Ian O'Doherty: And the magic word is ... ARRRGGHHH!
One of the things I most enjoyed about last week was sniffily informing my mates and colleagues that Leonard Cohen is overrated.
As it happens, I don't think Leonard Cohen is overrated at all. In fact, I admire him hugely.
But the sheer levels of adoration being directed towards him by everyone I know became rather grating, so you know yourself, I decided to have some fun at their expense.
One of the arguments I used was that he simply appealed to a particularly middle-class audience, the kind of eejits who boast about bringing their hideous offspring to the Electric Picnic -- that sort of thing.
And, as it turns out, I might not have been far off the truth.
Herald movie critic George Byrne went to Cohen on Friday night.
Like me, he wouldn't be a fan of little people -- children, not midgets, you idiots -- going to gigs and he spoke with a mixture of rage and bafflement about how, an hour into Cohen's three-and-a-half-hour set, the entire block he was sitting in was shocked to hear a baby crying.
What sort of person would bring a child to a gig like that, he whined into his pint.
When I pointed out that maybe it was someone's ringtone, he looked aghast and spluttered: "A baby crying as your ringtone? What class of a person would do something like that? Jesus, the world's gone mad."
Well, I guess there's no pleasing some people.
Really? You sure about that?
As the row over the publication of the extremely boring topless pictures of Kate Middleton (you may have heard about it) rumbles on interminably, there has been the usual hand-wringing and debating.
And I was interested in what one commentator had to say.
The pictures were soft porn, she claimed, and were obviously directed at men because men like porn.
The insinuation was that men were sex-obsessed morons and . . . well, I can't really make an argument against that point.
But as for the insinuation that only men get off on porn, I have one question -- what is Fifty Shades of Grey about? Knitting? Shopping for shoes? Other girly pursuits?
Right, he's out of the gang . . .
A mate of mine who happens to be gay -- it's not something that defines him, he says, it's just one aspect of his nature -- is constantly frustrated at how other gay people want to co-opt him to various causes.
And it would appear that Rupert Everett feels the same way.
The actor has fallen foul of the gay rights lobby after he gave an interview in The Sunday Times in which he decried the idea of having two gay parents, saying that his mother thinks children should have a man and woman as parents, and he added that: "I can't think of anything worse than having two gay parents. That's just my opinion."
This has sparked outrage with numerous gay rights groups such as GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) condemning him for his "outdated opinions" while other groups have had a right go at him and demanded that he go out and meet gay parents and their happy kids.
Um, guys, guys, a quick question -- what part of the phrase "that's just my opinion" don't you understand?
After all, it's not as if gay people have some secret meeting every week where they set the agenda for how they all feel.
Or -- cue sinister music -- do they?
After all, can a gay person like Everett be anti-gay?
Answers on the back of a fiver to the usual address.
Actually, I'm completely skint, so make that answers on the back of a tenner to the usual address, please.
A sad loss
Part of mine and Mrs iSpy's weekend routine involves recording the Sunday Supplement on Sky, then watching it just before a match while a nice roast is in the oven.
It's a comforting part of winter and the round-table discussion between the football writers is always informative and entertaining -- and when Henry Winter and Shaun Custis are on together, also quite heated.
It was hosted up until last year by Brian Woolnough (pictured), who was an engaging and hugely knowledgeable figure in the game.
He began to lose weight almost in front of our eyes last year and didn't return for this season.
He died yesterday of bowel cancer and will be missed.
God help us if there's war . . .
When you think of German soldiers, you tend to think of pretty unpleasant things, or have I just been watching the Military channel too much?
But when you think of them, timidity wouldn't be a trait that immediately springs to mind.
But it seems they don't make them like they used to.
German squaddies in Munster have been reprimanded by their sergeant -- after they refused to do night training because of a pack of
"They sneak up on us without any sound and try to bite us," says one soldier, while another was disciplined because "he squealed during the night training mission and gave his position away".
Honestly, the SS would be so ashamed.