NEWSMAKERS

'ME AND MY SURFBOARD, WE NEVER DID ANYONE ANY HARM. THE SURFBOARD IS MAGICAL' —BRAZILIAN SURFER JIHAD KHODR ON CRITISM OVER THE CONTROVERSIAL NAME OF HIS BOARD

November 12 2007
NEWSMAKERS

'ME AND MY SURFBOARD, WE NEVER DID ANYONE ANY HARM. THE SURFBOARD IS MAGICAL' —BRAZILIAN SURFER JIHAD KHODR ON CRITISM OVER THE CONTROVERSIAL NAME OF HIS BOARD

November 12 2007

'ME AND MY SURFBOARD, WE NEVER DID ANYONE ANY HARM. THE SURFBOARD IS MAGICAL' —BRAZILIAN SURFER JIHAD KHODR ON CRITISM OVER THE CONTROVERSIAL NAME OF HIS BOARD

NEWSMAKERS

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO INDONESIAN IDOL

Being president of Indonesia is about more than just kissing babies and reviewing military parades—it’s a stressful job. So when he needs to relax, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expresses himself through the magic of song. My Longing For You is a CD released this week featuring 10 of the former general’s compositions, many of which were written to relieve the tedium of being stuck on an airplane, flying from summit to summit. The album features devotional songs, nationalist anthems, and a selection of romantic ballads that you can play when it’s time to get close to that special someone. SBY, as he’s known, doesn’t sing on the ff album, having some of Indonesia’s biggest pop stars take H turns at the mike instead. And ™ with political rival General Wiranto also having released an album of love songs, the stakes will be high when voters go to the polls in 2009 for an election that’s starting to look more like a round of Indonesian Idol.

HANNA AGOSTINI

GOING AFTER THAT NOSY PARKER

Robert Parker’s nose is legendary. The appendage, famously insured for US$1 million, has elevated the former Baltimore lawyer to his status as the “Emperor ofWine,” the world’s foremost appreciator and critic of the beverage. But in a sensational new book just released in France, his former assistant Hanna Agostini claims that this emperor has no clothes. In Anatomie d’un mythe, Agostini alleges that the tasting notes and ratings that Parker doles out via his 100-point scale are influenced by his friendships with certain Bordeaux winemakers, and by the decadent hospitality they lavish on him. She also claims that Parker admitted to never having tasted some of the vintages he wrote about, and rips him for being careless and prone to error. Her criticisms have found little traction in the wine world, however, where she’s seen as just an angry former employee seeking revenge for her 2003 dismissal over accounting irregularities. While Agostini has won headlines with her book, Parker’s defenders say the whole affair is redolent of sour grapes.

MICHEL DE BROIN

SCULPTING THE POETRY OF AMBIGUITY

Thirty-seven-year-old Michel de Broin takes a refreshingly mischievous and whimsical approach to his sculptural installations. The Quebec artist’s delight in toying with paradox has won him this year’s Sobey Art Award, Canada’s answer to the Turner Prize for promising under-40 artists. Black Whole Conference, currently on display at the Sobey exhibition in Halifax, is a sphere of office chairs fused together and facing inward, a “utopian” meeting space where everyone’s position is equal, yet no one can actually get inside it. “I think there’s poetry in making ambiguous objects,” he says. The honour comes during a hot year for Quebec artists: David Altmejd has been wowing crowds at the ongoing Venice Biennale. De Broin, who divides his time between Montreal and Berlin, says he intends to to keep working in Canada: “My roots are here.”

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO NOT PLAYING TO WIN

The old adage, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game,” certainly rang true last week for tennis player Nikolay Davydenko. The Association of Tennis Professionals fined the Russian, who is ranked fourth in the world, $2,000 for “lack of best effort in his second-round match against Marin Cilic.” After crushing the 102nd-ranked Croatian player during the first set of the St. Petersburg Open, Davydenko double-faulted 10 times during the final two, earning a reprimand from the umpire, who accused him of trying to throw the game. “I was simply shocked to hear him say that,” the tennis star said after the match. “How does he know what I was trying to do? I was so upset with the whole thing I started crying.” You might think he’d have a thicker skin by now—this isn’t the first time Davydenko’s been accused of lacklustre play. He’s also being investigated for withdrawing from a match against Martin Vassallo Arguello in Poland last August after bets in favour of Arguello spiked at a British gambling website. Maybe the champion needs to adopt another^ age-old mantra:

“Winning is

everything.

VNYONE ANY HARM. THE SURFBOARD IS MAGICAL’ SM OVER THE CONTROVERSIAL NAME OF HIS BOARD

LAURENT BEAUDOIN

A CRASH LANDING FOR BOMBARDIER

It’s been a turbulent week for Montreal-based Bombardier Inc., and presumably for company chairman and CEO Laurent Beaudoin. On Monday, just one day after Scandinavian airline SAS announced it was eliminating its fleet of 27 Bombardier Q400 turboprops, the European aviation authority called for a “crisis meeting” to evaluate the airworthiness of the aircraft. This follows a series of Q400 crash landings, the most recent of which happened last Saturday in Copenhagen (there were no serious injuries). For Beaudoin—a Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame inductee who fostered Bombardier’s growth from a Ski-Doo maker to transportation giant—the development must be galling. SAS had already been demanding $75 million in compensation for cancelled flights when it stopped flying the Q400s after previous accidents. A Bombardier spokesman would only say the firm is “disappointed.” The company stands behind the more than 150 Q400s in service. Beaudoin is staying mum.

TILA TEQUILA

WORLD’S MOST POPULAR GIRL CULLS THE HERD

Known as the Madonna of MySpace, Tila Tequila, 26 has more friends than anyone else on earth: two million in her MySpace.com web page, with another 5,000 would-be pals joining every day. Now, at least two million viewers are watching her on MTV where she appears in A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, one of the channel’s most popular reality shows ever, based on the premise that Tila wants a lover and she’s not particular whether it’s male or female. Over the course of 16 weeks she’s attended by 16 men and 16 women looking to woo her. Not every candidate is a Romeo or Juliet of the highest calibre. Eric the bouncer gave Tila a gift of detergent in a bid to draw attention to his washboard abs. Singapore-born Tila, a model and rapper of songs such as Playgirl Central and Waste My Time, is also a veteran of reality shows like Pants Off, Dance Off. As of last week, Tila was down to 12 candidate lovers.

JIHAD KHODR RIDING THE WAVES WITH ‘OSAMA’

He calls himself a man of peace, even though there is a huge portrait of Osama bin Laden painted on his favourite surfboard. Brazilian champion surfer Jihad Khodr, 23, a Muslim of Lebanese descent, is known as “Osama” to his friends on the Brazilian circuit, so some months ago a friend painted a portrait of bin Laden on his board. Now that surfboard has gotten Khodr into trouble with his corporate sponsor, the surf apparel company Quicksilver. “The surfboard could really send out the wrong message,” said Piu Pereira, director of marketing in Brazil for the U.S. company. But Khodr is finding it hard to part with the board, which he says brings him good luck. “Me and my surfboard, we never did anyone any harm,” he recently said. “The surfboard is magical, really good when the waves are really high.” But he’ll have to make changes. People can’t decide if it’s a protest against the U.S. or a plug for terrorism, or both. Khodr claims it’s neither, “He can’t compete anymore with that,”

IAN STRACHAN AND SEAN MCGUIGAN ROYAL BLACKMAIL

It seems positively antique: the first sex-extortion scandal to hit the British monarchy in a century. Ian Strachan (pictured) and Sean McGuigan were charged last week with one count of blackmail after allegedly demanding $98,000 not to release a video purportedly showing a royal aide saying he performed a sexual act with the Queen’s nephew, Viscount Linley, the 46-year-old son of the late Princess Margaret. The accused, who face possible jail time of 14 years each, also threatened to publicize alleged evidence that Linley supplied the aide with cocaine, and a second tape showing the aide snorting the drug after chopping it with a Harrods charge card. Strachan is a socialite familiar with London society—what his lawyer calls “Champagne Charlie” circles, but not exactly wealthy. An uncle told a U.K. paper he doubted Strachan “owned the shirt on his back.” After the tabloids blew the alleged blackmailers off, they hit up the royal directly, who contacted police. Linley is 12th in line to the throne and is a wellknown furniture maker whose clients include Oprah Winfrey.