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.

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