Diary: Getting by with a little help from a friend is tricky work

Click to follow
The Independent Online

As regular readers will no doubt agree, this column has never been one for cheap, lazy innuendo (well, perhaps not every day, anyway). So you can appreciate my mounting irritation with the ill-informed hints about the good Mr Fox's private life, being frequently bandied about via various media outlets. To roughly translate, we're being constantly told, with what amounts to an old-fashioned wink and nudge, that the happily married Defence Secretary and his controversial pal Adam Werritty are "good friends"; "special friends"; "best, best friends"; and so on and so on. It really has become pretty tiresome, unsubstantiated stuff. If only the late great Kenneth Williams was on hand to give us a knowing raise of the eyebrows.

* What with our Defence Secretary having to endure all kinds of unhelpful scrutiny of his overseas liaisons, I'm sure another international man of mystery will be giving an all-too-knowing shake of the head. Naturally I speak of that most misunderstood of globetrotters, the Duke of York, who, despite valiantly representing Britain's interests abroad in a way only he knew how, was obliged to give up his title as a UK trade ambassador, after details emerged of, among other things, his friendship with an American billionaire sex offender. While I should of course stress that the one-time "Randy Andy" was himself as clean as a whistle, it was felt, reportedly following a discussion with the Queen no less, that the boy had to fall on his sword for (I loosely recall Don Corleone) the sake of the family. Still, despite the best efforts of those who clearly don't understand just what the Duke sacrifices for the sake of the nation, he's still apparently been good enough to continue his foreign travels on our behalf in a less formal capacity. I can't pretend to know the Duke personally, but I'm pretty sure he'd want me to tell the good Dr Fox to stick to his guns in these regrettable times of adversity.

* News of a brief showbiz sighting at the re-launch of column favourite Piers Morgan's Kensington boozer, The Hansom Cab, this week. Observers report that amid the star-studded guest list lurked a melancholy, shadowy figure, fitting the description of the man who used to be Andy Coulson. The former tabloid editor turned former Downing Street spin doctor was, I'm told, trying to keep himself to himself, only for some predatory young lass from the Daily Mail to start harassing him with an unwelcome line of questioning. One top contributor to this column – who, frankly, more than occasionally lets himself down at such gatherings – hazily recalls seeing Coulson "leaving pretty sharpish".

Boris and Ken as mayoral pizzas? I can't top that

It would certainly be beneath as principled a columnist as I to use this page to crassly try and secure free pizza for myself and my freeloading colleagues. Indeed, I hate cheap product placement as much as the next person. So, it's with some reluctance that I'm obliged to announce my good friends (!) at Pizza Express are currently offering rival Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone pizzas on their menus in the English capital. "If you like a Sloppy Giuseppe, you'll love the 'Boris', with spicy beef, onions, peppers and an extra mop of Mozzarella on top – highlighting Boris's famously unkempt hair," we're told. "The 'Ken' is a twist on our new Pomodoro Pesto, with a strong tomato base and avocado featured as a nod to his 'Red Ken' persona." Diners are voting for their favourite, with the victor to be announced at the London Restaurant Festival next week. Should I be required to perform my all-important democratic duty in the meantime (preferably, with complimentary garlic bread and a beverage of choice) then naturally I will step up to the plate.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

Comments