Diary: Murdoch is real deal, says Jackman

 

Hugh Jackman, on the publicity trail for Real Steel, his new film about robots hitting each other, is a long-time friend of fellow Australian Rupert Murdoch. Jackman is godfather to Mr Murdoch's young daughters from his marriage to Wendi "Ding Dong" Deng, with Tony Blair being godfather to Grace, the eldest. He assures The Sunday Telegraph that Rupe is "a very generous, caring family man... It's a difficult time for him. I've sent him my condolences and I haven't heard back." So Hugh, you're saying that Rupert's not that great at letter-writing?

* The Conservatives have ruled Westminster City Council, the capital's most powerful local authority, since it was created in 1964 (despite a spot of bad publicity during the Shirley Porter era). But their dominion may face a serious challenge at the 2014 London elections. In a story that sounds as if it was torn from a 17th-century history book, the Earl of Bradford and an alliance of churchmen are determined to topple the ruling Tories, and met to discuss the plot with local businessmen last week.

"What we are considering," the treasonous Earl told West End Extra in (presumably) hushed tones, "is putting forward independent candidates in every single ward... It's been a cosy little Conservative cartel for far too long." And what, precisely, sparked this revolt? Why, Sunday parking charges, of course! From December, it will cost up to a scandalous £4.80 per hour to park between 1pm and 6pm. The coalition of independents should appeal to natural Tory voters, though those with long memories may recall that Westminster Conservatives will do whatever it takes to cling to power.



* When James Palumbo – property heir, Ministry of Sound founder, ultra-high net worth individual – published his first novel, Tomas (a "biting satire" about how bankers are greedy and reality TV is a bit rubbish), in 2009, it was backed by an abnormally lavish ad campaign. Posters adorned every tube station, each rife with celebrity endorsements: "Amazing," claimed Stephen Fry, "the most energetic and surreal and extraordinary novel I have read for a very long time." Niall Ferguson said it was "grotesque yet gripping". Pete Tong described it as "American Psycho comes to Europe", while Noel Fielding claimed "the noises I made whilst reading [it] frightened people on the train" (which may or may not be a compliment).

Yet when the reviews appeared, they seemed to disagree. "A book with neither plot, point, intelligence, wit, originality nor elegance," wrote one broadsheet critic. The negative press obviously affected the author, who writes in the FT of having discussed it with a psychiatrist, who told him "not to worry about negative reviews – they are no more than people projecting their own negativity on to the author". Too true. Still, Palumbo's second effort, Tancredi (a "biting satire" about how reality TV is a bit rubbish, etc), arrives this week with rather less fanfare, and no obvious celebrity endorsements. Probably wise.

* Also jumping on the publishing bandwagon, this column can exclusively reveal – I had a space, and nobody else wanted to – is the ex-MP for Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik. Poor Lem recently finished the race for the Lib Dem mayoral candidacy behind Brian Paddick (and London Assembly member Mike Tuffrey, and former Haringey councillor Brian Haley). But he's bouncing back by writing a book. Thankfully, his "people" tell me it's not a tell-all memoir, but an analysis of "what's gone wrong with the Lib Dems [and] the party leadership's costly decision to abandon the libertarian left. Lembit won't be holding back with his criticisms. There's already interest from publishers. It will be out in the new year." Look out, Clegg!



* "Puerile", "Absurd", "Mad", "Nonsensical", "Pathetic", "Lefty": some adjectives employed by the present Mayor in his Telegraph column to describe the BBC's "edict" that the terms AD and BC should be replaced by CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before Common Era) – as reported in the Mail on Sunday.

Except no such edict exists: bbc.co.uk/religion uses CE/BCE so as not to "offend or alienate non-Christians", but it is discretionary, rarely used elsewhere in the Corporation, and not a cross-organisation policy. Boris has dismissed the £250,000 he earns for his column each year as "chicken feed", saying it's "wholly reasonable" for him to write it in his spare time, as he does so "very fast". You'd never guess.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album