Diary: As older women like it
Thursday 07 July 2011
To the Chelsea Theatre, for the opening night of As I Like It, an autobiographical play by the socialite and poet (no, really), Amanda Eliasch. The racy 75-minute monologue takes in everything from childhood sexual abuse to adult infidelity. "After the age of 38," Eliasch complained, "there aren't any sexy roles for women in plays, and nowadays women can be sexy until they're 80!" Was she playing to the gallery? Her audience contained, among others, the sexy older women Nancy Dell'Olio (49), Vivienne Westwood (70), and newly blonde Tracey Emin (48). "I enjoyed the play," Emin told me. "But it was seven minutes too long."
* Glenn Mulcaire, best known to the public as one of the private investigators hired by the News of the World to engage in ethically dubious activities on its behalf, once harboured dreams of footballing stardom. As a semi-professional player, he was the scorer of plucky AFC Wimbledon's first ever goal, against Bromley in 2002. The YouTube footage exists, and the goal is a genuine screamer: a left-footed volley from outside the area. This week, the former jailbird issued a request through his lawyers, asking hacks and paps to leave the area surrounding his family home, where they were lying in wait to accost the man at the heart of the phone-hacking storm. I do hope he takes some comfort in finally being able to experience the life of a Premier League star.
* Hugh Grant, this column can now semi-exclusively reveal, has a new "other half": the dissolute former News of the World journalist and publican Paul McMullan, who has been linked to the just-about-retired actor by newspapers, magazines and a number of television and radio broadcast outlets. Their relationship was cemented after a lengthy drinking session and intimate conversation at the Dover establishment owned by Mr McMullan – an encounter that was later splashed across the pages of the celebrity publication the New Statesman. The pair are now, I have been led to believe, virtually inseparable. Where one of them appears, arguing a point about the phone-hacking scandal, the other will surely follow. Might I propose Messrs Grant and McMullan formalise their union, and begin a tour of the country's provincial town halls, where they can continue to present their opposing views while titillating the audience with their love-hate relationship, until the matter is well and truly dealt with by a public inquiry – which may, of course, take some years. It's a show I'd pay to see again and again.
* More news from the contest to become the Lib Dem nominee for London mayor, which has been compared (by me, now) to the three-legged race at a primary school sports day. Announcing his candidacy, the late entrant Brian Paddick boasted "my news and current affairs appearances outweigh my light entertainment appearances by at least 100:1." His rival, Lembit Opik, now tells me he'll be damaging a ratio already endangered by the likes of Celebrity Come Dine With Me and Bargain Hunt Famous Finds when he takes part in a new reality show for the Welsh channel S4C, alongside such high-profile names as Ross from Goldie Lookin Chain. Still, Paddick shouldn't brag. The remaining candidates, the former councillor Brain Haley and ex-accountant Mike Tuffrey, have approximately zero light entertainment appearances between them: an unassailable record.
* Meanwhile in the Midlands, the former parliamentary candidate and Lib Dem council leader Roger Harmer tells the Birmingham Mail that he was "shocked" to be offered "sexual services" after visiting a Thai massage parlour in the hope of alleviating chronic back pain. Mr Harmer quickly made his excuses and left, he says. It is this column's civic duty, therefore, to warn anyone in search of a massage, and nothing more, to avoid the establishment in question, which is called Fruity Spa, and is (says its website, with which clients must register before their visit) "run by women with men in mind".
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