Diary: P Diddy is acting the part
Thursday 27 May 2010
In "acting" news, Diddy, known to your parents as Puff Daddy, to you and me as P Diddy, and to his acting agent as Sean Combs, has appeared as a guest on US television's
Inside The Actors' Studio. The show is an opportunity for actors to discuss their craft without fear of being asked any question more awkward than "What's your motivation?" Greats such as Pacino, De Niro and Jennifer Lopez come here to bask in the adoration of earnest, beard-wearing interviewer James Lipton before an audience of his acting students. The Actor's Studio is the New York drama school known as the home of method acting, and Diddy assured Lipton that he had improvised all of his scenes in the new comedy film
Get Him to the Greek – which also stars his fellow renaissance man Russell Brand. "I've always been fascinated with the art of storytelling," Diddy told the rapt assembly of aspiring part-time waiters. The 40-year-old Combs' acting CV is somewhat thinner than his musical one, but does include two whole episodes of
Novelist Tibor Fischer is rather less famous for his novels than for his excoriating review of Martin Amis's 2003 book Yellow Dog, which he described as "like your favourite uncle being caught in a school playground, masturbating". Fischer found space to take a side-swipe at Amis's great friend Christopher Hitchens in that piece, and has now grasped a new opportunity to debunk Hitch at length, reviewing the journalist's memoir for the latest issue of Standpoint magazine. Hitch-22, Fischer writes, is "far too long and meandering" with "vast expanses of what J D Salinger so pithily termed the 'David Copperfield crap'". He yawns at tales of drinking with Amis and Ian McEwan, disputes Hitch's classical references, and questions his knowledge of bullfighting. "The great boon of being a media gadfly," Fischer suggests, in what may be a self-reflexive moment, "[is] you have all the joy of condemnation, without any of the tiresome business of responsibility." Trashing the great literary figures of our age? It's a living. Rushdie – you're next.
It's a feud every bit as literary as Fischer vs the Amis gang. You might think Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson were mature enough to have buried the hatchet by now. The pair's long-running beef reached its peak with a now-notorious punch-up at the British Press Awards in 2004. Both have since been busy breaking America with their particular brand of British charm. But stone me if Piers isn't to be found stirring the pot again, this time with a puff quote for his one-time fellow hack Wensley Clarkson's new motoring-themed memoir, Car Trouble. "Wensley Clarkson," Morgan claims on its front cover, "is Jeremy Clarkson with brains."
Sarah Teather, Michael Gove's Liberal Democrat deputy at the Department of Education, criticised academies during the last parliament. Now they're a flagship policy for the Coalition. A call to the Department's press office seems in order. How, I ask, does Ms Teather feel about the hypothetical possibility that she'll have to defend academies in the Commons, should Mr Gove be indisposed? "Hang on," says a spokesman. "Sorry, you've faded... Hello? The phone's cutting out. I'll try and..." The phone cuts out. Wow. Have I hit a nerve? Sadly not. He's just transferring me to another line. "The academies policy is the settled decision of the Government," he says. "As far as academies are concerned, they're both singing from the same hymn sheet." Give me a break, I'm new here.
The website w4mp.org finds jobs for aspiring political aides, but is running rather low on Westminster roles in the current climate. Still, there's a position going as a diary-keeper and speech-writer for a "Former World Statesman" from a Commonwealth country. "Some travel will be involved," apparently. Sounds like a sweet gig, so my glamorous assistant High Street Barbie puts in a call to the agency responsible for the offer, to enquire as to the identity of said statesman. Are we talking developed world or developing? Northern hemisphere or southern? The flustered girl on the other end won't divulge anything. How can we apply for it if we don't know who it's for? "It's not Tony Blair," she admits. "It would be a lot more exciting if it was." We'd guessed that much already: the salary is £20k, far less exciting than what Mr Blair could offer his staff nowadays.
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