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Charlie Sheen

A be-saltired buffalo <em>Picture: Graeme Murdoch</em>

A be-saltired buffalo Picture: Graeme Murdoch

By Graeme Murdoch

Saturday 2 April, +9C
To the Fox and Fiddle bar in Toronto to watch the cricket cup final from Mumbai. The bar is owned by Aravin Appa, a Sri Lankan, and the three levels are full with more than 400 India fans, the owner’s five daughters and me. No alcohol until 11am and the mood is expectant from both sides.

I have 50 bucks on India because although Sri Lanka have performed impressively in the tournament they have yet to be tested. This is it. India win and I still have most of the day left.

Later, I drive my exhibition down to University of Guelph where it will remain for a week. I install next day in the library at the College of Arts, full of students whose heads raise occasionally as my host Graeme Morton of the Centre for Scottish Studies does the introduction.

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After a brief talk, we retire to the faculty club for a drink and are joined by Dr Bruce Durie, director of Genealogy at Strathclyde University, who is guest speaker for a week and Caroline Bennett from Radio Scotland.

Sunday 3 April, +12C
Scotland Week begins. Another university, Rutgers in the US, is not as classy as Guelph in its choice of speakers. They have just paid $32,000 to a fake-tanned, large-breasted entertainer called Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to give a talk to students about partying and tanning.

Surely this idiocy will cost the university dearly in donors’ money from the parents of students considering enrolment? Mind you, just think how much she would have charged to do a talk on, say, ancient Nova Scotia poetry.

On the same day Charlie Sheen rants in Detroit and is booed off the stage. Result!

Monday 4 April, +11C
Along to College and Ossington to check out the only Scottish pub in Toronto. Yes, I know, unbelievable: lots of phoney Irish bars but this is the real (Mac)deal. Well-kept Deuchars IPA and 80/- on draught and haggis balls for lunch. It is run by Donna Wolff fae Huntly and her husband David. Barpersons from Dundee and Paisley. Ye caanae whack it, ken.

Later, back at the hotel, I have a bottle of Innis & Gunn Original with Nicol Rennie, the brewery’s international brand manager in Canada who generously brings round a box of 24 bottles for my goodie bags. Thanks, Russell and Dougal!

The city’s doyennes of upper-class domesticity reject an offer to star in the juggernaut TV franchise Real Housewives. Classy housewives in Toronto.

Tuesday 5 April, +9C
To the Granite Club for the Scot of the Year dinner, where Aberdeen-born Robert M Buchan is toasted as he receives his award. I am guest of John B MacMillan and the Scottish Studies Foundation, and when MC Doug Gibson permits me to say a few impromptu words about looking forward as well as back I shamelessly give my exhibition a plug. It seems my comments did not fall on deaf ears, as I get a lot of back-slapping two days later at yet another Scotland Week reception.

The musical entertainment is from soprano Meredith Hall, violinist Stefanie Hutka and the dancers from the Richardson School of Dance. Grand.

Carriages back to the Sassafraz for nightcaps with Bruce Durie and friends to catch up with Janet the Diva. Don’t ask!

Wednesday 6 April, +12C
Chill time. Launch party in evening at my hotel, the brand new Holiday Inn on Carlton. The Toronto glitterati are out for free swally and excellent wee plates of food created by executive chef Chris Moreland and his team. Coconut prawns – a winner all round. The mayor Rob Ford is there and tells me of his Scottish granny. Aye, me too your mayorship. Two, in fact.

This fine hotel will be my berth of choice in future visits. It has class and the friendliest staff I have met in a long time. And the director of engineering Davy Tonner is a Glaswegian and a Sellick fan.

Friday 8 April, +14C
Fly to Calgary with excellent Air Canada and catch up with The King’s Speech, then on to Canmore with my exhibition in a big box.

Saturday 9 April, +12C
My exhibition, This Is Who We Are – Part 2, opens in the town hall in Canmore. Music, beer and dancing. All short notice, it would not have happened but for my friend Sally Garen of the Three Sisters Scottish Festival Society, a tireless toiler on behalf of Scotland and the world’s best event organiser.

We all have a great night, even the stuffed buffalo gets in party mode as I drape him in the saltire.

Monday 11 April, +5C
Sushi dinner with Sal and Dr Jennifer Considine who heads up the Canadian Friends of Scotland as well as being visiting professor at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee. We try to avoid politics, but it is the elephant in the room.

We both want no change from our respective elections, but for different reasons. We agree that Alex Salmond is a winner, and so is Stephen Harper – although Jennifer will have to convince me next time we meet that the anticipated status quo will be good for Canada. We also agree that the cultural connections between Scotland and Canada are vigorous and beating heartily. We have plans for future enlightenment.

Canmore, I think, is my best place to be holed-up in Canada. It is the epicentre of friendliness. I will be sorry to leave tomorrow.

Cultural Connect Scotland

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Charlie Sheen – bombed in Detroit <em>Picture: Angela George</em>

Charlie Sheen – bombed in Detroit Picture: Angela George

Detroit. Home to the “Black Bottom” area where Aretha Franklin’s father opened his first church and where Ella, Ellington and Basie played. Home of the greatest record label of all time. Home to the clubs where Marshall Mathers first started freestyling.

To that rich heritage of entertainment, the Motor City will now go down in history as the first-ever landing spot for Charlie Sheen’s Violent Torpedo of Truth / Defeat Is Not An Option tour.

Highlights included… well, you know very well by now that there were no highlights.

Sheen’s two girlfriends kissed each other on stage, the actor asked said girlfriends to burn his Two and a Half Men shirt, and he announced from the stage: “I am finally here to identify and train the Vatican assassin locked inside each and every one of you.” He also charmed the crowd with “Let me tell you a story about crack. Figured Detroit was a good place to try this joke.”

He finished the first night of the Refunds Are Not An Option tour 20 minutes early – or, if you asked many in the audience, 80 minutes too late.

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It’s tempting to wonder what the individuals referred to by the actor himself as “trolls” and who paid to see him were expecting – the ghost of Peter Ustinov? Or even how Sheen would have gone at the old Glasgow Empire.

The good news for Scotland is that the rest of Sheen’s 20 dates are in the US. The bad news for Sheen is that he joins the all-time least promising nights out. There are gigs that don’t sell out. Even Noel Gallagher admits Oasis played to empty pubs at the start of their career.

There are live entertainment events that are disastrous, but are fondly remembered by some, like Daphne and Celeste’s memorable Reading festival appearance. There are bold attempts, like Rick Wakeman’s King Arthur On Ice, which if nothing else achieve unforgettable status. And then there are these:

Anthea Turner’s Perfect Housewife Tour
Axed before it was begun, the former Blue Peter presenter charged £16.50 for punters to hear her talk about dusting skirting boards. Remarkably, it never happened.

Carrie: The Musical
A Stephen King novel, an Academy Award-nominated Brian DePalma film, and an RSC production headed for Broadway. And then Off-Broadway. And then just off. If critics could have drenched it in pig’s blood, they would have.

Whitney Houston’s 2010 tour
Whitney’s UK performance in Birmingham of 2010 was the start of the Nothing But Love tour. Or, as it was known in the international press, the Nothing But Unnecessary Costume Changes, Bum Notes and Early Walkouts tour.

John Cale’s 1977 “Croydon chicken” incident
There is a famous quotation, most often attributed to Brian Eno and often rewritten, that only 1,000 people saw the Velvet Underground play live, but all that number subsequently went and formed a band. Not everyone who saw the Velvs’ founder member at The Greyhound in Croydon on 24 April, 1977 went on to decapitate a dead chicken.

An Audience with Iain Duncan Smith
Every bit as promising as it sounds. Sixty-seven people can attest to the fact that not all politicians are sell-outs.

Wilde: The Musical
Radio One breakfast show host fights instinct to write musical about Kim and goes for the Irish playwright. What could possibly go wrong? One night after opening, he found out.

End result? I Have Nothing to Declare But My Bankruptcy.

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Twitter logo <em>Picture: Simon.hess</em>

Twitter logo Picture: Simon.hess

“Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice,” Polonius advises Laertes before he leaves for Paris.

A good trick if you can manage it. Management guru Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people suggests as its number five “seek first to understand and then be understood.”

No one told Charlie Sheen.

The actor’s diatribe at Chuck Lorre, executive producer of Two and a Half Men, which led to his dismissal when domestic and drug abuse didn’t, looked like it would be the full stop in the sentence of his very public meltdown.

It was barely the semi-colon.

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After the Hot Shots! Part Deux star claimed he spent almost a decade “effortlessly and magically converting [Lorre’s] tin cans into pure gold”, there has been a stream of invective on commissioned interviews suggesting Sheen is solely in the tin-can industry.

This walking advert for scriptwriting and editing has scarcely been off TV (that was where the “I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen” comment aired), with his own chat show Sheen’s-Korner on internet streaming site ustream.tv, and back on the radio endorsing Rob Lowe as his successor on the middle-of-the-road sitcom.

The T-shirt manufacturers have also been busy.

The mental and physical welfare of Sheen has been relegated to a mere sideshow. Pretty much every British newspaper long ago ripped off Vanity Fair’s compare-and-contrast with Colonel Gaddafi.

And now the centre-stage story is that – like Kriss Akabusi and Roy Castle – Sheen is a record-breaker.

Twitter is the culprit. The random stream of gibberish on Sheen’s ustream feed ended after an hour or so. The drivel spouted during his radio and TV interviews were broken up by commercials. But the stream-of-consciousness of the Platoon actor’s tweets is seemingly never-ending.

He doesn’t discuss the craft of acting, or former colleagues. He isn’t even sharing his idiosyncratic political views. Nothing but seemingly meaningless buzz phrases such as Tigerblood and “building the perfect torpedo”, the hashtags #winning, #fastball, #chooseyourvice, and references to himself as “The Warlock”.

The tweets mean something to the 2,453,377 (at time of writing) followers, who are the social-media equivalent of drivers doing 40mph on the outside lane because they’re gawping at a car crash on the other side of the dual-carriageway. And, like those drivers, they should soon move on.

This has given Sheen an injection of attention around the time of his life when he needed a different kind of medication. He is now applying for a social media intern (not the same role as his nanny, you’d hope).

What’s galling is the assistance he received from all at Twitter HQ. Twitter, famously, does even less customer service than Facebook, and no longer verifies accounts. But when Sheen contacted them, they kicked off a squatter on his previous site, gave him tips (clearly not enough) about hashtagging, and helped point him in the direction of how to attach photos.

This might be a Tipping Point, of sorts, for Twitter. It used to be known as the playground for polymaths such as Stephen Fry to tweet to his 2.3 million followers (yes, 150,000 fewer than Sheen after three years) about everything from the duck-billed platypus to the Test score to the latest production of Das Rheingold to being stuck in a lift.

Imagine being stuck in a lift with Charlie Sheen. The powers that be at Twitter went out of their way to enable and encourage Sheen by giving him a voice when they knew there were millions of ears ready to listen. Their customer service department was opened for the day, and only for a sitcom actor who pulled in around £700,000 per episode. This was at a time of his life when real friends would have shepherded Sheen away from the spotlight.

He might say “I got magic and I got poetry in my fingertips, man” – but not when he’s typing his 140 characters.

All this activity landed Charlie Sheen in Guinness World Records as having acquired the biggest number of followers in a short space of time.

If only his tastes stopped at Guinness.

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caption: Melissa Leo <em>Picture: David Shankbone</em>

Melissa Leo Picture: David Shankbone

After he made The King’s Speech, Colin Firth must have known he’d be making a few more speeches. His last one, at the Oscars, wasn’t too bad. He thanked all the relevant parties, did the usual upper-class self-deprecating foppish thing and promised not to disco-dance.

The Academy Awards, like other gong shows this year, exemplified how the practice of those who are paid to read out words for a living can fall apart when they do not have the prop of a screenwriter. Oscars producers even banned the whipping out of bits of paper.

Listing collaborators, colleagues andfamily members was doing for the show ratings what Charlie Sheen has done in the past week for the Fathers 4 Justice movement. If they don’t have a prepared speech, bad things can happen.

Take 2011’s Best Supporting Actress Melissa Leo, who says “I’m kinda speechless” two minutes before she stops speaking, and drops the first F-bomb in the 83-year history of the Oscars, before nicking Kirk Douglas’ walking stick.

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It wasn’t quite Gwyneth levels of awfulness, but it wasn’t the Gettysburg Address, either. Natalie Portman thanked so many colleagues from the camera operators to the woman “who dressed me every day” (is that not her job?), it was surprising not to hear her end her speech with the phone-in staple “…and anyone else who knows me.”

Robbie Williams hardly improved on that at the BRITs, greeting Take That’s win for Best Group by shouting “Shabba” for reasons known only to him. Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys speeches haven’t been much more graceful.

The awards acceptance speech is something of a lost art. Ricky Gervais has some useful pointers – don’t cry (“it’s only an award”), keep it short, “especially if you’re not onscreen talent, no one wants to hear from them” – but here are a few others:

1 Be witty
Steve Martin picks up his Mark Twain award and says: “When I look at the list of people who have won this award, it makes me very satisfied. When I look at the list of people who have not won this award, it makes me even more satisfied.”

2 Thank everyone, but only if it’s a joke
Namedropped in John Cleese’s BAFTA award-winning speech – Jacques Cousteau, Soren Kierkegaard, Sonny Liston, the Leyton Orient strikers, the RSPB, St Francis of Assisi, the Planet Saturn and all of its rings … and last, but of course not least, God. He forgot his agent.

3 Thank no one
Johnny Vegas: “I want to thank loads of people but I keep thinking it’s just down to me and hard work.” Gervais and Steven Merchant took a similar tack after their 2003 Comedy Award. Besides, if you thank everyone and mean it, producers just wished they’d installed a trap door.

4 Just add the surprise element
Sandra Bullock won a 2010 Razzie for Worst Actress in the turkey All About Steve. Turning up was one surprise. Wheeling on stage a cart of DVDs for everyone in the audience so that they would re-evaluate their opinion of the film … no one saw that coming.

It wasn’t an awards ceremony, but Cleese again made sure no one dozed off during Graham Chapman’s memorial service when he added: “Good riddance to the freeloading bastard”. According to Cleese, it’s what he would have wanted.

5 Insult everyone
Don Rickles already had form. In a “roast” to Sinatra, he said: “It’s all over, Frank … gone.” Gene Kelly, George Burns, Orson Welles, Jack “Quincy” Klugman, Ronnie Reagan and others all got it in the neck. The smoking ban is not in evidence here. Paying tribute to Scorsese, he is equally insulting.

His acceptance speech for a plaque he received for performing at Caesars Palace Casino is rude to the casino and his representative, his wife, several denominations, Whoopi Goldberg and the residents of New Orleans: “Whoopi’s doing a benefit for Hurricane Katrina, but I won’t be there. I don’t believe in it. My house is fine.”

6 Freewheel
Mickey Rourke’s famous Independent Spirit Award win is a symphony of spontaneity – but you have to be Mickey Rourke to carry it off. He starts crying and dedicates the award to his dead dog, Loki. He goes on: “Whatever Eric Roberts did 15 years ago should be forgiven,” while everyone in the room starts Googling their smartphone to see what Eric Roberts’ decade-old misdemeanour actually was.

He threatens to kick the ass of The Office’s Rainn Wilson “That little blonde dude who did that thing” after an earlier skit, before taking in the decorative individual who hands out the trinket, the Santa Monica police department, the wrestling community, a producer friend of his – “he’s broke right now so needs the work” – and “everyone at Fox Searchlight, including the little one that I call ‘Gap Tooth’”.

7 Take revenge
Tina Fey smacks down bloggers who spewed out hate at her “Dianefan, cougarletter … you can suck it.” Imagine if Old Firm managers did that in post-match interviews. They’d be there all day.

8 Whatever you do, try to avoid shamelessly flaunting your private life especially if wearing a T-shirt with “Darfur” on it
These things stay on YouTube, as Rachel McAdams’ and Ryan Gosling’s subsequent sweethearts know only too well.

9 There’s only one thing worse than being talked about…
Robbie Williams again, at the 2000 BRITs, did manage to take the story on, as journalists like to say, suggesting a bout with Oasis’ Liam Gallagher. Result – headlines for weeks. One often-overlooked point about this story – hardman Liam let it be known he was not interested in the fight, via his publicist, via a newspaper.

10 Keep it short
When winning Best Supporting Actor for Goodfellas, Joe Pesci said: “It’s my privilege, thank you.” Pesci explained afterwards that it would be terrible to leave the stage with a piece of paper folded in your pocket which you hadn’t used. No excuse for that now. They’re banned.

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“Surely, you can’t be serious.”

I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”

As you’ll know by now, Leslie Nielsen has left us, aged 84. One of the many funny things about him was that he started off serious before being remembered as the source of a great deal of laughter.

Born the son of a Mountie, he reminisced about how he fired his imagination in the sub-zero conditions of Tulita (then Fort Norman) in Canada’s Northwest territories. He trained as an actor and moved to New York where he narrated documentaries and commercials before his second film, Forbidden Planet, propelled him to a range of small B-movies (and slightly bigger ones like 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure). It was Airplane! where he really found his groove. It was an entirely different kind of acting altogether. (It was an entirely different kind of acting.)

The power of Airplane!, as Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker knew well was in solid, reliable dramatic actors like Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Peter Graves and Nielsen delivering lines such as:

Dr Rumack (Nielsen) “How soon can you land?”
Clarence Oveur “I Can’t Tell.”
Rumack: “You can tell me. I’m a doctor.”

Actors often say that comedy is the most difficult part of their craft to nail and once Nielsen found his speciality, in Police Squad, Airplane! and The Naked Gun and a series of pale imitations, he was on his way to comic legend status. Few actors have been in the same movie as Pamela Anderson, Charlie Sheen and Simon Cowell. Every line was delivered with utter conviction, which is what made him so amusing.

When Nielsen was in his pomp, there were few funnier. You’ll have your own favourite lines from his movies. Feel free to add to these, but here are some to start you off.

Airplane! (1980)

Dr Rumack (Nielsen) You’d better tell the Captain we’ve got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.
Elaine (Julie Hagerty): A hospital? What is it?
Rumack (Nielsen): It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.

Police Squad (1982)

“Who are you and how did you get in here?”
I’m a locksmith and I’m a locksmith.”

The Naked Gun (1988)

“Bingo!” (See video below.)

The Naked Gun 2 1/2 (1991)

The truth hurts. Not as much as sitting on a bicycle with the seat missing, but the truth hurts.”

Naked Gun 33 1/3 (1994)

‘You might end up dead’ is my middle name..”

Wrongfully Accused (1998)

(Woman introduces herself.) “Cass Lake”
“No, Ryan Harrison. You’re mixing me up with some woman.”

<em>Picture: Made In Hollywood</em>

Picture: Made In Hollywood

Whatever you think of his recent films in the States, Ricky Gervais wins Paul-the-octopus-style points for prescience. At January’s Golden Globes, the comedian introduced one presenter with the quip: “I like a drink as much as the next man unless the next man is Mel Gibson.”

How does an Oscar-winning actor, producer and director make sure he doesn’t get invited to the 2011 Golden Globes? Act as Mel Gibson just has – that’s how.

There used to be one way to torpedo your Hollywood career; in the past week, the man who was evidently channeling his calmer side to play Mad Max, just found about five. Here is what has happened to some who have made similar mistakes:

Suspicion of Domestic Abuse

As opposed to the professional tantrum Christian Bale famously threw on the set of Terminator: Salvation at a cinematographer, a temper tantrum directed at your nearest and dearest is way more toxic for your image than a work row. There’s no way Bale is “done professionally” after his hissyfit – he’ll be in the next Batman.

Alec Baldwin’s angry phone call to his then 11 year-old daughter, where he addressed her as a “rude, thoughtless little pig” was potentially more damaging when leaked online.

Charlie Sheen spent most of Christmas Day 2009 in a cell after an alleged dispute with his wife.

What Mel Gibson did: vile answerphone messages to your ex.

Verdict: Charlie Sheen remains the highest paid actor in US television, with another series of Two and a Half Men due soon. Baldwin, after a period of bad press, is now close to national treaure status as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock, back in movies with It’s Complicated and accepted movie royalty by co-presenting the Oscars. It’s recoverable (unless you’re Mel Gibson).

Homophobia

The tables have turned since the days when coming out might be problematic for your career. It’s now more likely that your own prejudice, and not the audience’s, will endanger it.

Happily, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Russell Tovey and others are doing just fine as “out” actors. Comments about straight actors who play gay roles being “brave” may also soon be going the way of the dodo.

Homophobia is, sadly, alive and well judging from the comments of the new big-screen BA Baracus, Rampage “acting is kind of gay” Jackson and Isaiah Washington didn’t have his Grey’s Anatomy contract renewed after a much-publicised spat with gay co-star TR Knight.

What Mel Gibson did: made graphic references to what his ass wasn’t and was for (talking out of, clearly).

Verdict: In 2010, not smart. By 2015, could be a career-killer. Rampage Jackson may well find out that BA stands for Blacklisted Agent.

Racism

In a side-branch of showbiz, football on TV, Big Ron Atkinson’s off-camera use of the N-word in relation to Marcel Desailly saw him fired from ITV, The Guardian and never to reappear in mainstream telly punditry again.

Seinfeld comic Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer in the show) says he was in character when he made some pretty unsavoury slave references with a heckler at a stand-up gig but he quickly apologised. In 2007, he retired from stand-up.

Three years after his outburst, he got to try and make amends with an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. This time the audience felt more comfortable about laughing.

What Mel Gibson did: Too grotesque to recount here, but involves some pretty disgusting ranting. Here’s the link to the audio, which is decidedly NOT safe for the work-place. That’s your work-place and Mel Gibson’s.

Verdict: Very, very difficult to explain away. (Impossible if you’re Mel Gibson.)

Anti-semitism

Gary Busey attracted criticism for appearing in a Turkish film (Valley of the Wolves Iraq) where he played a Jewish doctor who cuts out organs and sells them to New York, London and Tel Aviv. This was in 2006. Later that year, he had a small voice part in Dr Dolittle 3. Two years on, three decades after his Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, he was starring in TV’s Celebrity Rehab with Kenickie from Grease and Rodney King.

What Mel Gibson did: Short of playing Richard Wagner at full pelt from his convertible when he was arrested, it could hardly have been worse. He told a Jewish cop: “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”

Verdict: Anti-Semitism + Hollywood = Next Film Straight to DVD. 2006 was when Mel Gibson’s career really hit the skids. Ari Emanuel, the brother of the President’s Chief of Staff and head of the Endeavor talent agency, urged everyone in Hollywood to disown him. When his agents, WME (the E stands for Endeavor run by Ari Emanuel), fired him last week, it was inevitable.

Drunken stupidity

Sadly, all too common. Kiefer Sutherland, Kelsey Grammer, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Shia Laboeuf all faced drink-driving charges. Prison has not harmed their notoriety or their earning power.

In terms of just being an admirer of the sauce, many of the great English actors of their generation from John Hurt, Ollie Reed, Peter O’ Toole and others liked the occasional tipple. They continued to work, although not always on chatshows.

What Mel Gibson did: Arrested for driving under the influence and displayed his usual charm by taking conversation off into a sexist and then anti-Semitic direction.

Verdict: Hollywood sees drinking as no big deal. And there’s always rehab – even for Mel Gibson.

It seems that you can survive saying, and doing, some daft and pretty reprehensible things if you’re an established actor. Homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and domestic ding-dongs – one may be bad. Two would be difficult to turn round. Mel Gibson, however, just landed the Royal Flush.

Princess Diana: Alive and Tweeting apparently. <em>Picture: Floyd Nello</em>

Princess Diana: Alive and Tweeting apparently. Picture: Floyd Nello

One of the many interesting aspects of Twitter is that it contains the greatest amount of identity theft since Christian Slater stole Jack Nicholson’s act in the early ‘90s.

Gary Caldwell and Cheryl Cole as well as the late Princess of Wales have all had their names appropriated in the Twitterverse.

Celebs have to insist on a big blue tick on their profiles to prove it’s really them or their handlers, as everyone from David Miliband (on Twitter) to Ricky Gervais (not on Twitter) has had tiresome copyists.

When Twitterers move beyond celebrities (dead or alive) and on to fictitious characters, things take a decidedly nutty turn.

Someone who may or may not be in the Chicago area has just adopted the Twittername @ferris_bueller_ and recounted events of the film in real time including messages to @jeaniebueller and @sloanepeterson_ , skipping school, borrowing his mate’s dad’s Ferrari, getting involved in the Von Steuben Day parade and, well, no need for further spoiler alerts.

Beyond the two and a half hours of larks had by all those following, the interest in Ferris Bueller on Twitter and Foursquare tells us that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is as trendy, or trending, as it ever was.

Writer-director John Hughes’s death in August 2009 was of course a factor, but recently, they tried to recreate the parade scene in the Windy City as an art installation in New York, it’s been heavily referenced on The X Factor and Charlie Sheen can’t stay away from police stations.

Classic movies, not just a certain kind of ‘80s comedy, never go out of fashion, and Twitter is the latest way to pay tribute.

Charles Foster Kane has six assumed identities, from Hamburg to Milan, the 19 Keyser Sozes are all over the place from Bucharest to Martinique and there were, at last count, 20 Tyler Durdens.

The first rule of Fight Club may have been that no-one talks about Fight Club but on Twitter, everyone talks about everyone and anything. And if they use a simple “@” symbol and your Twittername, and you’re on Tweetdeck, you can see what they’re saying behind your back, just as Stephen Fry did.

If this extended to all film characters, the spoiler alerts would be out of control. Expect the following Tweets some time soon (and do suggest your own underneath)

  • colesear @dr_malcolm I see dead people
  • OdaMaeBrown he said you’d know what that means RT Samwheat @mollywheat ‘ditto’
  • maximumdecimus @commodus I will have my vengeance. In this life or the next.
  • travis_bickle @travis_bickle You talkin’ to me?
  • colnathanjessep @ltdankaffee You can’t handle the truth!
  • HenryV – Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or….(twit longer)
  • charliecroker -@MiniCoopers You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off
  • codyjarrett @MaJarrett Made it. Top of the world!!! :)
  • Martin_Brody @samQuint You’re gonna need a bigger boat