Diary: Nappy duty for J-Lo's PA
Friday 20 August 2010
It's Friday, so it must be J-Lo day. Last week, I reported the rumours that Jennifer Lopez's diva-like demands had so exasperated Fox execs that they struck her from their list of potential new judges on
American Idol. (I illustrated it with a different picture. At least, I hope I did.) This week, said diva-like demands have become a feature of her hunt for a personal assistant. The thoroughly reliable Life & Style "Scene Queens" blog claims Ms Lopez has strict requirements of her staff: "The person has to be graceful under pressure, have a thick skin, and be resourceful in foreign countries... You'll be expected to travel at a moment's notice and know how to adjust in each city." Doesn't sound so bad, and nor does (ahem) helping Ms Lopez "dress for red carpet events and photo shoots". Apparently, the candidate should prepare for 12-hour days and six-day weeks with scarce vacation time, and be comfortable among "very high-profile people". Sounds just like my job. So what's the catch? "You have to change diapers." For £40k? Forget it.
* The indomitable Andy Burnham's "battle bus" is still rolling through the Shires, despite his dwindling chances of becoming Labour leader. At a campaign event in Nottingham on Wednesday, I'm told, one voter asked if he still planned to lobby for the return of Top of the Pops. Absolutely, Andy replied, adding that the BBC was too London-centric, and had lost touch with "ordinary people". "They'd never hire someone like John Peel now," he insisted. The Beeb's recent hiring of Peel's son Tom Ravenscroft to present a weekly 6Music show must have passed poor Andy by.
* Speculation abounds as to the identity of Top Gear's The Stig, whose BBC employers are said to be locked in crisis talks over the potential publication of a memoir exposing the white-helmeted one's true face. Corporation lawyers insist he/she/it is bound by a confidentiality agreement. Could this dispute end up with the Press Complaints Commission? I called the PCC's director Stephen "Stig" Abell to find out. "Not unless someone who's identified as the Stig wishes to complain that it's a misidentification," he replies. Hang on a minute! Your nickname's familiar. Are you...? "No. Sad to say I'm not The Stig from Top Gear." But he would say that, wouldn't he?
* The death of Sir Frank Kermode comes with a poignant footnote: in contrast to many literary giants, his library cannot be preserved for posterity. As he moved house in Cambridge in 1996, the cardboard boxes containing Kermode's collection of 2,500 books were lost to the city's waste-disposal system, thanks to a mix-up made by the removals men. "They were the best of my books," Kermode lamented later. "I went out with the notion of replacing some of them, but I gave it up... You get over it quickly. I remember sitting outside the house thinking this was the worst day of my life, but shortly began thinking of all sorts of things that were much worse."
* Nick Clegg's Wednesday photocall at Shepherds Bush Families Project seemed to go rather well, judging by the charming snaps in several papers of the Deputy PM making pizza with the children. What the accompanying articles about his social-mobility speech failed to mention is that Clegg was confronted by local Labour MP Andy Slaughter, and a number of parents, over the £44,000 cuts to the centre's budget by the local Conservative-led council – which is considering selling the building. Coalition cuts to the Sure Start budget could have a calamitous effect, too: as he left, a chastened Clegg was handed a stack of "Please Don't Close Our Centre" cards made by the children. Nice to know those arts and crafts sessions are going to good use.
* A remorseful letter from an unnamed correspondent appears in the Herts and Essex Observer: "To the lady standing next to me at Coopers of Stortford's country show on Saturday, if I had known it was your Victoria sponge I wouldn't have been so rude about it. I am very sorry and apologise for upsetting you." Any further details from witnesses to this cake-based confrontation gratefully received at the above email address.
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