Diary: Craig Oliver's special spin on the Sound of Music

As the two halves of my torn betting slip lay forlornly in the wastepaper basket, I wasn't the only one scratching my head and wondering who Craig Oliver is. Even Westminster's most experienced hacks described Andy Coulson's replacement as a man without a past. Yet how swiftly such a past can be cobbled together when Fleet Street's finest are on the case. Here, for your continued enjoyment, is a picture you'll surely be seeing more of: Oliver in lederhosen at a so-called "BBC charity event".

Meanwhile, one reader of this column was so quick off the mark with a scurrilous email about Craig's father (let's just say that it involves "troosers", a car and a "young lady") that I almost suspect that "Pete from Aberdeen" is a pseudonym for a rival spinner such as Labour's Tom Baldwin. But that, surely, would be unthinkable?

* Monday's football transfer shenanigans seem yet more spectacularly misjudged in the context of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's imminent investigation into football governance. "We'll be taking evidence from some interesting characters," agrees committee member Alan Keen, also the chair of the All Party Football Group (you'll recall him from yesterday's column). Sadly, the committee only has powers to compel witnesses to attend if they're domiciled in this country – which, by my count, precludes the owners of Manchester's United and City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Aston Villa. Still, they could definitely get Mike Ashley. Do they serve beer?



* What, I wonder, did equality minister Lynne Featherstone make of the Sky sexism row? The lovely Lynne seemed flattered to be named "Most Fanciable MP" in a Sky poll last year, and her male colleagues concur. I'm told one beer-swilling Lib Dem parliamentarian recently declared, Andy Gray-like, that a call from the honey-voiced Featherstone is "pretty much as good as phone sex".

* To the Shaw Theatre, to hear Gilbert & George discuss their latest exhibition of "Urethra Postcard Art". The conceptual art veterans also provided some hints about their next project, to be named "Vultures". It was inspired, they explained, by a waiter at their favourite Kurdish restaurant, who comes from an easily mispronounced region which I could only assume was Uyghuristan, in the greater Turkestan region of Central Asia, now part of China (thanks, Google). Said waiter, said Gilbert and/or George, loves vultures (his region's official bird) so they gave him a vulture-shaped hand puppet as a gift. Now, whenever he serves them, he "flies" it to them while wearing the puppet. The best ideas, they claimed, always come "out of the blue". You probably had to be there.



* An earthy coda to yesterday's tale about the late John Barry composing the Goldfinger theme as Michael Caine tried in vain to sleep upstairs. Barry's successor on the Bond movies, David Arnold, recently recalled a phone conversation with his hero: "I rang [John] up and asked, 'What's the secret to a Bond theme?' All he said was, 'Do whatever you like, but never forget – it must always be about cock'."



* I fear my Cotswold correspondent Crispin Mount may require a slap on the wrist – to be administered, in my absence, by his good lady wife Evadne. Last week he sent word of an alleged Conservative conspiracy to subcontract the costly council loos to a company whose MD is a councillor from neighbouring Wiltshire, one Roger "Chuck" Berry. In fact, an amused Chuck writes, "Council contracts are robustly tendered for [and] this sort of favouritism does not go on." Despite charging 20p to spend a penny, Chuck continues, "We are certainly not mega-profitable... [Cotswold District Council] takes about £100k in revenue from the 20ps, which works to lower the cost to local residents as most users are visitors from outside the district." All in all, Crispin, a bargain bathroom break.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?