The feral beast: 07/02/2010

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The Independent Online

Jones forsakes celebrity house

Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones was approached to appear in Celebrity Big Brother for, I can reveal, a figure not unadjacent to £150,000. Now living in rural bliss with a number of damaged animals, she decided against submitting herself to the profile-raising ordeal.

Like any responsible employee, I'm told, she consulted her employer before making a decision, which, given the Mail's unwavering moral compass, will doubtless have been met with warm approval.

What's a party between friends?

Who was the political editor who offered to describe Labour spin doctor Lance Price as a "senior Tory source" when Price was, er, working for Tony Blair? In his book Where Power Lies, Price discloses that the journalist offered to use that description in exchange for some information which reflected badly on the Tory party. I gather the culprit still works at Westminster. But he or she will probably never be brought to book. There is safety in numbers. When Price told the political editor of another national paper that the story was in his book, he was told "Oh, I am sure I've done that too."

Hind's strokes of luck

"Tabloid journalist Katie Hind" was named as "the one that got away" in a round-up of John Terry's conquests: apparently she was "bombarded with explicit sexual text messages, which she ignored", after meeting Terry at a nightclub. It's not the first time The People's Hind has been linked to a big sex story: only last year she claimed to have nearly been the victim of taxi rapist John Warboys in a first person exclusive. Clearly she has luck on her side.

Campbell cosies up to virtual critics

Alastair Campbell says he has not had a launch for his latest novel because he's not "a launch party kind of person". But to compensate, he has written up an imaginary party on his blog, complete with invented conversations with newspaper diarists, in which he plays the polite and bashful author. You have to hand it to his fiction-writing abilities: as every diarist will attest, Campbell's standard response to being approached invariably involves the word "off".

Fictional editor fails face test

Was Tatler's decision to replace the editor of Bystander with a fictional character wise? In March's parties section, man-about-town Tim Willis is incorrectly captioned Tim Jenkins. The blunder is particularly odd as Willis is one of the most ubiquitous faces in town. There's certainly no mistaking him at the Mail, where he spends a lot of time researching a biography of vintage diarist Nigel Dempster. He's even been given a library desk, though I gather some of Dempster's closest friends are refusing to talk.

So good they ran it twice, twice

We bow to the Daily Mail's two excellent diaries, but do they talk to each other? Twice last week Ephraim Hardcastle and Richard Kay carried the same story. Top tales both, and certainly good enough to print twice.