Julian Hall's Edinburugh Festival diary
Tuesday 12 August 2008
Lord Owen captivated his Book Festival audience with vignettes from his new book In Sickness and in Power, which shows how world leaders' decisions taken over the past 100 years have been affected by their health and how their illnesses have affected world events. His take on the Shah of Iran gave the most food for thought: "Had I known, as Foreign Secretary, between 1977-79, that he had leukaemia, we could have packed him off to Switzerland, installed a Regency government and perhaps avoided problems down the line like the Ayatollah through to al-Qa'ida."
Since her show began last week, Joan Rivers has wasted no time in researching the comedic talent on offer at the Fringe, and has proved that you're never too old to become a groupie. The septuagenarian legend made a point of waiting for Josh Howie after attending his show. Rivers was equally enthusiastic about the corkscrew-mopped James Dowdeswell, when she was handed his flyer. "Isn't he cute?" she was heard to say, adding, "I love his hair."
Tony Parsons ranged over a number of topics while discussing his latest book, My Favourite Wife, including the curse of chick-lit. He expressed disbelief that men up and down the country were saying to their girlfriends: "Why don't you write one of those books, darling? Knock one out over the weekend." However, he was quick to defend the mother of chick-lit, Helen Fielding, saying that Bridget Jones came from something both true and real, before adding: "I don't even think that Dan Brown thinks, 'they're going to lap up this rubbish'. I'm sure he's got a tear in his eye as he writes."
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers