I have been the victim of a terrible hoax. Conrad Brunner, my colleague and trusted friend, has PRETENDED to be George Clooney and accused me of insulting him in my blog.
This led me to write a grovelling public apology to George, and then boast to all my friends and colleagues for hours on end that George Clooney reads my blog and calls me "hot stuff" (or words to that effect).
It was a vicious, malicious hoax, from start to finish. But many of you may be wondering how I even fell for it in the first place.
Well, for a start the physical resemblances between George and Conrad are uncanny.
Only their mothers can tell them apart
Then there was the writing. It simply never occurred to me that Conrad could write something quite this good (see below) whereas it was totally obvious to me that if George were to send me a personal missive (even if a bollocking) it would be funny, self-deprecating and charming. Con's style, as he admits himself, can only be described as "cold and abrupt".
Plus, it was a day of many bollockings - and if the whole world had decided to bollock me that day, why SHOULDN'T that include George Clooney?
The master touch, of course, was Clooney denying he was a "craven arriviste" - this was so good that Richard and I spent much of the evening debating how to pronounce it and marvelling over and over again at Clooney's erudition.
When I finally found out about the hoax (Con rang me at 11pm, bent double with laughter) I was still mystified. Con never reads any of my emails, or my blog, so how had he even found out about my Darfur appeal? Plus, Conrad is exceptionally busy - WAY busier than George - even when George is right slap bang in the middle of Cannes Film Festival promoting Ocean's 13... it never occurred to me that Conrad would have the TIME to write a fake George bollocking.
Plus, Conrad never calls me "baby". If feeling exceptionally affectionate or after a massive favour, he calls me "hun", but that's the sum of it.
There were signs of course if I had been smart enough to read them. For a start, the George missive did not start every line with >>>>> (like all emails from PokerStars are supposed to)... as in:
>>>>>"Mad, didn't you catch the speech I gave at the UN last year? You
>>>>>know, the one which made headlines around the world,
>>>>>with video highlights on all major news channels?"
Then there was the small question of how did George have time to read my blog? Well, my friend Raymond answered that one for me... obviously George employs a small army of secretaries whose sole occupation is to trawl the web for unflattering references - and then George personally writes the bollockings.
Well, it's all by the by. I am actually MORE flattered that Conrad reads my blog and bothered writing to complain - on George's behalf - than if George had. Plus, while George is, as I write below, undeniably the World's Most Attractive Man, Conrad is close to being the World's Funniest. It was a superb wind-up.
Oh, and by the way, I counted up how many Google references there are if you type in "Conrad Brunner" and "Darfur" - er, 10 - and he only gets that many because he is wittering on about PokerStars qualifiers on the same page as someone else writing something worthy about Darfur. For the record, I only get one Google reference but AT LEAST I WAS WRITING ABOUT DARFUR!
As penance, I think Conrad should make a MASSIVE donation to savedarfur.org THIS MORNING. I will let you know if he does.