Diary: Jackie Wilson says... Amis is OK

It's a while since Martin Amis wrote a novel of any great renown, but media types remain intent on sniffing out controversy in the poor chap's every utterance. So it was that last week he landed himself in a literary version of the Sky sexism row, with the Keysian contention that he'd only write a children's book if he had "a serious brain injury". Children's authors rushed to condemn him. "Arrogant twaddle," said Lucy Coats. "If he looked at the talent in children's literature he might change his mind," said Anthony Horowitz. "If I gave him £100 to write a children's book I bet he'd do a good one," agreed Roger McGough. Yet Amis has an ally in Jacqueline Wilson, creator of Tracy Beaker, who was today named the most borrowed author of the past 10 years in British libraries. "He's a very committed dad," she tells me. "When one of his daughters was younger, Martin and his wife queued up to get my book signed for her. He was sweet and charming and he's committed to making sure children are brought up reading children's books. He just likes to make dramatic statements." You'd think, with all this publicity, that he might sell a few more books.

* Dreamy Zac Goldsmith, the millionaire MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, seemed more chuffed to be named Most Fanciable MP 2011 than his joint title-holder Chuka Umunna, of nearby Streatham. Neither Umunna nor his alleged girlfriend, women's winner Luciana Berger, saw fit to give a statement on their triumph. But Goldsmith, 36, told reporters: "I'm sure voters in Richmond and Kingston will be thrilled to hear that I'm making good progress as their new MP." Sadly, Zac's Valentine's Day victory has not translated into Bieber-like web fever. A signed photo of the blond bombshell is selling on eBay for the modest starting price of £1.99, but has so far failed to attract a single bidder. (A signed Beckham shirt? £2,359.99.)

* Spare a thought for Elisa Roche, showbusiness editor of The Daily Express, whose copy appears as if dictated to her directly by her boss: philanthropist and pornographer, Richard Desmond. On Tuesday, brand synergy specialist Elisa penned 250 spectacularly optimistic words on the launch of OK! TV on Channel 5 (described by another critic as "colossally vapid"). The hand of Desmond was perhaps evident in her description of the programme's "patriotic red, white and blue studio"; in the accompanying picture, of a grinning Desmond sitting in said studio alongside the show's hosts; and in the fact that Desmond owns the Express, OK! and Channel 5. Yesterday, Elisa led a report with news that "Stephen Fry urged his Twitter followers – more than two million of them – to tune in to Channel 5." The Channel 5 documentary Fry had referred to was in a worthy cause: the Starlight Children's Foundation. Yet the other such cause to appear in Fry's Twitter feed on the same day (a BBC Comic Relief iPhone app) went curiously unmentioned. Desmond is, of course, renowned for his charity work, as well as for Asian Babes. Sadly, that knighthood's still in the post.

* US blogs carry news that James Van Der Beek, formerly of Dawson's Creek, will play "himself" in a new sitcom entitled Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23. With Matt LeBlanc also playing "himself" in the disappointing comedy Episodes, Gawker.com has implored the television industry: "Let's cool it with the washed-up actors playing themselves thing." And the Yanks think they have it bad: Channel 4's next hot sitcom Rick and Peter is to feature, as himself, "T4 presenter Rick Edwards".

* Crispin Mount, this column's amateur Cotswold correspondent, took a personal interest in the Coalition's abandoned forest sell-off, he informs me. Crispin's wife Evadne, who probably exists, has just returned from a visit to relatives in the Forest of Dean, where she learnt that local MP Mark Harper was forced to run for his life after a public meeting about the policy turned nasty. Harper, whose fat 11,064 majority suddenly looked a lot slimmer, was pelted with eggs by locals shouting (Crispin alleges): "Run, rabbit, run!" The chastened MP fled in a police van, which ran over a protester's foot in the melée. "He should have known better," says Crispin. "The clue's in his constituency's name. But then again, as Minister for Constitutional Affairs perhaps he knows that the Forest of Dean constituency will shortly be renamed 'Teak Furniture'."


Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little