Diary: Don't worry, Liam. Just remember David Mellor
Thursday 20 October 2011
As any former cabinet member knows, the first phonecall following the dreaded confirmation of their departure ought to be to the offices of an after-dinner speaking agency, to learn just how lucrative their post-ministerial career might be. With Liam Fox making his formal apology to the House of Commons yesterday, this column naturally got on the blower to Jeremy Lee, boss of leading agency JLA, to find out what the former Defence Secretary can expect now that he's inadvertently exposed just the corporate sorts who might have: a) given his chum Werritty lobbying work; and b) paid him to tell witty anecdotes over champagne and oysters. Lee, whose clients include David Blunkett, John Prescott, John Reid, Michael Portillo and Alastair Campbell, suggested the good doctor's stock may be rather low at present. "It will be some time before the corporate world is prepared to pay to listen to Liam Fox speak," he said. On a more positive note, Lee added: "These things can change. In time, David Mellor became one of the most popular people on the circuit."
* In a week of Manchester-based musical nostalgia, it's fitting that cheesemaker, Chipping Norton Settee and Blur bassist Alex James should announce his next creation: a mozzarella called "Wonderball". James recently came under fire from foodies for his ketchup-flavoured cheese slices (available from Asda). Among his other cheeses is a blue cheese named "Blue Monday", after the New Order hit. The latest stinker is a homage to the Oasis single, "Wonderwall", and seems a charming way to bury the hatchet with ex-Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher. In 1995, Gallagher said "I hate that Alex and Damon. I hope they catch Aids and die." (He later clarified his comments: "I realised that it was an insensitive thing to say as Aids is no joking matter and immediately retracted the comment. Although not being a fan of their music I wish both Damon and Alex a long and healthy life.") The clean-living James, now famously friendly with the PM and at least one Top Gear presenter, announced the name of his mozzarella to the Manchester Evening News, suggesting: "You could put a Roll With It."
* A detail from Simon Wells's new tome, Butterfly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drug Bust. Nigel Havers, ex-contestant on I'm A Celebrity..., is the son of a Lord Chancellor, Michael Havers, and grandson of a High Court judge, Sir Cecil Havers. In 1964, at 41, Michael became the youngest-ever QC. In 1967, he took on his biggest trial (unless you count the Yorkshire Ripper or the Guildford Four): Mick and Keith. "When the story [of their drug bust] hit the news," says Havers (N), "I remember my father saying 'I hope they don't ask me to defend them!' Later that night the phone went..." Havers (M) sought advice from Havers (Sir C). "He asked him, 'Should I take this case on? Because I am on a loser, aren't I?'... My grandfather replied, 'You must do it, and you must win!'" When the Stones met Havers (M) at his chambers, their sole demand, writes Wells, was "a glass of Scotch. Since he was bereft of alcohol, Havers had to borrow a bottle from a neighbouring chamber. From then on, he ensured that a drinks cabinet was always available when his celebrated clients visited."
* Hats off to the PR man for the Dog's Trust, which, as well as sad ads about cute dogs in search of kind owners, also produces a pet grooming range. And the products don't just work on dogs. Supermodel Helena Christensen assures trusting hacks: "My son's lips always get very dry and red and swell up during the harsh winter months. I have tried every possible lip balm, but none of them were able to stop them from cracking... until we put 'Snout Balm' on. His lips have not been chapped once since. I use the balm myself now, on my lips and on dry spots in my face or body. It's a little miracle, the 'Snout Balm'."
* More from Tamara Ecclestone, who yesterday told us her reality show Billion $$ Girl would prove she's not an "awful spoilt rich girl". Today, news that a photoshoot for the programme features Ms Ecclestone posing nude atop £1m in cash that she had "lying around". Might she be having us on?
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