Lord help us, as they don't say in the Dome.
AGRICULTURE MINISTER Nick Brown has had a rough time recently, with the beef crisis and the resulting criticism of him and his department. In the midst of the row he hosted a reception at the Ministry of Agriculture, attended by former holders of the job, and was clearly feeling the strain. One Conservative predecessor who was present told a friend of Pandora: "Nick Brown suggested I might like to stay and make the speech, and he'd go and vote with the Conservatives in the lobby."
The Meat and Livestock Commission, one of the organisations that welcomed last week's decision about beef on the bone, have a consumer marketing manger called Chris Lamb and a chairman called Don Curry.
EX-WHO IDOL Pete Townshend has had a busy time with the release of a new album and a split from his wife. However, the windmill-armed guitarist still finds time to reminisce about the Queen Mother, of all people, in a Q magazine question-and-answer session. Talking of his Sixties heyday, the pop star says: "Even though I was young and smashing guitars I still loved the Queen Mother." But the respect ended when Pete moved to Chesham Place, down the road from Buck House. "I had this Packard hearse parked outside my house. One day I came back and it was gone. It turned out that she'd had it moved, because her husband had been buried in a similar vehicle and it reminded her of him. When I went to collect it, they wanted pounds 250. I'd only paid pounds 30 for it."
Liz Hurley has a ready-made excuse for not being a prolific film-maker. It harks back to the tabloid splashes over her boyfriend Hugh Grant's "Divine" misdemeanour. "I could have developed five movies in the time I spent thinking 'How can I have Rupert Murdoch shot?' " she lamented this week.
WERE HE to be mayor of London, Steven Norris would certainly be a plain- speaking public servant. In a nod to his past as a second-hand car dealer he describes his entry into the House of Commons as both "arriviste and garagiste", adding that he was the ideal member for his seat of Epping Forest, as he "had lots of money and no taste". But Nozzer can also turn his wit on colleagues. In his autobiography, Changing Trains, Nozzer admits he is impressed by the talents of Ann Widdecombe, but says, "I'd be dishonest if I ever said I regarded her as an outstanding beauty; she is indeed to pulchritude what Paul Gascoigne is to University Challenge."
Starting to worry about your Christmas list? Well, what about a parody Archers calendar? "Shambridge" is a "hi-tech alternative vision for the future of Radio 4's most famously repressed community" established by an odd-job man, Mike Gilmore, and a group of his rebellious West Country muckers. It consists of 12 pictures based on the famous radio soap, with titles such as "David's Quota" and "Linda's Essentials". Each month features a nude, posing with an item of everyday farming life. Props include groceries, twigs, manure, and, in the case of "Clarrie's Jugs", two pints of stout. Intrepid shoppers can try the website at www. shambridge.com. Genuine Ambridge fans should turn the other cheek.Reuse content