The Diary: Jeffery Deaver; David Whitehouse; Professor Robert Winston; Desert Island Discs; Love Never Dies


Speed Deaver



Jeffery Deaver, who last week arrived at the launch of his James Bond book, Carte Blanche, in a Bentley, tells me he has one up on his fictional hero, 007: as a speed freak and proud owner of a Porsche 911, he has reached speeds of more than 160mph on the track, exceeding Bond's highest documented speed. "But then I'm not chasing someone with a gun," he adds. Coincidentally, he bought his Porsche in Bond's favourite colour of battleship grey, a long time before he knew that he would be writing about the British spy. On a whistlestop tour, promoting his Bond book in Britain, the writer also tells me that he is a big fan of Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear, adding that he is currently in talks with producers in the hope of featuring on it. "I'm trying to get on. It's one of my favourite shows. I just want to go out on the track and see what I can do in a Vauxhall or a Ford Fiesta. I will just have to keep reminding myself to stay i the left lane." A good idea, at 160mph. Writing the Bond book was such a fun experience, he says, that he would not rule out the possibility of a second instalment, though not at the price of his existing two series – the Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhymes.



Duvet day

An author will stage a bed-in tomorrow, not in the name of anything as old-fashioned as love and peace, though. Rather David Whitehouse will sit in a bed to publicise his debut novel, Bed (it was, unsurprisingly, his publisher's idea), inside or outside London's Southbank Centre, depending on the weather. Sounds cool, I suggest, weakly. "It might be cool in your own bedroom," he says, "but when you write a book, you don't think anyone's going to read it, and when it's going to be published, you don't think you are going to be lying in a bed, in pyjamas, in public... I hope the bed's inside." In either event, he'll be wearing thermals underneath his branded red-and-white striped pyjamas.



Musical genesis

The fertility expert Professor Robert Winston and the musicologist Stephen Jones will unravel the medical histories of Ravel, Bach and Franck at London's Wigmore Hall later this month, before pieces by the composers are performed by the violinist Jacqueline Roche. Winston, an emeritus professor of fertility, tells me that there will be interesting new medical and musical insights into Ravel's work (which he is keeping strictly under wraps for now) and an analysis of Bach's loss of his children: "It's extraordinary how he had at least 20 children, but only 13 survived. Of the 13, eight went on to become internationally recognised musicians. We will discuss whether we feel musicality is genetically determined",he says. The concert, on 12 June, is to be held in aid of the Genesis Research Trust, which conducts research into women's diseases.

Carry on at the convenience

The week's wittiest moment came during the intermission of a concert celebrating Radio 4's Desert Island Discs web archive, which saw former castaways take to the stage with Kirsty Young. Racing to the ladies to find it 10-feet deep, I heard whispers as Jo Brand joined the line. A woman who'd obviously had one starry run-in already, turned to her and said: "First Ann Widdecombe, now you." Brand, ever ready with a laconic rejoiner, said: "Yeah, and we're mud-wrestling later". Laughs all round. A more musical highlight was Courtney Pine's rendition of Anita Baker's "Sweet Love", which received a standing ovation and had members of the BBC Concert Orchestra staring in awe at Pine's soprano-saxophone prowess.



Hope never dies

After much mind-changing, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies is going to Broadway after all next year. The transfer of the beleaguered London production, which, I'm told, "Andrew wasn't happy with, [so] he decided to postpone indefinitely," has been delayed several times. Now that a feted Australian production is up and running (with new creative team and design) he is going ahead with the transfer. A source says: "He was happy to have cancelled the notion of going to Broadway, unless he found the ideal production that would work."

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