Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Never mind the kugelsack, Brüno has real chutzpah

    Marcus Dysch
    Jul 20, 2009

    If you thought the naked fight scene with Azamat Bagatov in Borat was as much as you could bear, it might be best to stay away from Brüno.

    Last night I went to see Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest offering. Arriving at the cinema I innocently wondered what could possibly be in the film to have led the classification board to give it an 18 certificate.

    An hour and a half later, and after a level of obscenity that shocked even this gritty Northerner, it was pretty obvious.

  • Help wanted

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 20, 2009

    Now we know that the Palestinians are in trouble. I have just had an unlikely begging email asking for an immediate $3,500 to rescue someone who is - yes, you guessed it - lost in Nigeria after having been robbed in its capital, Lagos.

    Asking for help - allegedly - is none other than the thoroughly admirable Lucy, wife of Palestinian intellectual Sari Nusseibeh. In the real world Lucy divides her time between Oxford and Ramallah, working on dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians and helping Palestinian teenagers.

    Quite how Lucy Nusseibeh's name was picked to front a Nigerial email scam is a mystery. All I can say is, from knowledge, Lucy doesn't need the money - even if the Palestinian Authority does.

  • The Hizbollah ‘spy’ and the Vatican conspiracy theory

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 20, 2009

    A bizarre story from Ha’aretz.

    “The Pope and the cardinals of the Vatican help organize tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews, according to a booklet being distributed to Israel Defense Forces soldiers,” it begins.

    Far-fetched? The report goes on to say that the IDF has halted distribution after doubts (not suprisingly) were cast on the veracity of the claims. A soldier is quoted as saying: “The book is distributed regularly and everyone reads it and believes it. It's filled with made-up details but is presented as a true story.”

  • A Class Act

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 20, 2009

    It seems I am the proud author of the first book on James Purnell's shelf.

    On Saturday he told the Guardian that he had spent his time since leaving the Cabinet rearranging his books:

    In his time on the backbenches Purnell has set about arranging his
    thoughts, both literally and metaphorically – it took one weekend to
    arrange the books in his flat from A to Z (A Class Act, by his former
    cabinet colleague Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, to Emile Zola).

  • Barking

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 20, 2009

    This is what is known as cause for thought: it seems that 25 per cent of the British population are certifiably insane.

    Twenty-five per cent of the British public refuse to believe man has walked
    on the Moon, a survey conducted on behalf of E&T magazine has

    Although perhaps even more disturbingly,

  • Naomi Klein's view of Jews

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 20, 2009

    Naomi Klein, poster girl for so many on the left, spoke last week at a seminar in Ramallah. Her words have received almost no coverage outside Israel. They should have done. Because they reveal something pretty revolting about the way she views Jews. 

    Jews, she said:

    even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free-card.

  • Back with a bang...

    Danny Caro
    Jul 17, 2009

    I know that football is a funny old game but saw the same GB Open football team go from the ridiculous to the sublime within the space of two days.

    A poor display against France was followed by a top-class performance against the boys from Brazil of all teams.

    It made me feel proud to be British as I know that this is how the team can play.

  • Stumped...

    Danny Caro
    Jul 17, 2009

    I thought that trying to explain the offside rule to my wife was hard but that is nothing compared to explaining the rules of cricket to my Israeli cab driver.

    I mean how do you explain LBW and the different ways of getting out?

    I tried hand gestures but he looked stumped!