Diary: Dizzee with delight
Party of the year, we're assured, was the Serpentine Gallery's summer bash last week – to which Diary duly dispatched a reporter, hoping to garner some celebrity wisdom for your reading pleasure.
Lured by Grace Jones's preposterously unwieldy headgear, said reporter loitered alongside the singer and her silent entourage, whose attentions were focused on the ersatz 1980s disco taking place nearby. In response to said reporter's query (what did Ms Jones think of architect Jean Nouvel's vivid red pavilion installation and its contents?), Ms Jones put a hand to her throat and declared that she was "saving [her] voice". Saving it for a singing performance, or just for talking to someone more important?
The "secret" artist providing the evening's musical entertainment turned out to be not Jones, but Dizzee Rascal, who seemed a little shocked when the stage was invaded by posh girls crying: "It's so great he's gone disco!" and other such exclamations. So there's our answer.
* More coalition tensions in the shires. An email arrives from Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Liberal Democrat opposition leader on the Cotswold District Council – which comprises only Lib Dem and Conservative members. Hodgkinson tells us he presented a motion to the council supporting the coalition agenda, and suggesting they urge the local Tory MP to vote for certain Bills in the Commons. He'd predicted his motion "would unite the council for once... nothing could've been further from the truth." It was voted down by a substantial margin. Could this be because his favoured coalition policies are from the Lib Dem playbook (electoral reform chief among them)? Hodgkinson eagerly directs us to the Gloucestershire Echo, which reports that the Tories did indeed accuse him of "cherry-picking". "It's not a question of cherry-picking," he responded indignantly. "You need to get on the same viewpoint. The local press are here and the national press are also bound to pick up on it, too, so you'll regret it." Correct in one respect: the national press has picked up on it (see?). But is it his rivals who'll regret the episode, or Hodgkinson himself?
* You might say Lord Ashcroft was more trouble than he's worth to the Conservative Party, if he wasn't worth millions in campaign donations. But the Tory peer – who nobly resigned his non-dom status to retain his seat in the Lords – remains a source of discomfort for Cameroons, due to his criticisms of how his campaign cash was spent. The former Tory treasurer is said to be writing a book about the party leadership's electoral mis-steps. And yesterday Conservative Home, the website of which he is majority owner, announced he'd be speaking at one of its fringe events at this year's Tory conference, on the topic of "the Tory election performance". Should be interesting – especially for troublemaking hacks.
* Diary has a fast-growing reputation for factual vagueness, which can only have been enhanced by the news that GMTV is to be rebranded Daybreak upon the arrival of its new presenters, Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, later this summer. On 2 July we informed readers that the name Daybreak had been discarded by producers, because it is shared with the fictional and flagrantly awful breakfast news show that's the setting for Morning Glory – a Hollywood film (starring Harrison Ford) set to hit our cinemas at around the same time as Chiles and Bleakley's reunion. Evidently, ITV has called our bluff.
* Chiles, the channel must hope, will have a greater impact at breakfast time than he did during the World Cup. Given the choice between his ITV1 coverage of the final, and that of his former MOTD superior Gary Lineker on BBC1, audiences favoured the Beeb by a whopping 4.5-to-1 average, with the BBC hitting a peak viewership of 17.9 million to ITV's 3.8 million. Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television said Chiles had offered "a fresh perspective". Perhaps he's referring to the perspective from ITV's studio in Johannesburg, where the final was held. Lineker and co were 750 miles away in Cape Town.
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