Diary: Cameron bonds with Bear
Friday 24 June 2011
Bear Grylls and Dave Cameron, fellow Old Etonians – and, like myself, thriving survivors of Boarding School Syndrome – were recently introduced, Grylls tells me at a screening of his new Discovery Channel series Born Survivor. "He was cool, actually," said Grylls with an admirably straight face. "He's got a real presence about him. Politics aside, I thought he was great. Actually not even politics aside: I think his politics are great!"
The abnormally enthusiastic survival expert occasionally invites celebrities to join him on wilderness expeditions, with Jake Gyllenhaal due to appear in a forthcoming episode of his other programme, Man vs Wild.
Given his and Grylls' compatibility, might I be the first to float the idea of the Prime Minister taking part in a future episode. I'm sure there are plenty of voters who would be eager to see Dave eating grubs. And, frankly, if you've survived such boarding school initiation rites as "Running the Gauntlet" or "Spanking the Monkey", the rainforest floor seems almost inviting.
* Hot on the heels of yesterday's Pippa Middleton-themed story – in which designer Alice Temperley absolutely refused to cash in on the gown she created for Pippa to wear to the royal wedding reception (in an interview illustrated with a picture of said gown) – comes the sorry tale of someone shameless enough to invoke poor Pippa's name in a shabby bid to draw attention to their product. R&B artist Usher reveals that he's keen to see the future queen's sister as the face (or other body part) of his new lingerie line, Usher Confessed. "I don't think there's a more beautiful, more stunning, more talked-about woman in the world at the moment," he told the Daily Star. "I'm sure everybody is trying to sign her up. She won't be cheap but she has the looks and the popularity to really establish a new product." I fear he'll be disappointed: reports from the Palace suggest Ms Middleton prefers to eschew underwear altogether.
* While we're on the subject of Pippa, and on the shameless use of her name and/or image to draw attention to one's product, Tony Edwards – organiser of the annual Rear of the Year competition – is putting the recent Arsegate controversy behind him, following Carol Vorderman's bottom's dubious victory in the 2011 ladies' event. The Rear of the Year, he reveals, is expanding (as it were) to the rest of the world, with negotiations under way to mount a series of similar bunfights in the US, Australia and China. Early favourite for the Chinese men's contest is Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the Communist Party.
* Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis was less than impressed when he discovered that one of his staff had booked The Wombles to appear at this year's festival, but the Wimbledon Common residents remain on the bill, and will perform on the Avalon stage this Sunday. Mike Batt, who founded the chart-topping act in the 1970s, has assured potential audience members that the musicians beneath the furry costumes will not be mere session players, but famous names drafted in for the gig. "I think you might find... one or two that you'd have heard of," he revealed. "But I'm not going to say more than that." (My money's on the Fleet Foxes.) When Eavis told the BBC he was "cross" about the booking, Batt went on: "Uncle Bulgaria was miffed. I had to persuade him to turn up. The Wombles won't be picking up the litter after the show now, I'm afraid."
* Shocking scenes in Beverley, East Riding, where the wife of Conservative MP Graham Stuart recently convinced council contractors to use their leftover tarmac to resurface the private lane leading to the couple's so-called "luxury" home. Fellow residents of less-leafy-than-previously Seven Corners Lane are aghast, and have demanded the construction company, Galliford Try, tear up the road again. "This is an old lane with old houses, it's been that way since the year dot," neighbour Karen Brooks told the Hull Daily Mail. "Mr Stuart says it will be better for dog walkers and people visiting the tennis club, but what about the people who live here?" What indeed? This, Mr (and Mrs) Stuart, is what happens when you act without a mandate.
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