MOST excited of those accompanying the Queen on her forthcoming visit to Russia is Christopher Barne, owner of Westminster Trading, a London firm, and the direct descendant of Sir George Barne, Lord Mayor of London in 1553 and the first Englishman to trade with Russia. Barne jnr who is supervising the instalment of a City of London exhibition during the Queen's visit, says he is thrilled to be carrying on the good work. 'With Queen Elizabeth I's permission Sir George financed the building of three small ships to open a trade route round the top of Russia,' he explains. 'He formed what became known as the Muscovy company.' A pause. 'I've tried to carry on tradition - but with taxation, you know, it's just not as easy these days.'
ONE has to pity Arsenal FC's poor Danish midfielder John Jensen (above) who has not scored a goal for over two years. The club's supporters are an insensitive bunch. Every time he so much as touches the ball, they now bellow in unison 'shoot' - quite irrespective, apparently, of where he is on the pitch.
TO THE launch of From Winston with Love and Kisses by Celia Sandys, where the great man's grandson and namesake, Winston Churchill MP, confided that his grandfather had not altogether approved of his descendants taking the same dare-devil approach as he once had. According to Winston jnr his grandpere summoned him to his home in Hyde Park Gate shortly before he was due to depart for Africa in a single-engine plane in 1961. 'He said severely that he did not approve of my hazardous enterprise at all,' explained the MP, adding: 'I was shocked, but I knew the only way to deal with a difficult Churchill was to counter-attack.' He replied swiftly: 'At my age in 1898 you were just about to lead one of the last great calvary charges in Africa at Omdurman.' Now, far be it from me to suggest it was the flattery that worked, but 'I think,' came at last from the elder statesman, 'that you may have a point.'
BRIAN Eno is a very busy man: not only is he entering the ranks of academia by accepting, as I recorded last week, a professorship from the RCA, but after a separation of 15 years he is reuniting with Iman's husband, David Bowie, also a man who purports to have discarded the baser of elements of artistry for the more cerebral - he is on the editorial board of the art magazine Modern Painters. The pair's first collaboration is due out in January, and, according to helpful agents it is 'completely indescribable - all based on improvisation'. On their second, however, they are clearer. It is produced by Eno, apparently, and is vaguely reminiscent of Bowie's cult album 'Low'.
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