Diary: Lady Black is one fair lady

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The Independent Online

Here's something for the dads and indeed their dads – news reaches me that the ever-fragrant Lady Black of Crossharbour has just made a long-awaited society "comeback" across the Atlantic.

Known affectionately as "Babs" to imaginary friends, the game old girl was a celebrity presenter at the Giller Literary Awards in Toronto. Knowing the fragile soul she is, I'm sorry to report that some more lowly fellow guests saw this as a perfect opportunity to start casting aspersions.

The National Post, ironically launched by her much misunderstood husband Lord Black before that later unfortunate kerfuffle with the law, gleefully reports that Babs' newly clipped English tones – (while born in England she went on to be raised in Canada) – were a target for what can only be described as cheap mockery. "She certainly didn't talk like that when we had lunch in this building 20 years ago!" cackled one disrespectful hag sitting nearby.

* Now that I've finally calmed down after giving my vast array of so-called "royal insiders" a right old ticking off for failing to hand High Street Ken his deserved scoop of the year, I wonder how long we've got to enjoy before one much-maligned figure returns to the limelight? Once hailed as a "rock" to the late Princess of Wales, former butler Paul Burrell endured a right old British backlash when he was deemed to have milked his royal connections approximately 9,004 times too many. Having announced that he was leaving nasty old Blighty for America – a place where a man of his calibre is truly appreciated – he made a low-key return to the UK last year, and now runs a flower shop in Cheshire. While one concerned local informs me that he's cut a "dishevelled figure" of late, I'm also told that he has been privately talking up the chances of a "TV comeback". News of the impending royal nuptials could very well ensure this most derided of careers enjoys a long-awaited second wind.

Hey – don't shoot the messenger.

* The regrettable news that quirky Labour backbencher Tom Harris is quitting blogging may have been somewhat overshadowed by an apparently bigger story doing the rounds yesterday, but the old gunslinger wasn't leaving cyberspace without reminding us just what a flippin' maverick he really is! "I don't think MPs should use words like 'bullshit' on a publicly available blog, and I've always tried to be careful not to lower the tone in such a way, so I won't say 'bullshit' now," he cheekily declared, before rounding off with: "But what a load of b******t!" See what he did there?

* Just when it seemed all might be lost, national treasure Ray Davies steps forward to suggest the perfect saviour for central London's 100 Club – the historic venue is facing closure after 68 years due to spiralling costs. With the Oxford Street establishment having played host to the likes of David Bowie and Bob Dylan over the years, Ray announces: "Simon Cowell should underwrite the money needed to save the 100 Club. That would be real payback. With the amount of money he takes out of pop music he could put some back in." Judging by Mr Cowell's well-documented passion for our nation's musical heritage, I wouldn't be surprised if he's writing the cheque as we speak.

* Having pledged to consume one dish per night from The Celebrity Cookbook my ill-fated attempt at Gary Lineker's paella has ensured one local tapas bar won't be losing a loyal regular any time soon. (José, I tried to get the name in as promised, but was accused of "crass product placement"). Anyway, perhaps it's safer to stay in one's culinary comfort zone – my next snack comes courtesy of Boris Johnson, who keeps things simple with cheese on toast. "Cover toast with slabs of cheese," he helpfully explains. "Grill until it gets all nice." I think we can all see just how much thought and effort went into that.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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