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Yet again - I feel like a record that's got stuck - the Tory powers on Westminster council have come a cropper. One of their more visible ideological experiments - the introduction an external private PR company, McIntyre Hodges, to promote the council, - has gone embarrassingly askew.

Last week chief executive Bill Roots circulated an internal memorandum advising the executive committee, that, after only two years of employment, MH should be sacked 'either on one month's notice or, if necessary on immediate notice'. Roots chronicles how, among other things the company has still not paid pounds 2,765.70 rent money, how it was late paying its own staff, and how, it once replaced a press officer with a 'secretary insufficiently qualified to do the job'. Now Roots plans to give the job, worth pounds 280,372 pa, to another PR agency, aptly named SAS. The Labour contingent have, of course, argued that it would make more sense to have in-house PR, as in other boroughs.

This prospect was quickly dismissed by Westminster's director of communications, Mark Bayliss, (the MH press officers, still in situ understandably, would not comment). He mumbled some jargon about Westminster being 'an enabling borough which does not have things in-house'.

Iknow Peter Stringfellow has declared he wants sylph-like female visitors only entering the dusky haven that is Stringfellows but I reckon the invitation to last night's party to mark the nightclub's refurbishment was going a bit far. I don't consider myself particularly fat, but underneath the date and time was a postscript: 'Please skip lunch . . . '

Causing great confusion in the music business is the decision by 'the artist formerly known as Prince' to create a symbol for his name (see below). Being a creative crowd, the singer's entourage have created a pseudonym for the diminutive rock star. He is now affectionately known as 'squiggle'.

Proof that, despite the hype surrounding his forthcoming fixture against America's Oliver McCall, Lennox Lewis is now looking towards a future beyond boxing. He has invested pounds 1m in an eponymous rehabilitation centre in Theydon Road, Hackney, for boys between 16 and 18 years old. Pugilism will, of course, be on the curriculum.

Lewis, 29, says the project, in which he will be playing an active part, stems from his own experiences as a youngster.

Persecuted in Canada in his early teens because of his Cockney accent a policeman name Arnie Boehm lent him a mouth guard and head gear, and let him train for self-defence in the police gym. 'I feel that I would like to give something back,' he explains. 'I was born in the East End and I grew up there and I knew what it was like to struggle. Boxing gave me a break and I hope the centre will help some of London's most deprived teenagers.'

Also on Lennox's list of extra-boxing actitivities is his desire to go to Oxford to read philosophy. A goal that he may be somewhat closer to, having acquitted himself creditably a few months ago as the first boxer to speak at the Oxford Union. Never mind that the topic was somewhat elementary - 'Motivation and Success'.

Much excitement concerning the Royal Opera House's autumn production of Das Rheingold and Die Walkure, the first two parts of Wagner's epic Ring cycle - arguably the closest opera comes to the modern-day soap. Indeed, this viewpoint must, to some extent, have rubbed off on producer Richard Jones and designer Nigel Lowery, for friends have told me that Frica, the chief goddess, makes her stage entrance aka Joan Collins, in something very similar to a stretch Rolls-Royce. Marketing director Keith Cooper is understandably reluctant to give too much away at this stage. 'I wouldn't go so far as to say its a stretch Rolls,' he says, 'but, yes, it certainly is not a chariot.'

(Photographs omitted)

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