Diary: No 'Big Brother' for Bez

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The Independent Online

Celebrity maraca-player Bez, 46, will sadly be unavailable to take part in Ultimate Big Brother. The former "freaky dancer" for the Happy Mondays – real name Mark Berry – was recently convicted of assault, and has now been jailed after informing a Manchester magistrate that he refused to recognise her authority. Marie Cash gave Bez a community sentence and ordered him to pay £450 in costs, but the performer – whose father was, would you believe, a rozzer – told her: "I'm not doing it. Bovvered. I'm going to appeal and take this to a real court." The kerfuffle concluded with Bez being led to the cells crying: "Victory is within my grasp!" and facing a four-week jail sentence. His assault on girlfriend Monica Ward took place in May: the court heard that Bez (not a chap you'd trust to recall where he'd left his keys) couldn't find the takings from a concert, flew into a rage and tried to throttle Ms Ward – also the lead singer in his band, Domino Bones. Their MySpace page suggests they're still booking gigs. Does one have Wi-Fi in jail?

* The New Statesman provided the first big media endorsement of Labour's leadership campaign yesterday, declaring its support for Ed Miliband, as if we should be surprised. NS editor Jason Cowley has interviewed Miliband (E) twice in as many months, and as long ago as January the mag ran a front-page headline which read: "Ed Miliband, Labour's Next Leader". Doing its very best to see the prophecy fulfilled, then.

* The early arrival of Florence Rose Endellion Cameron presents Nick Clegg with a chance to patch up those alleged poor relations with his party. Thanks to the PM's previously planned paternity leave, Clegg was due to fly to New York on 20 September as understudy at a UN summit, and to address the annual gathering of world leaders on the subject of international development. The only catch: it means he'll miss the second half of a potentially fractious Lib Dem Conference, which runs from 18 to 22 September. Now that Cameron's paternity leave has been brought forward, the PM could do the US trip after all, leaving Clegg to keep his party company in Liverpool.

No 10, however, tells me that so far Clegg has no plans to cancel his New York sojourn. Which must mean that either party relations are dandy, or that the divisions are just too deep for him to heal. Why else would anyone pass up the chance to mingle with Lib Dem members at Liverpool's BT convention centre, in favour of boring old Obama, Medvedev et al in Manhattan?

* Ed "Bruiser" Balls and Yvette Cooper, proud parents of three children and former first couple of the Cabinet, were understandably angry when they read the IFS report suggesting Coalition cuts are "clearly regressive". The pair quickly prepared their statements and rushed them off to the media: "So much for the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition's promise to be a family-friendly government," growled the Shadow Children's Secretary (that's Ed).

"These figures show the Government is pursuing a shocking and unfair attack on children and families," raged the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary (that's Yvette). Helpfully, they packaged their opinions in a single mail-out: Awww... Is this the first ever "his'n'hers" political press release?

* Leading literary agent Andrew Wylie, known to all who fear him as "The Jackal", supposedly rocked the publishing world in July, when he announced he'd bypass any publishers refusing to pay a decent royalty rate for digital rights, by selling e-books from his formidable client list (Amis, Rushdie, Roth) directly to Amazon via his own company, Odyssey Editions. Wylie this week came to an agreement with Random House, however, and it appears the publishing world is to be rocked only very gently: Odyssey Editions will now release no more than seven e-book titles.

* Forget Franzen's new novel. The literary sensation of the season is surely David Musgrave's one-line poem from the latest issue of The New Yorker, entitled "On the Inevitable Decline into Mediocrity of the Popular Musician Who Attains a Comfortable Middle Age": "O Sting, Where is thy Death?"