Diary: Boris and Arnie bond on bikes

As next year's London mayoral election approaches, we can doubtless expect to see many more pictures of alleged babydaddy Boris Johnson wobbling along on the bicycles that (thanks to that handily alliterative "B") happen to bear his name, accompanied by some celebrity or other. Here, balancing on the aforementioned "Boris bikes", are the Mayor and his chum Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom he once described as a "monosyllabic Austrian cyborg". Schwarzenegger seemed very taken with the contraption, saying (with a frankly admirable grasp of English): "The bike rides really well, it is solid, it burns calories so you can eat a few extra Wiener schnitzel and you get away with it... It's a brilliant idea and it shows great leadership from the Mayor. Great, great leadership." The bikes, he went on, "are a great idea for the whole world". I can only agree – though I feel duty-bound to point out that this particular "great idea" was conceived not under Boris, but under Ken Livingstone.

* In case you hadn't noticed – though you seem to read newspapers, so you can hardly have failed to – Toby Young (journalist, 47, Conservative with a large "C") is to open his own "free school" in London, a project supported by Harry Phibbs (journalist of indeterminate age, Conservative councillor). Not everyone wishes them well, however, as a document being distributed anonymously to London diary hacks such as myself appears to prove. Said document is a letter from a young Young, then a sixth-former at William Ellis comprehensive in north London, to Phibbs, inviting him to join his political discussion group, "The Young Apostles". Writing on his father's House of Lords headed paper, Young reassures Phibbs that "females" are banned from the group, as "I don't believe them equiped [sic] with the ability to discuss things". (Though, he admits, "some local saggy-titted feminists... picketed the first meeting".) Among Young's "apostles", he claims, are the sons of MPs Michael Meacher and George Gardiner. Happily, Young has since learnt the error of his ways: his West London Free School is non-selective, and open to children of both sexes.

* The young Young might have benefited from the sage advice of Sarah Brown, speaking this week to sixth formers at her own alma mater, Camden School for Girls, about her work with women's rights organisation the White Ribbon Alliance. Brown urged "boys and girls alike" to embrace feminism. Asked by a male student whether it was tricky to get boys to embrace feminism, when the name itself suggests femininity, Brown replied schoolmarmishly: "You'll just have to get over it, it's only a word." Toby, take note.

* More spectacularly skilful synergies in the service of Richard Desmond, philanthropist and former publisher of Asian Babes. Yesterday, Desmond's Daily Star devoted its front page to a rather bold job offer. Cheryl Cole, claimed the paper, "could sensationally snub X Factor supremo Simon Cowell by accepting a £5million deal to host a new-look Big Brother". Pending talks with production company Endemol, Big Brother is expected to return to our screens (praise be!) via Channel Five – now owned by Desmond. But don't expect Cheryl to be there when it does.

* Word reaches me of another optimistic offer from Desmond's empire. Hardly had Little Ed Miliband announced his engagement, I'm told, when Desmond's OK! magazine called hoping to cover the wedding with a glossy photoshoot. Miliband, though familiar with the shoulders of giants (Pankhurst, Mandela, etc), seemed nervous to stand on those of Jordan and the Rooneys, declining the invitation before a fee could even be discussed. The thought of Big Ed Balls and Miliband (D) grinning in morning suits from the coffee table of my dentist's waiting room is not an appealing one, but I'm sure Justine would have looked fetching in hot pink.

* Some final extracts from Kay Burley's novel First Ladies. Page 51: "Erica giggled at Ben's embarrassment and allowed her hand to rest on his inner thigh." P127: "Charlie turned... to pay a little more attention to a young lady who was gently caressing his inner thigh." P404: "She made no attempt to disguise her glee at the image of a young Jimmy Phillips with his hand resting on the inner thigh of a quite obviously delighted Ben Watson, his expectation most apparent."


ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits