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.Reuse content