Friday, May 25, 2007


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 THIS MORNING. I will let you know if he does.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

George Clooney - an apology

As my friends know, I am a die-hard campaigner for ANYTHING that will help end the genocide in Darfur. I badger everyone I meet, I sign all my emails with "join please", I sign petitions, I make phone calls, I give money etc etc. And I was over the moon when PokerStars decided to give $1 million to the Not on Our Watch charity started by George Clooney and other members of the Ocean's 13 cast.

However, in my zeal to publicise the upcoming charity tournament on May 27 on PokerStars (in which the entire prize pool will be going to NOOW and be matched, $ for $, by PokerStars), I unwittingly upset Mr Clooney.

My blog implied that Mr Clooney had only recently got involved with the Darfur crisis - and quite SOME TIME after me. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!! I worded it badly (I have since re-worded it) and Mr Clooney was understandably pissed off.

His response was:

"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?"

"If you don't believe me, you can look here, read the stories and even see the performance I gave - one of my best, I think. "

"But you take me for some craven arriviste ("Now George Clooney has got involved")? I may be regularly voted Hollywood's Most Desirable, but I have a keen polical conscience and I've been committed to this cause longer than any member of the House of Representatives."

"Try Googling "George Clooney" and "Darfur" and just count the hits baby!"
(I did: the answer is 728. )

Anyway, apart from being understandably thrilled that Mr Clooney reads my blog and calls me baby, I am truly and humbly apologetic - mainly because without George Clooney's involvement, far far fewer people in the world would know what's going on in Darfur.


Dear George - I'm deeply sorry if I have offended you. I am totally aware of all the work you have done to make people aware of Darfur. If it hadn't been for you, savedarfur would have FAR fewer members, including myself. As far as I know, they helped facilitate your visit to Darfur and that put their campaign - and the crisis - on the map.

Your involvement gave me the assurance I needed, when I first came across their website, that savedarfur was a bonafide organisation (it could just have been an elaborate web hoax for all I knew) and I have been vigorously supporting them ever since. It is not the fact that you are a star(!), simply the fact that your involvement proved they were authentic.

I am also TOTALLY aware that you are not a "craven arriviste" - as far as I know, you have been an activist forever and make the best use possible of the fact that you are, undeniably, the Most Attractive Man in the World. But it's only your politics that make you attractive to me! (ahem).

Your efforts and involvement have been one of the most important factors in helping turn around the situation in Darfur. It has ENSURED it gets coverage. And I am also thrilled you have set up NOOW which has a wider remit than savedarfur.

All I was doing was trying to drum up business for the next tourney. Sorry for causing offence - and do please play!!! May 27, 15:30 ET. I'll be there under the user id travismiller (I came 7th in the last one and won a signed DVD of your new film)

Love Mad

Monday, May 21, 2007


Only a few weeks ago, this man had LONG hair, NO motorbike and NO babes. Then he went shopping - the rest is history.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Save Darfur and win a trip to LA!

For some time now, I've been a supporter of the organisation which is lobbying to raise public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. They are doing amazing work.

George Clooney and other members of the cast of Ocean's 13 such as Brad Pitt and Don Cheadle have started their own charity called Not on Our Watch which - as well as lobbying - aims to generate lifesaving humanitarian assistance and protection for the people of Darfur.

PokerStars is giving this charity incredible backing. They are donating $1 million directly to the charity and also running three online tournaments to support it. The total prize pool from these tournaments (which only cost $10 to enter, with $10 rebuys, and $10 add-on) is going to Not on Our Watch and will be matched, $ for $, by PokerStars.

The prize for the top four players in the next tournament - which takes place 15.30ET (21.30 British summer time) on May 27 - is tickets to the June 5th premiere of Ocean's 13 in Los Angeles plus 2 nights hotel and $2k for travel/spending. The top 18 receive autographed copy of “Ocean's 13” DVD. Full details are on:

If you are able to play on PokerStars, PLEASE support this charity and take part in the tournament, and get your friends to take part too. If you are a journalist, PLEASE spread the word through your website, blog, publication etc.

I think PokerStars has been incredibly generous and I am thrilled they are supporting this cause. Please do take part.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Missed April.