As I pointed out on 15 July, newly selected Reading West Labour candidate Naz Sarkar gave a less than convincing interview to Andrew Peach of BBC Radio Berkshire. Since I wrote that initial article the story has been picked up by Iain Dale and someone has made a YouTube clip of the interview which has now passed 5,800 viewings and is still rising:
My colleague Cllr Dave Luckett has discovered that Oliver Kamm of the Times has run the story, calling it the “Interview of the Year”, and a Suburu spotters page has featured the interview, as well as the Army gossip site “ARRSE”. Paul Waugh of the Evening Standard has described the interview as “the funniest thing on YouTube tonight”.
It is a testament to the power of blogging that a story that I broke just two days ago has spread across the Internet and into the mainstream media so quickly.
There is a new ICM poll reported today of voting intentions in the Norwich North constituency which is facing a by-election next Thursday. The poll suggests that the Conservatives lead in this formerly Labour seat, with the Lib Dems and the Greens fighting it out for a distant third place:
Lib Dem 15%
There are no figures given for the various other independents and minor party candidates which suggests that they are failing to register on the electorate’s radar.
UPDATE: I am told that these are the same figures that were published by ICM three weeks ago. I am therefore checking whether this is indeed a new poll as the linked article states!
UPDATE2: This poll does seem to be the one published last month. The ICM website has it here. The Yahoo Politics site appears to have been misled!!
This has to be one of the funniest films I have seen in a very long time. For sheer shock value it is fantastic but to say that Sacha Baron Cohen pushes the boundaries at the risk of life and limb doesn’t begin to describe it. It is hard at times to tell what was genuine and what was acted but clearly some scenes such as luring American Presidential candidate Ron Paul into a bedroom and then Brüno proceeding to drop his trousers was not staged. However the most compelling scenes were Brüno meeting the head of Islamic terrorist group the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and suggesting that “King” Osama looked like a dirty wizard or Santa Claus. He is also filmed seeking to mediate between Jewish and Palestinian politicians.
Baron Cohen has created the “19 year old” character Brüno who is a failed gay Austrian fashion reporter seeking his fortune in the US. He intends to be “the most famous Austrian since Adolf Hitler” and reactions in the film suggest that he is probably about as popular with some. Some of the funniest scenes are when he appears on a US talk show with his black baby “OJ” which he “swapped for an i-pod”. The audience reaction shows that this was genuine horror at what they saw and at the end of the programme his baby is taken from him by Social Services.
A lot of the scenes were filmed in 2008 and some made the news at the time as Baron Cohen’s character was black-listed by numerous promoters and celebrities. How he survived staging a cage fight in Arkansas, when he began as “straight Dave” before ending up kissing a man in the ring, is amazing. I really thought that he would get lynched by the mob of red-neck men AND women who were yelling abuse and throwing items including chairs at them.
Following the death of Michael Jackson a scene of Brüno tricking La Toya Jackson to get Michael’s phone number was cut. She would have been shown seated on a Mexican man and eating sushi off a naked Mexican. However, a similar scene involving Paula Abdul was left in, before she is shown storming out of the interview.
The film is certified at 18 in the UK, although there is a cut version that will be a 15 released shortly. The 18 rating is due to simulated sex scenes and full-frontal male nudity which will be cut from the version to be known as “Brüno – Snipped”. The two versions will be shown side by side around the world but not in Ukraine where it has been banned due to “obscene language, homosexual scenes, scenes of sadism, as well as a social behaviour that could harm public morals”. The previous “Borat” film was also banned in the Ukraine, though not in Kazakhstan.
What on earth Baron Cohen will come out with next to top this is beyond me. The creator of “Ali G” and “Borat” is probably now on the death list of numerous organisations around the world by now. I can thoroughly recommend this film to anyone who is broad-minded enough to enjoy its risqué and camp humour. The laughs and gasps around the packed cinema as each scene unfolded, suggested that others shared my reactions.
Watch the official movie trailer here.