Diary: Not Hooked on Hucknall

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Among the guests at the Big Chill Festival last weekend was ex-Joy Division bassist Peter "Hooky" Hook. During a Q&A, Hook was invited to name the "biggest pillock" he'd ever met during his days as a regular at the legendary Hacienda Club in Manchester. "The crown would have to go to Mick Hucknall," he replied. "At the end of each night [at the club], everyone used to congregate by the front door, and there was one wonderful night when we heard this voice saying 'Mick Hucknall coming through, Mick Hucknall coming through!' It was Mick Hucknall coming through. So one of the Salford gangsters who was in the club turned round and lamped him. And everyone just ignored it." Considering the relish with which he recounted this tale, I can't imagine Hook will be hob-nobbing with the former Simply Red singer (who now fronts The Faces) when the two appear on the same bill at the Goodwood Vintage Festival this weekend. Hook is due to close the event with a full rendition of Joy Division's 1979 album Unknown Pleasures.

* Cranky comic Phill Jupitus revealed in an interview on Monday that he'd considered quitting BBC2's music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks, for which he's a team captain, because he disliked the approach of its host, Simon Amstell. "People were being booked especially to have the piss taken out of them in a very overt fashion," Jupitus grumbled. "[It] started to get a bit wearing." He ought to be happy to learn that Amstell had similar misgivings. In the first episode of his new BBC2 sitcom Grandma's House – in which he plays "himself" – Amstell told his "mother" that he was giving up his presenting gig because "I feel like it's become a really mean show. I don't know who I am. People congratulate me for being mean." Mrs Amstell, played by Rebecca Front, wasn't exactly impressed by his plans to take up acting. "You've got a skill already," she insisted. "Taking the piss out of popstars."

* Since the election, MP4, the world's only parliamentary rock band, have been a member short – making them a more blandly conventional "MP3". Singer and bassist Ian Cawsey, formerly the Labour MP for Brigg and Goole, lost his seat, leaving Pete Wishart (Scottish National Party, keyboards), Kevin Brennan (Labour, guitar) and Greg Knight (Conservative, drums) without a frontman. But the band, which has released an LP and raised more than £500,000 for charity, plans to play on. If it's good enough for Genesis... "When Parliament returns we'll hold auditions," Wishart told The Sunday Post. Taking a leaf out of Harriet Harman's book, he also revealed his hopes of finding a female bandmate among the new intake. "We may expand the band to become MP5 or even MP6 if we discover lots of talent."

* Yesterday I reported Conservative MP Dominic Raab's removal of his email address ( dominic.raab.mp@parliament.uk) from both his personal website and the House of Commons site. Raab was justifiably exasperated by the countless copy-and-paste emails he receives from pressure groups such as 38 Degrees. Turns out, however, that he's responsible for some copying and pasting of his own. When 38 Degrees readers wrote to their MPs to complain about cuts to the BBC, many Tories replied using all or parts of a cloned email provided by the party. ("The government supports the BBC and wants it to remain a cornerstone of UK public service broadcasting. However, the BBC can and should be doing more to ensure value for money for the taxpayer." And so forth...) Among them was, of course, Dominic Raab.

* Reading from his new book The Escape at a literary do on Monday evening, clever clogs novelist Adam Thirlwell admitted a troublesome habit of mentioning oral sex to strangers, and professed to frequently "saying things I didn't think I'd say in public". These inadvertent slips afflict his fiction, too: his debut, Politics, was a graphic account of a menage à trois, while The Escape's protagonist is a sex-obsessed widower. "Every time you're not thinking about sex," Thirlwell declared, quoting a Dallas proverb (the state, not the soap), "your mind is wandering."

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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