High Street Ken

i Newspaper
 
TheIPaper
The Independent around the web

Diary: I'm like Churchill, says Boris

Alleged babydaddy Boris Johnson has seen fit to modestly compare himself to fellow multitasker Winston Churchill, following criticism of his extra-curricular activities – (given the great man's reputation, I should clarify I'm merely referring to his ongoing literary and media commitments).

Diary: David's the one with X Factor

Clearly getting fusty in my old age, yesterday I felt unable to hide concerns when Ed Miliband flirted with embracing hip-hop as a cornerstone of the next Labour manifesto. While Ed eventually stepped away from the precipice during an interview with youth channel SBTV – (in fairness, he's known to be more of a Bananarama man) – big brother David is busy making his own overtures to the music industry. Miliband (D) is now lobbying for votes on behalf of X Factor contestants Rhythmix, whose members Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards hail from his South Shields constituency. "The girls have done fantastic to get to this stage," says David – (in fairness, known to be more of an Elton John man). "They are carrying the hopes and dreams of everyone." We can only hope this might soothe memories of a certain other ill-fated vote he endured last year.

Diary: Backbencher swears she never let rip at her kindly Chancellor

Never mind that the Prime Minister had to cope with an unseemly rabble (or, if you prefer, 81 of his own MPs) rebelling against him in the Commons, by yesterday talk was turning to an ugly incident apparently involving our esteemed Chancellor. Whispers were rife that George (né Gideon) Osborne had called Tory backbencher Andrea Leadsom for a "polite chat" before Monday evening's vote, in a kindly bid to help the confused woman see the error of her ways before rashly choosing to vote against those who knew best. Troublesome types went on to claim that a startled Gideon had been subsequently instructed, in the finest Queen's English, to "fuck off" by his junior colleague. Suffice it to say, as talk of "F-gate" quickly did the rounds, the MP for South Northamptonshire was enjoying a new cult status among colleagues and opponents alike. Mortified to hear of her rise to fame, Leadsom felt obliged to issue a denial, announcing that her conversation with the great man had, in fact, been "good natured".

Alice Cooper was at the Houses of Parliament in London yesterday to sign up as a patron of the Rock the House music competition run by the Tory MP Mike Weatherley. Rock the House is an annual contest which promotes live music and awareness of intellectual property rights

Diary: Is Sarkozy fit for renewal of historic hostilities?

The regrettable spat that has erupted between our Prime Minister and the French President prompts some in the Tory ranks to excitably predict that their man would come out on top in the event of historic hostilities ever having to get physical again.

Diary: Some fitting words from the unwitting Fox

Have a tissue handy: there's a melancholy footnote to the Liam Fox affair. The last interview that the now ex-Defence Secretary gave before WerrittyGate was to Total Politics magazine. And, flavoured with a squirt of bitter irony, it's only just about to arrive on the newsstands. Fox first blames the "rabid imagination" of the media for confecting his rivalry with David Cameron, with whom he used to play a friendly game of tennis every week. (Dave tended to win, but only because "he's taller and he's left-handed".) Of his time at Defence, Fox says: "Leadership is about making the right decision and following it through. I wouldn't have been a good doctor if I said, 'I know what the correct treatment is, but I'm not going to recommend it because it's unpleasant.' That would be unethical. So why don't the same judgements apply to politics?" (Why not, indeed?) And finally, Fox's favourite quote – from Tennyson's "In Memoriam": "So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be." Something to go on the gravestone.

Diary: Hands off our assets, George

George (né Gideon) Osborne is in mounds of trouble after threatening to grab some of the nation's prize assets with a so-called "boob tax". Kay (Hurly) Burley – erotic novelist, Sky News presenter and face-liftee – turned her howitzers on the Chancellor, calling the proposals "an attack on women at what is an incredibly vulnerable time in their lives".

Diary: On the level... Gwyneth's bare essentials

Cook, actor and Earth Mother Gwyneth Paltrow has graced Elle Décor magazine with her list of the "things she can't live without". Cannot. Live. Without. Given that this is an interior design publication, you might imagine Ms Paltrow's selection would be superficial, not spiritual. But you'd be wrong. Granted, it's true that she "can't live without" her De Gournay hand-painted wallpaper, her Charles Edwards star lanterns and the Antonio Lupi Baia bathtub in her bedroom (yes, bedroom). But among her favourite things is also her Juxtaposition Religion Shelf, a shelf with slots of varying depths to hold the Koran, Bible, Tao Te Ching et al, "all at the same level", she explains, "which is how I like to think about religion."

Diary: Beyoncé the first? Not quite

In a move destined to feature in a 2012 edition of the Daily Mail alongside complaints about the number of BBC employees dispatched to Glastonbury, Zane Lowe shockingly failed to watch (let alone gush dutifully about) Beyoncé's performance on Sunday evening. Yet more disgraceful, depending on which random selection of unnecessarily irate tweeters one believes, was Jo Whiley's wildly misguided onscreen assertion that Beyoncé was "the first female in a quarter of a century to headline the Pyramid stage". In fact, pedants suggest, Suzanne Vega had the honour in 1989 (that's 22 years ago), followed by Shakespeare's Sister, Sinéad O'Connor and half of The White Stripes. 400 staff and they couldn't send a fact-checker?

Diary: Blessed in with a shout

News of the contest to become the next chancellor of Cambridge University has tended to focus on the David and Goliath battle between Lord Sainsbury and local shopkeeper Abdul Arain. But this unlikely face-off could be disrupted by the unexpected participation of the leading beard-wearer Brian Blessed. A Facebook campaign by students has resulted in the vocally endowed actor garnering the required 50 nominations to run – and, reports the Cambridge Tab, he has consented to his inclusion on the ballot. This is not the first time that marginally-less-hilarious-than-they-think undergraduates, made giddy by their eclectic DVD collections, have afforded Blessed the status of a campus folk hero. In January a motion was passed by York University's student union, mandating the institution to rename one of its study spaces "The Brian Blessed Centre for Quiet Study".

Diary: No time to play top Trumps

It would now be fair to conclude that President Obama wasn't exaggerating when announcing he was "too busy" to be having to deal with the nonsense surrounding his birth certificate last week.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital