Diary: Button doesn't push Tamara's
Monday 22 August 2011
"Don't call me a socialite, call me a businesswoman," demanded the socialite Tamara Ecclestone in The Mail on Sunday. The daughter of diminutive F1 boss Bernie, Miss Ecclestone claims her father's name has been both a blessing and a curse, although his £2.5bn is mostly a blessing: if she were PM for a day, she says, "the first thing I'd do is abolish inheritance tax". Miss Ecclestone also harbours a grudge against the dashing F1 star Jenson Button, apparently because he once answered his phone in her company. "Jenson Button used to be a likeable guy but fame has gone to his head," she claims. "I was conducting an interview with him in 2009 and he broke it off to take a call on his mobile. To me, that's the height of bad manners. He seems to have changed enormously as a person on the back of his F1 success. I don't even think he deserved to be world champion. There's no way he'd have won in 2009 if everyone had been driving similar cars. Quite simply, there's no way he's the best F1 driver." What if he was just taking a call from his mum?!
* So who was the young man with the "shock of white-blond hair" who chucked a pot plant through the window of an Oxford restaurant during Boris and Dave's Buller days, if not Boris himself? Of the others in that famous Club photo, could it have been the fair-haired Sebastian James, who just happened to be holidaying with the PM in Tuscany as the London riots were in full swing? No matter; their antics, it turns out, were as nothing to another, less famous but far more destructive Bullingdon episode. During the 1890s, an unlikely riot was sparked in the quad of Christ Church College, resulting in the smashing of 400 panes of glass. Seventeen Buller men were sent down for the incident. Might some future Tory cabinet ministers have been among them?
* So the Notting Hill Carnival will go ahead after all. Personally, I prefer not to spend my bank holiday squeezed uncomfortably close to my fellow sweaty Londoners, listening to loud and distorted dancehall and needing very badly to wee. But to those who like that sort of thing, beware! According to the acclaimed novelist Andrew O'Hagan, who is speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival today, the Carnival (or just "Carnival", as its adherents seem to prefer) is "the place where I probably got the drunkest in my life. I've got a tattoo to prove it". And what, pray tell, does said tattoo depict? A dolphin, apparently: symbol of harmony. He really must have been drunk.
* Speaking of novelists, word reaches this column that Kay Burley – ice dancer, Sky News presenter and cosmetic surgery spokesperson – has completed her second novel. Regular readers will recall that her debut, the soft-porn political satire First Ladies, is one of my poolside reading recommendations this summer – if, say, you're in a remote holiday timeshare with only that and Gordon Brown's book to choose from. Her sophomore effort Betrayal is, she says, about "a privileged young girl who discovers her father has potentially given her a death sentence". Bleak, eh? To cheer you up, some fondly remembered extracts from First Ladies... Page 51: "Erica giggled at Ben's embarrassment and allowed her hand to rest on his inner thigh." Page 127: "Charlie turned... to pay a little more attention to a young lady who was gently caressing his inner thigh." Page 404: "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."
* On Friday I reported that the bespectacled cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall had been plucked from the choppy waters off Devon by a brave lifeboat crew-member. Now a media celebrity is the hero of the high seas. Not so long ago, he was one of the (alleged) sexist villains of Sky Sports. But today, Talksport host Richard Keys is a legend once more. Keys told his rapt listeners how, while sailing in Majorca, he rescued a pair of fellow Brits from their stricken vessel. "Five more minutes and their boat would have been matchsticks," he claimed. "I was very much a hero." Of the couple, Keys continued: "The lady looked really distressed and couldn't swim." She probably doesn't know the offside rule either, bless her.
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