England's World Cup exit is having a convulsive effect on the publishing trade. Remember Wayne Rooney's staggering £5m deal with HarperCollins in 2006, to produce five volumes of autobiography over the course of his career (His agent said it would be "like the Star Wars series")? One of the tomes was to be a diary of the lads' glorious 2010 campaign in South Africa. Only now that the shirty Number 10 is sunbathing in Barbados without a single goal to his name, the book has been quietly shelved. It's unfortunate: an insider's account of the dysfunctional England camp would doubtless make compelling reading, which is why Fabio Capello has already been offered £1m for his side of the story – and nobly declined, preferring his FA salary. It's also, we must assume, the reason another HarperCollins title, Why England Lose, is climbing the charts, and was just named The Bookseller magazine's book of the week. Meanwhile, Totally Frank, the memoir of Rooney's fellow mis-firer Frank Lampard, has been appearing on booksellers' websites under the title "Totally Rank". A mistake, apparently.
* Diary was gratified to be invited to what we're assured was the season's hottest literary do: the HarperCollins summer party, where Lord Mandelson, the event's star turn, was introduced to Dan Jones, author of Summer of Blood, a history of the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. "When my book came out, a bunch of Labour backbench rebels called themselves the Peasants' Revolt," Jones informed the former Secretary of State for Business. "Which coup was that?" Mandy replied. "Or should I say, which non-coup was that?" He gently racked his brains for a moment. "Was it late 2008?" Jones: "It must have been around the time of the expenses crisis." Mandy: "September 2008? No, no, I don't think it was then." J: "Well, the book was out in May 2009." M: "Oh, around the time James Purnell left?" J: "Precisely." M: "Oh, well, that petered out...So what do you write?" J: "Oh, popular medieval history." M: "Popular medieval history?" Mandelson mulled the idea for a moment, then rolled his eyes, rather as if he considered it an oxymoron.
* Later, introduced to Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, Mandy's memory faltered once more. "I've got one of your albums," he said. "Yeah?" Kemp replied, chuffed. "Which one?" "Erm, the one with the blurry cover." Even the sharpest minds deteriorate in retirement.
* Since today's column seems to be a publishing industry special, we return to Louise Bagshawe MP's novel, Passion (£3.96 from Amazon; Heat magazine calls it "a thrilling mix of danger and lust"). As mentioned previously, Bagshawe plugged the book during a Commons debate on Wednesday. The Labour MP Kerry McCarthy had also given it a mention in the chamber. Now we're informed that no less a figure than the Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has also given it his backing in Parliament, describing Bagshawe as a "distinguished author" on 21 June. Nigel Evans, the deputy Speaker, threatened last week to consult Erskine May on the subject of product placement, but hasn't got around to it just yet. "I'm not sure how well-read [Bagshawe] is on the backbenches of Parliament," Evans reflects. "The House of Commons is the worst place to plug anything. I'd have thought there were a million better places to find publicity, especially the pages of The Independent newspaper." Well indeed.
* Could Jeremy Hunt, Ed Vaizey's boss at the DCMS, really be the next Conservative leader? Worth a flutter, with Ladbrokes putting him at 20/1. And Matthew D'Ancona seems to agree. In the forthcoming August issue of GQ, he calls Hunt "the man to watch". Why? Because Hunt, writes D'Ancona, is "a man so ambitious, he squeaks when he walks."
* Yet more football, after we spoke to BBC Sport's Gabby Logan at the launch of the new "baby" Land Rover – with an interior designed by WAG-in-chief Vicky Beckham. Shockingly, Logan is supporting Germany now that England are out. Well, her husband is a Scot. And, she explained: "The English are really much closer to the Germans than we think; that's why we don't get on. We both like football and beer. Although they're probably a little bit better at organising things than we are." Logan was also helpful enough to point out Beckham to our reporter. "I'd recognise that bottom anywhere," she said.Reuse content