Diary: Compound interests

More on the reading habits of the Gaddafi family.

As this column noted on Tuesday, in 1990 the Colonel placed an order with Foyles bookshop in London for a large consignment of romance novels by the late Dame Barbara Cartland, who claimed to be the Libyan despot's "favourite author".

Now, the ransacking of Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli has thrown up alarming evidence pertaining to his daughter Aisha's literary tastes.

As well as a Cindy Crawford workout DVD and a book about Osama Bin Laden, Martin Fletcher of The Times reports that he discovered a thumbed copy of Heat magazine, and another of The Sunday Telegraph, among Aisha's abandoned belongings. Which explains a lot. (Or, possibly, nothing.)

Meanwhile, rebels paraded a photo album belonging to the fallen dictator, filled with pictures of former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

"I support my darling black African woman," Gaddafi once said of Rice. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders... Leezza, Leezza, Leezza... I love her very much."

* Tamara "don't call me a socialite" Ecclestone, 27-year-old socialite daughter of F1 boss Bernie, assured readers of the Mail on Sunday that even she had been affected by the financial crisis – despite her father's £2.5bn fortune. "The recession had had some influence on my spending habits," Ecclestone claimed. "I think a lot more carefully these days before splashing out on a £700 handbag... My dad has always instilled in me the need to be careful with money. At 17, he gave me my first credit card. It was meant to be for absolute essentials. The problem was that we had a very different idea of what was essential." Might the definition of "essential" stretch to include the car of which she took delivery on Wednesday: a £370,000 Ferrari 599 (her second; she bought an identical one earlier this year)?

* The Daily Mirror has accused The Guardian of hypocrisy, after the latter published a Ryanair advertisement for cheap flights to Germany. "See The Fräuleins With The Big Jugs" implores the ad (published on Wednesday), picturing a buxom young woman in traditional Bavarian dress clutching a foamy stein. The ailing paper was besieged with calls from its right-on readership over the extraordinarily sexist ad," the Mirror claims. "Even their own staff were up in arms, some phoning in from their rustic Tuscan holidays to complain. One said: 'I nearly choked on my gluten-free organic muesli when I saw it.'" This seems remarkable, given that the international edition of The Guardian – the only version available in Tuscany – did not carry the ad. It does, however, carry the continuing coverage of (for example) phone-hacking.

* So Sir Alex Ferguson has finally agreed to chat to the BBC again, after seven years, in a truce part-brokered by the director of BBC North, Peter Salmon. Salmon will have come under intense personal pressure to reach out to Fergie: he may be a staunch Burnley FC supporter, but his three sons from his first marriage are all Manchester United fans, as is his one son from his second marriage to actress Sarah Lancashire, as are Lancashire's two sons from her previous marriage. Perhaps he broke the ice by asking for six autographs.

* Also in football and/or budget airline news, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown travelled to Geneva this week to speak to the International Labour Organisation. Given the sales figures for Brown's books, it's perhaps little surprise that he flew with EasyJet. Presumably, however, he hadn't planned on having to share his plane with a small crowd of Celtic fans on their way to their team's Europa League qualifier against FC Sion. Inevitably, the ex-PM and Raith Rovers supporter was forced to listen to a number of cruel terrace-style ditties at his expense. Brown's old sparring partner, John Reid, is the present Celtic chairman. I feel certain he'd disapprove of such behaviour.

* And finally, not content with featuring on the cover of not-Sir Richard Desmond's OK! magazine every other week, Katie Price – the artist formerly known as Jordan – is to launch her own magazine, imaginatively entitled Katie, in September. Ms Price has reportedly written all the features in the first issue herself, and selected all the photographs. Five of these photographs appear on the cover; all of them are photographs of Katie Price. The enticing cover lines, meanwhile, include: "The beauty products I can't live without"; "I give my verdict on celebrities' style"; "I give my friends a Jordan makeover"; and "I will get married again". Since you ask, it's £3.99.


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