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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor