IT MUST have been an honour for the superspy granny Melita Norwood to receive a bunch of red roses from the New Communist Party. But would Melita approve of these subversives? One hardliner is Paul Barrett, who has two claims to fame. His wife, Lorraine, is a Welsh Assembly member and one- time political assistant to the Blairite and Assembly leader Alun Michael. But, more worrying, Paul Barrett once managed the rock 'n'roll act Shakin' Stevens.
The Birmingham author Jim Crace's new novel Being Dead has been acclaimed for its portrayal of a post-mortem couple's synchronised putrefaction. Well, not quite universally. Currently circulating literary London is the transcript of Radio 4's Front Row, which wickedly signed up a Home Office pathologist to assess the book, in the same spirit as Field and Stream magazine once reviewed Lady Chatterley's Lover as a gamekeeping manual. "[Crace's] description of the management of death," opined the good doctor, "is so far away from reality that either he's had some very bad experiences in some very unusual places or he's simply made it up..." Made it up? As in fiction? At his launch party on Monday Crace could be found speculating with cronies on other books that might get the same treatment: Lord of the Flies reviewed by an SAS survival trainer? Alice in Wonderland reviewed by a personal growth counsellor?
SOME CELEBS were more comfortable than others during the recording of An Audience with Tom Jones, to be transmitted by LWT this weekend. Ainsley Harriott and Dale Winton danced in the aisles (not together) and Carol Vorderman got very excited indeed. But one man looked distinctly out of place. Poor Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare remained firmly on his noble rear, frowning. Only Gloria Hunniford could eventually persuade Lord A to stand. If only he were as reluctant to stand for mayor of London.
The Disney corporation is in trouble with the Holy Land after objections from Arab and Israeli groups about Disneyworld's new ride, Journey to Jerusalem, to open next month. It seems Israel paid $1.8m towards it, believing that "the centrality of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel" to be emphasised. But reports suggest that Disney has modified the ride to soothe Arab concerns that this would ignore the territorial claims of Palestinians.
GEOGRAPHY DOESN'T seem to be Disney's strong point. A souvenir table mat bought by a friend of Pandora's at Disneyland Paris shows Mickey Mouse in various national costumes, superimposed on a map of Europe that includes the former German Democratic Republic. Nice one, comrade Maus.
The BBC's football anorak John Motson likes his busman's holidays. Contributing to a new programme, Celebrity Holiday Moments, he has chosen the French city of Lyon as a favourite, having fallen for it during last year's World Cup. The attraction of the Rhone valley metropolis? "Its stadium has the best commentating position in
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