Diary: Florence and the machine
Monday 30 August 2010
The sickly-sweet official snaps of proud Prime Ministerial dad David Cameron and his newborn, Florence Rose Endellion, adorned a number of newspapers' front pages yesterday. Yet mother and baby were discharged from the Royal Cornwall Hospital on Friday lunchtime, and driven away quickly in black-windowed people carriers – much to the consternation of the assembled hacks and paps, who'd been hanging around since Tuesday to capture the first sighting of Flo Cam.
Why, with the sound of their disappointed sighs ringing in his ears, did the PM and his people wait until Saturday afternoon to release the photographs? Well, the youngest Cameron had already enjoyed a lot of play in last week's daily papers while her parents decided what to call her. Asked whether the pictures might just have been held back for 24 hours by the Conservative Party, so as to fill the Sundays with yet more cheerful, baby-based coverage – as opposed to, say, bad budgetary news – one Tory spinner responded: "You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment."
* John Hillcoat, the breezy film director behind such feel-good hits as The Proposition and The Road, says he's excited by the prospect of working with the equally easy-going Christian Bale. Bale's noisy run-in with a director of photography on the set of Terminator Salvation was leaked to the web, earning him an unfortunate reputation for stroppiness. But Hillcoat, who's reportedly due to work with Bale on The Revenant, insists the star is "more reasonable than most" – and the victim of a smear. "The DP sold him down the river," Hillcoat told me at the launch of the exhibition Daydreaming... with James Lavelle at London's Haunch of Venison. "He breached the trust of the film set. When I heard the YouTube clip, I phoned Christian's agent immediately and said, 'He sounds really reasonable. I want to work with him!'" Based on Michael Punke's novel, The Revenant tells of a frontiersman who seeks revenge on the men who leave him for dead after he's mauled by a bear. I think it's a romantic comedy.
* There ought to be an algebraic rule for how many tweets it takes an MP to cause a kerfuffle. The latest candidate is Stewart Jackson, Tory member for Peterborough, whose 478th tweet ("V disappointing news on STD rates in Pboro. No doubt our liberal friends will tell us we need MORE sex education – as it's worked so well!") appeared to blame the spread of sexually transmitted infections on sex education. Health experts and campaigners were upset by the remark, but Mr Jackson merely warmed to his theme: "Touched a raw nerve with shrill intolerant pro-sex education lefties," the MP went on. These "sad tedious sex-obsessed leftie weirdos" were, he concluded, "unable to debate issues without personal abuse."
How dare they!
* BBC1 controller Jay Hunt has announced a raft of recommissions, including a second series of Sherlock and two feature-length specials of Luther, with Idris Elba as the titular detective. Sadly, the episodes won't benefit from the presence of Steven Mackintosh as Luther's nemesis, Ian. Mackintosh tells me he loved the role but won't return unless Ian makes a miraculous recovery "or I come back as a ghost – but I think that's highly unlikely". In the final episode of the first series, Ian was blasted in the chest at close range with a sawn-off shotgun. And not even Sherlock Holmes could come back from that.
* Legal charity Reprieve's latest ruse is a replica Texas death-row cell in Trafalgar Square. Last week, the exhibit became emblematic of another issue besides the death penalty. Arriving to open the cell one morning, staff found the prison bars wrenched open and the bed slept in. Reprieve's executive director, Clive Stafford Smith, stated the bleeding obvious by suggesting: "It's much worse being in a real death-row cell... than being homeless." But, he added: "We should think hard before taking away government safety nets for those who become homeless, when someone on the streets of London prefers the limited amenities of a death-row cell to sleeping in a doorway." Sounds like one of those tedious leftie weirdos to me.
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