The sheer jamminess of St George

Actor George Clooney has it all, including a free slap-up meal in Venice.


"To state that George Clooney is a jammy so-and-so is not, I admit, an original point of view," says Robert Crampton in The Times. Popular, rich, beautiful wife, villa on Lake Como and "not a bad looking chap, either the man's jamminess, clearly, is not in doubt". No, indeed. And then, last weekend, we read about his stag do in Venice and we have even more evidence that Clooney lives the peachiest of lives. Details of this stag do, as Crampton says, emerged courtesy of the "charmingly loose-tongued" Venetian, Giovanni Fracassi, who told us in great, if not very discreet, detail all about the evening.

On about 10pm the night before Clooney's wedding, Fracassi's Ristorante Da Ivo got a call saying "someone important" wanted a table for seven at ten minutes' notice. The "someone important" struck Crampton as a bit pompous, while the assumption that a table could be had at a popular restaurant off St Mark's Square at 10pm on a Friday night smacked "of someone long accustomed to getting their own way without observing the usual niceties". Yes it does, but what's the point of being a film star if you don't behave like one? Besides, Clooney clearly loves the place Fracassi has an ad hoc drawing of a Clooneyesque figure saying "Grazi!

A perfect night!" drawn by the actor on a previous visit. The four diners persuaded to make space for the stag party by vacating their table before pudding didn't seem to mind, and if Clooney had booked in advance the paparazzi would have been bound to find out. As it was, by the time the snappers figured out where he was, and started paying up to £750 each for a window view from a building across the canal, Fracassi had covered the windows with tablecloths.

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Meanwhile, according to the garrulous Fracassi (who had welcomed Clooney when he stepped out of the water taxi "He was wearing an Armani suit, he was so elegant"), the actor ploughed through five courses: anti-pasto, pasta with truffles, two large helpings of mushroom risotto, strawberries with vinegar, and zabaglione.

Actually, as Crampton says, make that six courses (two helpings of risotto). In fact, make it seven or even eight: Clooney finished with threeice creams and then took away three more to enjoy before bed. "For a man getting married ten hours later, he was really eating a lot," Fracassi told The Sunday Times.

"I thought one of the few drawbacks of stardom was the perpetual diet of protein and steamed broccoli," says Crampton. Clooney, however, seems able to put away all those puddings and still stay enviably thin. Not even his wallet took a hit: Fracassi didn't ask him to pay the £3,000 bill. "I didn't want him to." As for the tip: well it was "not much, like you would do for a friend".

Crampton thinks none of this shows "Saint George" in a particularly favourable light. No, perhaps not, but I doubt Signor Fracassi is complaining. I expect he could double his prices tomorrow and still be full every night.

Tabloid money: A bitter tipple for Beefy

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon now maintains the SNP will backtrack on the long-standing practice of its MPs not voting on English issues at Westminster after this year's election. What that means, writes Carole Malone in the Daily Mirror, is that "the Scots get to say what happens in our NHS but we have no say in theirs. So if Labour wins the election without a majority it could be forced to take on the SNP as coalition partners. That, in turn, will mean the poorest, most vulnerable people in England and Wales will get less resources than their counterparts in Scotland. And all because the doughty Ms Sturgeon fancies herself as deputy prime minister. So what she's doing isn't so much about helping the people of Scotland, as about helping herself to power."

James Blunt, attacked for his songs and for having a privileged background by shadow arts minister Chris Bryant, has struck back. "You classist gimp... it is your populist envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country cr*p, far more than me and my s**t songs, and my plummy accent," he writes in an open letter to the MP. "Hear, bloody hear," says Jane Moore in The Sun. "Because let's face it, for every James Blunt there's a state-educated Adele... or Ed Sheeran. Even more laughably Bryant is a public schoolboy, who went to Oxford... Private education isn't fair but neither is life." Politicians should stop being obsessed with who "did or didn't go to Eton" and put more effort into improving the standard of state education.