Diary: Never met – done a duet

Dizzee Rascal, named Ultimate Man of the Year at this week's Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women of the Year Awards, has teamed up with Cheryl Cole (named Woman of the Year at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, which were in June, in case there's any confusion) for her remarkably non-awful track "Everybody, Everyone" from new album Messy Little Teardrops. But the two, he tells me, never shared a studio. "It was like it never happened," Mr Rascal admitted at the Cosmo event. "I never saw her. They sent me three tracks and I basically picked the one I thought would be best. It saves money on planes: imagine going halfway across the world in first class then deciding that you don't like the person. If they just send you a track, you can get it done in your own studio, in your comfort zone.

"It should be good. It will be good. It's Cheryl Cole, innit."

Recalling his famous election night interview with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, I then tried to draw Mr Rascal into a conversation about the US midterms, but he was led away briskly by his agent.

* The serene Lauren Booth, tenuous relative of a former prime minister and recent convert to Shia Islam (seven-and-a-half whole weeks ago now), has reached page 200 of the Koran, she tells The Guardian. If she's reading the Penguin Classics edition, that gives her another 264 pages to go. At this rate, she'll be finished by Christmas, not that the occasion will mean much to her these days.

"The hate, the real hate" directed at her since her conversion, Booth claims, "has come from The Independent." She surely can't mean this column, which simply relayed the exasperation of her estranged father, Tony, who told me he thought it might get her a job at Al-Jazeera. No, hate is far too strong a word for that. Amusement would be more accurate. Pity, perhaps. Derision? Certainly.

* That other shameless seeker of press attention, Lembit Opik, is leaving the stable he shares with Ms Booth: Press TV, the charming little "news" channel owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran, for which both are presenters. (I can barely believe I'm still giving the oxygen of publicity to the former MP for Montgomeryshire, but one has to fill one's column somehow.) Lembit joined Press TV this summer to host a show called A Simple Question; its discussion topics amusingly included the questionable objectivity of the UK media.

But Lembit and his Iranian employers are now parting ways because, I'm told, he's keen to sever any potentially "controversial links", so as to boost his chances of snatching the Lib Dem London mayoral nomination from the party leadership's inevitable "Anyone-But-Lembit" candidate. (My suggested alternative, for what it's worth, would be prominent Lib Dem supporter Roy Stride, lead singer of Scouting for Girls.) Lembit, now bereft of his broadcast platform, can at least take comfort in his print media work: he has a weekly politics column in the Daily Sport, which he doubtless deems entirely uncontroversial.

* Labour MP Tom Watson, former minister and famed Brownite plotter, seems to have taken quite a fancy to one of his new Commons colleagues, "potential future leader" Chuka Umunna, the British Obama and honourable member for Streatham. "He's perhaps the most beautiful man who has ever sat on the green benches," Watson (clubbable, but no oil painting) eulogises on the Labour Uncut blog. "Intelligent, dynamic, articulate... He's perfect. He'll have his own statue with a brass plaque one day... I am jealous of young Chuka for his six-pack, natural athleticism and exquisite taste in clothing and skin products... British politics is no longer showbiz for ugly people. We have genuinely attractive-in-every-way superstars in the PLP now."

* Speaking of genuinely attractive-in-every-way superstars, Kelly Brook has joined the line-up for this year's 24-Hour Plays Celebrity Gala at the Old Vic. "I was quite surprised that [Kevin Spacey] asked me," the delightful Miss Brook told me over cocktails in my dreams. "I thought he might have been trying to call Kelly Macdonald or something. Maybe that's who he's expecting. That'd be bad, wouldn't it?" Not in the slightest.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own