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.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower