Arts & Books: Arts Diary

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The Independent Culture
IT MAY come as no surprise to his female admirers to learn that Des Lynam, the Match Of The Day presenter, has poetry in his soul. But should it have stayed in his soul? I leave you to judge. On a CD, released today, of Des reading poetry by Kipling, Betjeman and others, is one of his own - a protest poem to boot. Written in 1982 at the time of the Falklands War, his poem is entitled Silly Isles:

Politicians without their guile

Army Hawks without a smile

Did send our men 8,000 mile

To claim some rocks.

The final verse:

But when those exocets are fired

When men are dead and others tired

Those sad grey rocks won't half have cost a lot.

One bookmaker has made Lynam a 66-1 outsider to beat the Spice Girls and top the charts at Christmas. Perhaps they'll both lose to Alan Hansen reading Wuthering Heights.

BENEATH THOSE anarchic Monty Python people lurk sensitive souls. Python Terry Jones has written to the London listings magazine Time Out complaining about their review which appeared over a year ago (!) of the movie version he directed of Wind In The Willows. "What really upset me about your review," his letter goes on, "was not your reviewer's opinion but the fact that he intimated the film did not work for children, based on the reaction of his own child..."

May I make two points to Terry Jones? 1. It is an accepted rule of film criticism that all generalisations about children's tastes should be based on the grunted response of the child occupying the seat next to you. And, 2. If you're going to argue with a review then best to do it within 12 months.

GRAHAM MARCHANT and Graham Devlin, both senior officials at the Arts Council, are to leave to go into consultancy. Will they take advantage of the new counselling and therapy service now being offered by the Council, on taxpayers money, to all its staff? Or is Arts Council sickness now beyond counselling? Staff are urged to consult Core Care, a professional counselling organisation. They are told: "Please do not consume alcohol or drugs before you attend your session as this can interfere with the counselling process."

Come, come. These people are in the process of administering the annual round of grants. As every arts company will testify, they always take to drink and drugs at the Council before applying their minds to that.