Diary: More trouble for Sir Fred

Sir Fred Goodwin knows the perils of hedging only too well, but that hasn't stopped him getting into a spot of bother over his leylandii. Following vandalistic attacks on the ex-RBS boss's house in Edinburgh Grange last year, Goodwin has bought a new property in upmarket Colinton, with a state-of-the-art security system, tennis court and a fountain in the driveway. Sadly, the £3.5m mansion is ringed by 25ft trees, which neighbours complain blocks sunlight to their gardens. Sir Fred is yet to move into the house, first built for his fellow bullish Scot Graeme Souness. But Alan Haxton, chair of the neighbourhood association, told Scotland on Sunday that The Shred responded "satisfactorily" to requests for a meeting about the matter. This may not placate one particular local: the retired businessman Furhan Majid insists that endless extensions have brought the mansion's reaches within six feet of his back garden. "When the builders are in," he says, "I can hear them talking in the kitchen." More on this story as it develops.

* Last week I reported that Leo Johnson (whose siblings include the Mayor of London, the MP for Orpington and the editor of The Lady) was preparing to launch a TV career. He was then unreachable in South America, but has since called to clarify. "Your story was almost entirely accurate," he reassured me. "The only minor discrepancies being that I'm not [planning a TV career]; and even if I was, no one in the industry would be remotely interested." There's a grain of truth to the tale, however: Johnson was visiting Colombia to present a programme for BBC World, in association with his firm, PwC, about a sustainable gold-mining operation in the Choco jungle. "It'll be broadcast in December," he says. "The idea is to scale up these transformational companies with PwC, and make them work." And what of the 2002 feature film he directed, Eating and Weeping, the existence of which was revealed to me by his father, Stanley? "It was described by Sam Goldwyn Jnr of MGM as the worst story he'd ever heard," admits Johnson. "It's the mainstream Hollywood tale of Stanko, a Bulgarian pastry chef who accidentally causes the collapse of capitalism." Is it still available on DVD? "Lord, no. It's unwatchable to the human eyeball."



* Lembit Opik, ex-MP for Montgomeryshire, looks increasingly unlikely to be named the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London. But he's not about to let that stop him clinging to the scenery as his former party colleagues try to drag him from the limelight. In fact, the glamour model-bothering celebrity diner has been calling friends to let them know he's finally had some encouraging news. "Over the weekend I was elected to The Caravan Club's council," he declares, proudly. "It was obviously nice to do well in an election for a change – although it probably helped out that I technically had no one standing against me."



* Al Pacino's last major role was as himself, in a commercial for an Australian coffee brand. But he's due for a return to the silver screen, playing Phil Spector – he of the hairdos – in an HBO biopic written and directed by David Mamet, whose Glengarry Glen Ross earned the actor an Oscar nomination in 1993. Pacino and Spector are both 70, so I must assume that the film will be concerned not with Spector's spectacular early career as a record producer, but with his more recent travails as a wild-eyed convicted murderer – a part for which Pacino has ample qualifications.



* Congratulations to Peter Willmott of Taunton, who produced a poser for Rod Liddle to answer at the annual "Turn the Tables" lunch, hosted by Cancer Research, at which MPs get to grill their journalist adversaries. Where, Mr Willmott wondered, would Liddle take Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party, on a date? "We might go to a kebab shop called Stavros in Peckham," Liddle told his interlocutor, the Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne. "And then to my place after that, behind the bins of Kentucky Fried Chicken." Ah, sighed adjudicator Steve Pound MP, "The art of romance is not dead". A bottle of bubbly is on its way to Somerset.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits