Diary: Boris Johnson and Kelly Brook launch London's Sky Ride

Boris Johnson and Kelly Brook linked arms yesterday to launch the 2010 Mayor of London's Sky Ride, a free mass-participation cycling event to be held in the capital this weekend. Speaking to James O'Brien of LBC Radio, Mr Johnson mentioned that a "very vociferous heckler" had done their utmost to disrupt the event. "But Kelly... showed the sangfroid worthy of a Napoleonic battlefield in the face of the hurly-burly of British politics." Having consulted a linguist, I shall attempt to deconstruct Mr Johnson's convoluted simile: I believe "sangfroid" refers to the "cold-bloodedness" of the troops who suffered through the emperor's many violent campaigns, and to the calmness of the Mayor's comely companion. One imagines that, while considering Ms Brook's suitability for 19th-century warfare, he was thinking of the bitterly cold, featureless landscapes of Russia, as opposed to, say, the battlefield of Napoleon's greatest victory – at Austerlitz, the location of which is famed for its twin mounds, Santon Hill (700ft) and Zuran Hill (850ft).

* It's been a long August of wheelie bins and parasailing donkeys, and as the last of the tumbleweed rolls through the newsrooms of the land, word reaches me that Number 10 didn't even bother to hold its regular briefing for Westminster's lobby journalists yesterday, so little news was there to report. The reason given – in a last-minute email to journalists cancelling the briefing – was that the Prime Minister's official spokesman, Steve Field, had been taken ill, while his deputy, Vickie Sheriff, is away on annual leave. "We will do our very best to hold a lobby briefing later this week," the apologetic missive went on, "provided Steve is back in shape, and there is appetite for one among the members of the lobby." I tried to call Downing Street to convey my hopes for Mr Field's speedy recovery, but there seemed not to be anybody manning the phones. I blame the cuts.

* It would never have happened in Alastair Campbell's day. Field's predecessor remains reluctant to let go of his old role, taking to his blog yesterday to defend his former boss Tony Blair from the criticisms surrounding today's publication of Blair's memoir, A Journey . "Hatred of TB re his book," Campbell argues, "is a form of media madness." He also took a moment to describe his old mucker Lord Mandelson's contribution to the Labour leadership debate as "as unwise as it was unwelcome". He refers, presumably, to Mandelson's recent slights on Ed Miliband, the candidate whom Campbell himself implied (all of three months ago) would make Labour "feel OK about losing again" and was not up to "taking difficult decisions".

* Aaron Johnson, the 20-year-old star of Kick-Ass and Nowhere Boy , tells Zoo magazine that he doesn't envy the greater fame of Twilight 's 24-year-old R-Pattz. "I wouldn't want to be the next Robert Pattinson," Johnson says. "I feel sorry for him. He's what? 24? And on 11-year-old girls' walls. He's on calendars, front covers and you know what? Fuck that... I did a film called Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and the producer told me it'd make me a heart-throb and I wanted to throw up. It sounds like a nightmare." Johnson, of course, has scant need for the adoration of 11-year-olds; the adoration of his 43-year-old fiancée, Sam Taylor-Wood, is surely sufficient. Probably helps that he gets on well with her 13-year-old daughter, though.

* Paul McCartney's former publicist Geoff Baker was a special guest at Liverpool International Beatle Week, where he revealed he'd been offered £150,000 to write a book about his 14 years with Macca. Baker and the Beatle fell out after Heather Mills suggested he was a bad influence on her then-husband, but Baker says he won't succumb to the temptation to tell all in print. He is, however, writing a novel about a world-famous rock star, but he says its "secretly gay" central character isn't based on McCartney.

* Both Liverpool and Newcastle football clubs are said to be pursuing a Dutch striker, one Ricky van Wolfswinkel. For the potential terrace chants alone, I hope one of them succeeds in signing him.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'