Diary: Bono and the art of creation
"Creating art that has never been done before is the reason I get out of bed in the morning," diminutive U2 frontman Paul "Bono" Hewson has informed The New York Times, before comparing his latest work with that of Rilke, William Blake, Wim Wenders and Roy Lichtenstein. The project in question? Spider-Man, the musical, which begins previews on Broadway next week after a postponement for extra rehearsals. The man Tony Blair thought would make a better Prime Minister than Gordon Brown – a singer, activist, hotelier, sometime newspaper editor and leading investor in "arguably the worst run institutional fund of any size in the United States" – went on, "If the only wows you get from Spider-Man are visual, special-effect, spectacular-type wows, and not wows from the soul and the heart, we will all think that we've failed." Perhaps anticipating more critical "hmms" than "wows", Paul plans to be in Australia when the curtain rises on the first performance.
* The as-yet-incomplete "History Of Ed Vaizey In 100 Gaffes" acquired a new entry this week, when the bungle-prone GQ columnist and Culture Minister mistook the British Museum's 3,000-year-old Irish warrior bracelet (worth an estimated £95,000) for a Kinder Egg prize, and slipped it onto his sizeable wrist. Appalled staff informed him that the bracelet was so delicate it should only be handled with gloves. Vaizey displayed his glaring ignorance of Bronze Age culture while visiting the museum to announce a 15 per cent budget cut to the Portable Antiquities Service, which helps keep such treasures in the UK. His critics have one thing to thank him for, however: by roughly handling such a precious object, he provides opponents of the arts cuts with a perfect metaphor to include in some leftist verbatim play.
* So-called synergies between Richard "I've got so much money it's ridiculous" Desmond's Daily Express and his latest acquisition, Five, resulted in at least one scoop days after he took charge of terrestrial telly's neglected youngest child: Ian Wright, claimed the paper, "stormed out" of Live From Studio Five after being told his contract wouldn't be renewed. Yesterday, however, a modest retraction: "We accept that Mr Wright did not 'storm out'," says the Express. "He was asked not to attend the television studio." Sacked and slandered, then. Tough week. Desmond reportedly asked the show's remaining presenters, Jayne Middlemiss and Kate Walsh, to wear short skirts in future. Wright, no fashion slouch, is more fond of trilby hats and garish pinstripe. Might his refusal to wear a skirt have been the real reason for his abrupt departure?
* For an institution founded to prevent its spread, the European Parliament is remarkably rife with accusations of fascism. Yesterday it was reliably barmy UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom who barked "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer!" during a speech by Martin Schulz of Germany's Social Democrats. Bloom was ordered from the chamber, much to the chagrin of the Dutch Freedom Party, whose own Daniël van der Stoep was once called a fascist by Schulz, who escaped censure. Meanwhile, Bloom's most vocal supporter in the chamber during the resulting ruckus was none other than beleaguered BNP leader Nick Griffin, no stranger to allegations of fascistic sympathies himself. Sounds like a riot, Strasbourg. (It's not.)
* Miliband (E) isn't the only Red hunting for a new press chief, I see. The Glazers, owners of Man Utd, are also losing their PR man. Might I recommend the services of Clapham-based Brighter PR, who are getting used to tough gigs? The firm is responsible for convincing vacationers to visit South Korea, potential venue for World War Three, and to fly with Qatar Airways, inadvertent carrier of the "toner-cartridge" bomb.
* Turning disaster to free publicity is second nature to Richard Branson, who insists he'll honour a pledge to dress as an air hostess and serve on an Air Asia flight. Branson lost a bet with Air Asia boss and Lotus Racing owner Tony Fernandes as to whose team would do better in the F1 championship. "I'll do it in about three months' time," Branson told me, though he won't be undercover. "I don't think a bearded man of 60 could get away with it. Do you?"
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