The Diary: Friendly Fires; Kate Dimbleby; Mrs Moneypenny; Blake

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The Independent Culture

God only knows

Last month a secluded order of nuns was signed to Universal. I now hear that the Nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de L'Annonciation have just finished their debut album, which was recorded in their own chapel at the abbey where they live in a remote region near Avignon. The album of ancient Gregorian chant, which scholars suggest dates back as far as the year 750, if not earlier, is now headed for the 21st-century pop charts. It is released on 20 November, and designed to follow the success of the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heilgenkreuz in 2008. The nuns' press manager was very surprised to receive a fax from sisters, who range in age from 19 to 88, saying that praying to St Joseph would help spread the word about the album. "That's probably the most unusual fax I've ever received in this job", the press manager said. "It would actually make my job a lot easier if I could pray for success!"

Dance of the Earth

So much for rock'n'roll. Friendly Fires have requested a fully organic and fair-trade rider list for when they appear at the dance festival LED at London's Victoria Park next weekend. Dance festivals are more hedonistic than most, but not even alcohol features on the Mercury-nominated St Albans indie-pop band's long list of requests. Instead, it's only the healthiest of food – wholesome organic brands, fruit, fresh meat, and salad. They also stipulate that their dressing room at the site be equipped with recycling facilities and only environmentally friendly utensils. Also on their wish-list were postcards to send to friends and family. Their tour organiser from AEG confirmed that bands are becoming increasingly picky with their requests for organic food, but that "asking for local postcards and stamps is a new one on me, to be honest".

Songs in the key of a woman's life

David Dimbleby's daughter Kate is launching a new jazz and cabaret show at the end of August. Her show, I'm a Woman, celebrates the many roles of a modern woman through the songs of artists including Bessie Smith, Dolly Parton, and Dusty Springfield, along with a jazzy rendition of the Rolling Stones' number "Mother's Little Helper". The show, which runs for five weeks at the New End Theatre in Hampstead, has been inspired by Kate's own experience as a wife and mother. Sadly, she recently lost a baby during the early stages of pregnancy. Kate's past shows include Fever! The Making of Peggy Lee and Music to Watch Boys By, which toured to Canada, New Zealand and Australia.


Who is the mysterious Mrs Moneypenny, the famous working mother, columnist for the Financial Times and author of several successful books on finances and family life? By day she is supposed to be a high-powered head-hunter and, by night, when she's not looking after the children, you'll find her at endless fashion parties and shows. But the mysterious Mrs Moneypenny has finally revealed her true identity thanks to her debut Edinburgh Festival Fringe show – as top city and banking recruiter Heather McGregor. Her show At Home With Mrs Moneypenny debunks many of the myths around her high-flying life, and is held at The Aga Shop, Frederick Street, Edinburgh, 12.30 daily.

Boy on a motorcycle

You'd expect the suited, classical crossover boy-band Blake to travel to their shows in opulent surroundings. But the four-piece group have traded their tour bus for motorbikes as their transport of choice on their UK tour. The guys have signed up to Get On, an initiative launched to encourage car drivers to swap four wheels for two, and will be using motorbikes to travel from venue to venue this Autumn. Get On's slogan is "Life's better on two wheels" – something that band member Jules Knight may have good reason to believe – he and his actress girlfriend Ciara Janson had a close escape on holiday in Turkey this week when a taxi they took jumped the lights and was smashed into by a truck, sending the car spinning off into the oncoming traffic.