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Archive for November, 2010

There is a nice moment in George W Bush’s excellent book, Decision Points, in which he recounts the first time he set foot in the Oval Office as President:

The door to the Rose Garden swung open. I looked up and saw Dad.

“Mr. President,” he said. He was wearing a dark suit, his hair still wet from the hot bath he’d taken to thaw out.

“Mr. President,” I replied.

He stepped into the office, and I walked around the desk. We met in the middle of the room. Neither of us said much. We didn’t need to. The moment was more moving than either of us could have expressed.

Regular readers may recall that I’m not a big fan of Damon Albarn. His empty posturing over the Middle East is a yawn and his snotty attitude to reality television is a case of copper-bottom hypocrisy.

In his latest outburst against the X Factor he let slip what his real issue is with the show. “I actually find it a bit threatening,” he told Sky News. Well yes, that’s always been the issue many stars have with reality television. Established artists like the 42-year-old Albarn resent the leg-up into the industry that the X Factor gives to young hopefuls.

If I was him I’d feel threatened by Leona Lewis and JLS too! I’m still loving this series, including the spike it has given to sales of my biography of Simon Cowell. My vote remains with the wonderful Katie Waissel with a side-support for One Direction.

In other pop news I’d like to offer a hearty mazal tov to Rachel Stevens who has given birth to a baby girl, her first child. Several years ago I spent three days with Rachel for a magazine feature I was writing about her. She was absolutely wonderful to hang out with. She is very small, very beautiful and very sweet but with a palpable slice of icy ambition. What’s not to love?

Congrats to her and her hubbie Alex Bourne!

‘War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.’
John Stuart Mill

One of the exisiting pro-Israel organisations in Britain that deserves a lot of respect is the Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY). It organised a week-long vigil for Gilad Shalit in July, and I will always remember the smile on the face of Gilad’s father Noam as I showed him my photographs of the vigil.

I have met several of the FZY team at various events, including Sunday’s conference at the Israeli Embassy. They’re an impressive and friendly bunch.

The FZY has recently re-launched its website so why not head over there now. You can read all about the organisation’s ideology and work, support it with a donation and find out which members of the team have Bieber fever.

*Taken from a Matisyahu lyric

I’ve written before about the prospect of Justin Bieber becoming Justin Bubbeleh.

This is from Jon Ronson’s interview with Justin in today’s Guardian:

“Are you Jewish?” asks Justin.

“Yes,” I say.

“Nice,” he says.

He recites the first line of the Shema – the Jewish morning and evening prayer – getting it syllable perfect: “Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai ‘Ehad.”

Nice, I say. My internationally bestselling biography of Justin Bieber is out now.

Just returned from the launch of StandWithUs UK at the Israeli Embassy. I’ll post a full report and some photographs in the next few days. Suffice to say that my speech seemed to go very well, the other speakers were fascinating, I got an Israeli Embassy pen and had shawarma on the way home.

Good times. Congratulations to my good friend Gili Brenner for arranging such an amazing and inspiring day. Welcome to the UK, StandWithUs!

Can you guess which of the following I am doing on Sunday?

a) Taking part in an authentically-costumed medieval battle re-enactment in Suffolk

b) Performing my debut single (an epic prog-rock/ragtime fusion) on The X Factor results show

c) Starting a hunger strike in Trafalgar Square in protest at Melissa Cohen’s firing on The Apprentice

d) Fascistically refereeing the FA Cup clash between Burton Albion and Oxford United

e) Giving a speech at the Israeli Embassy in London about how to advocate for Israel online

The correct answer is ‘e’. I’m excited to be speaking at the Israeli Embassy. Short of finally receiving my much-dreamed-of Mossad call-up, this is about as good as it gets.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully it will be something like this…

© Copyright Chas Newkey-Burden. All Rights Reserved. Thanks to Chris Morris.