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Indy Lifestyle Online
Normally, broadcasting cock-ups are as excruciating at the time as they are amusing in retrospect; I doubt, however, if there will be anything amusing retrospectively about the quite extraordinary performance of BBC presenter Jenny Hull at the opening of Sweet Lorraine - the new musical by Clarke Peters (of Five Guys Named Moe fame) in Southampton on Wednesday night.

First Miss Hull, talking live, microphone in hand, approached modern sculptor Andrew Logan. 'What's Divine doing these days?' asked Miss Hull, referring to Logan's friend, the infamous 21-stone drag queen who died in 1988. A stunned silence followed before Logan broke the sad news to her. Next it was the turn of the Princess Royal . . . not, thankfully, face to face, but a running commentary on her progress. Brazen comments such as: 'She's now meeting (so and so) who did (such and such) but he managed to keep his clothes on,' and, apropos of a blind man, 'I think he's going to have to get some help to lift his dog up . . . it seems to have gone to sleep,' tripped happily off Miss Hull's tongue until, to everyone's relief, she whispered aloud (unintentionally) 'I can't see'.

Unsurprisingly the post-show party was dominated by chat over her performance - which she blames on not having been properly briefed. 'Who was that girl?' giggled actress Sarah Douglas, star of Superman and Falcon Crest. 'I MUST get a video tape.'

Television chef and bon viveur Keith Floyd was unable to speak to the expectant throng at the launch of his new book, Floyd On Italy, in Soho Soho. Furious that some pals had been turned away, he stormed off to a public house instead. Being a proprietor of a similar establishment, Floyd's Inn, in Devon, perhaps he felt more at home there . . . .

Sending tremors through the music industry is Mica Paris, the 25-year-old-soul singer, who is to write an 'honest account about how the pop world works.' Sounds like some people ought to be scared. Ms Paris, who broke into the limelight at age of 18 with her single 'My One Temptation, says: 'It's going to be for kids. I want to show them the pitfalls. . .In my first two years I was ripped off, that's why I'm doing it.'

Charles Moore, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, is a very brave man. On Wednesday night he turned up to a convention of the Revolutionary Communist Party to defend the free market against Mick Hume, editor of Living Marxism. In his hand he carried something green and shimmery. Gasps of astonishment, as the audience, one by one, realised that into this throng of vehement left-wingers he had brought . . . a Harrods bag. The cry went up: 'What audacity] What a man]'. . . until, rather meekly, he confided he had forgotten, when shopping, where he would be going afterwards.

A rarity has found its way on to the car market. The Popemobile of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958), replete with 'communicating microphone, a fold-back roof and a St Christopher medallion mounted on the dashboard,' (after all, Pope Pius was the first to make full use of television and radio) is for sale. Yours for pounds 65,000, approaches can be made to M Jean-Francois du Montant in La Tour, France.

Religious zealots should, perhaps, go in disguise however. Says M du Montant: 'I am aiming at enthusiasts who are interested in the car, not Catholics.'

In a curious twist of fate the baritone Benjamin Luxon, renown for his performances in the title role of Falstaff is forsaking Shakespearean opera for the bard's plays. He is to play Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Broomhill, Kent. The role, which requires much skill at strolling round like an ass, is one of the most demanding in the play. Rehearsal watchers, however, say Luxon shows remarkable aptitude. Who knows? Perhaps this could be the start of a new flourishing career.

(Photographs omitted)