2009

    After the JC reported last week that Britney Spears is to take up a role in a new holocaust film The Yellow Star of Sophia and Elton it seems the superstar has been getting into character.

    She's been spotted sporting a Magen David while strolling the streets of Paris with her son Jayden James.

    New boyf Jason Trawick is Jewish, and Brit's reportedly signed up a mystery rabbi to get clued up on Jason's religion.

  • Yippee (or whatever the Hebrew is)

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 8, 2009

    Hooray, hooray - Easyjet is launching flights to Tel Aviv from November 2.
    The lead-in prices are remarkably cheap: just over £100 return plus £8 each way if you check a bag in. Presumably food is extra but it's very tempting.
    The problem, unfortunately, is that it doesn't stay that way. When Thomson launched its all too short-lived series of London/Tel Aviv flights a couple of years ago, the first fares were relatively low, too; I flew in January 2008 for about £150 return and thought myself very lucky.
    This Pesach, however, I ended up getting one of the last Thomson flights to Israel (I hadn't planned in advance to be in Tel Aviv), and paid a stinging £586. You could easily pay that on a scheduled flight - and you wouldn't pay extra for food and you'd get a decent seat pitch and a more generous baggage allowance.
    El Al, which has just moved from Stansted to Luton, was just starting to feel the benefit of flying from a north-west-London-friendly airport. Anecdotally I hear more people enjoy flying from Luton because it's local (-ish), accessible, intimate, and the parking is cheap.
    Now that Easyjet is going to offer Tel Aviv flights from Luton, too, I predict the airport is going to become a zoo. But it will be a bearable (sorry) zoo if - and only if - Easyjet keeps its prices low. Please, Stelios - you know it makes sense.

  • Does Harry Potter's Jewish humour cross the line?

    Jessica Elgot
    Jul 8, 2009

    What's Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe's best Jewish joke?

    "Did you hear how copper wire was invented? Two Jews fighting over a penny."

    The 19-year-old actor, who is Jewish through his mother told the Guardian Weekend magazine that he was "very proud of being Jewish".

  • A breed apart

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    Intriguing insight into the Royal Family in today's Mail:

    Royal favourite and TV pundit Alastair Bruce will remember his recent
    stay with the Queen for all the wrong reasons  -  for the Falklands
    veteran ended up in hospital after choking on a piece of beetroot over

    looked worse than it actually was,' Bruce, national events commentator
    for Sky, told friends. A member of the Royal Company of Archers  -  the
    Queen's bodyguards in Scotland  -  and a herald of the College of Arms,
    Alastair was among 20 guests invited to an intimate dinner with the
    Queen at Windsor Castle.

  • Hidden from it all

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    I got home late last night and went straight to bed. I've not yet looked at a paper this morning. And I couldn't face Today on the way in, so I listened to some Bach.

    All of which means I am, as of this moment, one of the few people on the planet to have heard not a sound and seen not one single image from Wacko Jacko's memorial. 

    If only I could ensure it stayed like that for the rest of the day...but the papers beckon.

  • Major Miller's au revoir again

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    Well, that was a damp squib. Uttoxeter was abandoned last night after being unable to clear a waterlogged crossing on the course and an ambulance got stuck in the mud.

    So with Nicky Henderson being unable to make entries, it looks like that's it for the summer. That's racing...

    UPDATE: Change of plan. He is being moved to Oliver Sherwood so we can get another run into him, and will be entered for Worcester and Uttoxeter a week today.

  • Where's more expensive; London or Tel Aviv?

    Candice Krieger
    Jul 7, 2009

    London is the 16th most expensive city in the world to live in, according to the latest figures by consultants Mercer. While it has dropped 13 places from last year, it is still above Tel Aviv, but only just. The Israeli city is sitting just behind in 17th. Tokyo has knocked Mexico off the top spot. Must be all that sushi.

    Here's the full list, courtesy of Mercer's survey: 

  • Out to lunch

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 7, 2009

    Ed Balls has just posted a bizarre tweet:

    on way to Cabinet.9am start not v family-friendly.Thank goodness for grandparents...

    What time does he think most people start their jobs? 10.30, 11? I'd guess that most people start work at or by 9am. 

  • Ecclestone and Mandelson, hand in hand still

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 7, 2009

    Yesterday we carried on this site a JC interview with Bernie Ecclestone in which he apologised for his remarks about Hitler.

    It's not surprising that he wanted to kill off the story asap - his remarks on Saturday had gone round the world with the speed at which the internet disseminates news and were (in fact, they still are) threatening to undermine, if not destroy, his position. 

    I now know who was advising Mr Ecclestone on his crisis management strategy. Step forward Lord Mandelson, who had at least one lengthy conversation with Bernie Ecclestone yesterday and who told him what best to do to kill off the story. 

  • Puff at your peril

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 7, 2009

    Out and about yesterday, I was surprised to see a couple of men in kippot standing outside a kosher restaurant having a cigarette. Smoking Jews are an increasingly uncommon sight these days and rabbis have debated whether tobacco should be proscribed.