Diary: Chauvinism on tap brews up a Commons row


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The Independent Online

Someone call Louise Mensch. Top Totty has been banned from Parliament. "Disturbing" (Equality for Shadows Minister Kate Green) and "Outrageous" (full-time tweeter Sally Bercow) were among the measured reactions to the sale of a bawdily named guest beer in the Strangers Bar at Westminster. It was the "picture of a nearly naked woman on the tap" that so moved Ms Green to raise the matter in the Mother (outrageous!) of all parliaments. "I would very much regret it if any offensive pictures were on display in any part of the House," remarked Leader of the House Sir George Young. The beer – hoppy, with an initial burst of bitterness – is no longer on sale.


Band appeals for van on the run

A warning for all unsigned bands. If you receive a shock invitation to appear on Graham Norton's BBC1 chat show, don't leave the van containing all your instruments and clothes outside the driver's house.

Matthew Bennett, frontman with Birmingham band The Musgraves said: "We woke up on the morning of the recording to find that our van had been stolen. We lost everything including the special £200 shoes I was going to wear."

Desperate not to miss out on their big chance, the band dashed to Birmingham New Street station but discovered that all trains to Euston were cancelled.

Happily, they eventually made it to London and played live with borrowed instruments on the show, which will be broadcast tonight. Bennett wore his last pair of shoes, with the soles worn out.

After their brush with fame, The Musgraves will play at the Actress And Bishop pub in Birmingham tonight – if they can locate some instruments.

Bennett said: "It should have been the best day of our lives. I hope the people who took our instruments practise and form a good band."

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of a white Mercedes Sprinter van, Reg BD52 ARO, might just get in free tonight.

He was the main man, but now...

Leonardo Da Vinci, charlatan and fraud. In a week where a frankly far superior portrait of the Mona Lisa at the Prado in Madrid was revealed to have been painted by a Da Vinci lackey while the man himself looked on, it also appears that his Vetruvian Man (naked chap doing a starjump, circle round the outside) wasn't his own work either.

More than 25 years after a very similar but slightly older drawing was discovered in an obscure library, the Smithsonian magazine reports that Italian architect Claudio Sgarbi is about to publish papers naming the drawer as yet another Leonardo luvvie, a young but obscure contemporary called Giacomo Andrea Da Ferrara, who Sgarbi says, created his drawing in 1480 – years before Da Vinci's own picture was produced. "Everything started to fit perfectly, like in a puzzle," Mr Sgarbi told the magazine, at the end of more than two decades of research. Da Vinci? Puzzle? Now where have we heard that before? Indeed it does make one wonder what the big man did all day. Gallivant round Paris laying out some ridiculous treasure hunt?


Franglais won't get Boris far

Who knows what dark ambition whirs beneath the flaxen dome of the Mayor of London, but it seems the United States Presidency is right out. Opening the new shared pavement esplanade of Exhibition Road yesterday, Boris Johnson dared to entertain the Imperial College crowds with a speech given partly in that most worrisome tongue, French. Guileful protesters meant the Mayor had to compete with internal fire alarms for the last five minutes, but he apparently "used [them] to his advantage." Très bien, Monsieur le Maire.