Diary: No mistaking this figure

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The Independent Online

Danny Dyer's latest cinematic gift to culture, Pimp ("Sex. Betrayal. Murder. All in a day's work."), enjoyed a record-stretching opening weekend, making a grand total of £205 at the British box office. No, there are no zeros missing from that figure; just 24 people deigned to watch Dyer's critically puréed performance as a Soho sex kingpin. Dyer-watchers will wonder whether this non-response is retribution for the 32-year-old's recent regrettable "agony uncle" column in Zoo magazine, where he advised a jilted boyfriend to disfigure his ex (Dyer claims he was misquoted). More likely, the film is rubbish. Dyer's effort was unable to beat the record set in March by Uma Thurman's Motherhood, which made only £88 on its opening weekend – but Thurman's film was shown in just one cinema. It's said Dyer produces football-themed DVDs and oddly convivial documentaries about criminals that are considerably more entertaining than his movies. But that's not saying much, is it?

* Former postman, ex-Home Secretary and alleged all-round good egg Alan Johnson has been signed up by leading after-dinner speaking agency JLA, the firm that enjoyed the services of William Hague before his political duties demanded he forgo the lucrative circuit. Hague was one of JLA's "A-grade" stars, commanding a reported £385,000 per year for his witty anecdotage, and his departure has left a major gap in the market. Agency boss Jeremy Lee suggests Johnson is initially likely to join Alastair Campbell on the "B-grade" level, earning up to £10,000 per evening for telling the tale of his humble beginnings and meteoric rise, with jokes. Lee, however, has high hopes for his new signing: "If you're asking me whether I'm optimistic about people who previously booked William Hague wanting to book Alan," he told us, "then I would say I expect that to happen."

* Duncan Bannatyne has generated a trending topic on Twitter, entitled #DuncansDream. In a moment of misplaced utopian thinking, Bannatyne has urged his Twitter followers to follow each other so that, like him, each of them would have 96,000 followers. That, dear readers, is "Duncan's Dream". As a result, thousands are now trapped in social-networking purgatory with crowds of tweeters who have nothing in common besides being inclined to do what Duncan Bannatyne tells them to. Most Dragons' Den contestants try to convince Bannatyne their ineffectual object is indispensable. He, by contrast, has taken a perfectly functioning service and rendered it near-useless.

* A press release informs us that Bafta winner Simon Cowell's favourite black designer loo roll – as seen in last year's X-Factor "Judges' Houses" episode – is now available in the UK. Aesthetically, I can just about understand the appeal. Practically speaking, it has major design flaws, which I would avoid spelling out for reasons of taste, were it not for the fact that Amanda Holden has already done so. "You can't see when you're finished!" she recently exclaimed to Heat magazine. "[Simon will] hate me saying that, he always says I talk about my bowels too much!" He may have a point.

* Rumours reach us from a high-placed source in the salty nibbles industry that the factory responsible for making Doritos, Monster Munch and a number of other popular Walkers snack foods may have to close for a day on 19 September, when Pope Benedict celebrates mass at nearby Coventry airport. The company's Coventry plant is located just yards from the runway. A spokesman at the UK headquarters of PepsiCo (which owns Walkers) assures me the firm has "no plans" to close the factory, but is discussing the security implications of the papal visit with police. I'd call that a partial denial. Security aside, the Roman Catholic Church, not famed for its healthy approach to children, could this way claim to have temporarily halted the young's supply of snacks. Rumours from a low-placed source in the global Catholic congregation, however, suggest the celebration of mass generally includes free, church-sanctioned snacks.

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