Diary: Luvvie and hate

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The Independent Online

That fine actor David Suchet has complained to The Stage newspaper that the use of the word "luvvie" to describe him and his fellow air-kissing thesps is "the worst thing that ever happened to our profession". Frankly, I thought swingeing cuts to the arts budget, or perhaps Michael Bay, might be considered more damaging to the actor's cause than a word that Wikipedia categorises as an "affectionate term" (and which I presumed had fallen out of usage in about 1976). But Suchet, currently appearing in Arthur Miller's All My Sons in the West End, is adamant: "The role of an actor in America, eastern Europe and western Europe – everywhere apart from this country – is considered a very serious job and a very necessary function. Here we are just luvvies, which is a great shame." Martin Brown, assistant general secretary of the actors union Equity, told our reporter that a number of notable performers have come to him in the past, terribly concerned by the prevalence of the term. Haven't they better things to do? Their make-up, maybe?

* Eton has famously produced 19 prime ministers including the incumbent Mr Cameron. Now commentators are calling Haverstock School in Chalk Farm "Labour's Eton". The North London comprehensive is responsible for educating both Miliband brothers, as well as new London mayoral candidate Oona King. The school's alumni also include footballer Joe Cole, and Tula and Dappy from N-Dubz. N-Who, you ask? I'm told they're a hat-wearing beat combo, and (or so High Street Barbie assures me) feature frequently in the hit parade.

* Radio 4's Today programme isn't famed for the accuracy of its racing predictions. Yesterday, the show's guest tipster was none other than the Prime Minister, who demonstrated a chilling mastery of gambling vocabulary (learned, no doubt, at Eton) by naming Midnight Fantasy at 10-1 in the 3pm at Wolverhampton his "nap bet". "If you're a fan of the coalition you could go for Daring Dream in the 3.50 at Ayr," said Mr Cameron, "and if you're slightly more sceptical about how our arrangements are going to work out you could try Midnight Fantasy." One William Hill representative tells me just before the first race that Daring Dream has been backed by punters "a bit more than Midnight Fantasy," which finishes a disappointing fifth. Daring Dream comes in second. All this, by my calculations, bodes well for Mr Cameron's Government. The PM's spokesman, however, expressed surprise that his boss hadn't picked Fantastic Sam in the 7.35 at Newcastle instead.

* It's day two of our rappers-who-act series, and having described his improvisational technique to James Lipton on Inside The Actors Studio, "Diddy" (aka P Diddy, Puff Daddy, and/or Sean Combs) has been swiftly outdone by "Fiddy", known to you and me as 50 Cent, and to his chauffeur as Mr Curtis James Jackson III. Mr Cent has embraced the method-acting technique – pioneered by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio – by losing more than "fiddy" pounds (54, in fact) for his leading role in the film Things Fall Apart. No, it's not an adaptation of the classic post-colonial novel by Chinua Achebe, but a Mario Van Peebles picture about a college football player battling cancer. Next week, Vanilla Ice prepares for his part in an Off-Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.

* Labour-led Lambeth Council has announced plans to turn the area into a "John Lewis Authority", modelled on the department store's famous co-operative structure. Apparently, this is a response to the Tory-run "easyCouncil" in Barnet, which, like a budget airline, charges its inhabitants extra for certain services. Better an "easyCouncil" than a "RyanCouncil", which would presumably force locals to cover their furniture with wipe-clean, blue synthetic leather, charge them a quid every time they flush the loo, and issue self-congratulatory Tannoy announcements about its punctuality whenever a bus arrives on schedule. We suspect, however, that in the promised age of austerity, we can mostly look forward to "Primani authorities", which successfully dress up meanness as glamour to attract voters, but come apart at the seams after six months or so.