THE FIRST ritual that Hilary Benn, the new Leeds Central MP, endured during his Commons introduction this week? Being hooked up to his Millbank pager..
THE RICH, the powerful and the talented delighted in the rub of the green at the Dorchester this week during the Ireland Fund's Midsummer Night's Magic Ball. The fund works for peace and reconciliation in Ireland. Serena Linley missed this sparkling charity event for the first time in five years - she's having a baby. Gerry Robinson, the top man at, inter alia, Granada TV and the Arts Council, won this year's Ireland Fund Award - Bryan Hayes, the fund's chairman, presented him with the Bird and Bell.
THE GUARDIAN diary on Tuesday tried to plug one of its journalists' books. It got the title wrong. Bring Home The Revolution is correct.
MIKE FIGGIS, the director who made One Night Stand, Leaving Las Vegas and Internal Affairs, has been signed up by Film 4 to make a 20-episode sit-downs-with-the-stars series, Hollywood Conversations. Figgis has already taped Mel Gibson, Brooke Shields and Jodie Foster.
THE MOST influential person of the 20th century? Time magazine's poll is a three-horse race. The original front-runner, Jesus Christ, was disqualified after Time Warner suits ruled that he "didn't walk the planet this century". Which left Adolf Hitler ahead. Alarmed Jewish groups mobilised a vote drive and Yitzhak Rabin surged into the lead. The duo have been duking it out ever since - but watch the stealth runner on the rails: Pandora's money's on Elvis.
MARIANNE FAITHFULL (pictured) tells July's Mojo that Harry Nilsson died in a dentist's chair and was laid out overnight in a California mortuary. An earthquake rocked the building and "Harry's rather large body - I suppose it was all the drugs and alcohol - fell down a fissure and was lost for ever. So they buried another coffin that they filled with stones." Apocryphal? Faithfull insists it's true. She also reveals that there's "a level in me that enjoys psychological pain".
Dress down and arrive late is the advice for City boys and girls on Friday. Why? The Square Mile is due for invasion by crusty types on a march against global capitalism. Blend in by wearing camouflage and dragging a dog on a string.
TINA BROWN, probably the most talented magazine editor of her generation, is the number one chick on Miramax's much-hyped new vehicle, Talk. No longer a mere editrix, Brown is also pitch-woman for the title, which counts Martin Amis among a galaxy of converging media talent.
But Brown's TV commercial for Talk, due to launch in August, is arching eyebrows. "I think the new century needs a new magazine and a new voice," Brown says, in her starring role in the 60-second spot, over a driving hip-hop beat. "Conversation! Discussion! Chatter! Context! Emotion! Intimacy!" Is the queen of buzz turning into Rap Mistress Tina? "This is a positioning video for Talk as a brand, but it's hard to describe without showing it to you..." In what may be the PR glitch of the week, Talk's publisher Ron Galotti then continued "...how do you describe what vanilla tastes like?" Oh, you can't. But Pandora's going to try anyway - how about "Talk
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