Diary: Sam sings the blues

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The Independent Online

Gosh, the Branson siblings are a busy pair. Not so long ago, I reported that Holly Branson, 29, was beginning a media career. After giving up medicine to join the family firm, she's now helping put together Virgin's forthcoming iPad magazine, Maverick. Meanwhile, her younger brother Sam, 25 – who, as a budding entrepreneur, also takes after their father – seems to have his sights set on rock stardom. On Sunday, VIP visitors to the Virgin Media Louder Lounge at V-Festival in Chelmsford will be serenaded by Sam, singing with a band called, rather unfortunately, Burke (try saying it out loud). The set will even contain one of Sam's own compositions. Burke is fronted by Jamie Burke, male model and serial celebrity squeeze: Kate Moss, Lindsay Lohan, Courtney Love and Sienna Miller have all supposedly succumbed to his charms. Sam, on the other hand, recently split from his long-term girlfriend, the surname-laden actress Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe. Will his new number be a break-up song?

* Diary favourite Toby Young, 46 (journalist, schools impresario, Conservative with a large "C"), recalled with fondness his days as an identity thief in yesterday's Telegraph. To gain entry to the 1994 Vanity Fair Oscar party, he passed himself off as his pal William Cash, who happened to be on the guest list: "I had no qualms about pretending to be William," Young confessed. For a committed gatecrasher, "pretending to be someone else... is basic tradecraft." I assume Young filed the piece before 4pm on Tuesday, when he tweeted unhappily that he'd been the victim of a not-dissimilar misdeed: "Just discovered I've become the victim of identity theft. £70 payment to online poker site. I hope the f***er didn't win anything."

* Lembit Opik, another frequent visitor to this column, has been on the blower to say he won't stand for being briefed against by the Lib Dem leadership while he's trying to stand for Mayor of London. Clegg and co are intent on blocking his progress, our Estonian friend insists, but "I'll blow the lid on any high-jinks against me they get up to! I've made this clear to the party privately." Opik's competition for the nomination could be stiff: Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham (formerly of Play School) is said to be a contender. But Opik is optimistic. "My political CV, commitment and profile should put me in a strong position." I called a Lib Dem spokesperson, who chuckled wearily: "I haven't heard anything about anybody briefing against anyone."

* Fancy sitting in the spot where the late J D Salinger once (allegedly) sought inspiration? Now you can: an eBay seller is auctioning off the reclusive author's uncleaned toilet, reclaimed from Salinger's home in New Hampshire. The guide price is a mere million dollars. "Who knows," goes the blurb, "how many stories were thought up and written while Salinger sat on this throne!" Who'd want to?

* "Flat to let; would suit busy MP." A melancholy missive landed in my inbox yesterday: an ad for a Pimlico flat owned by Chris Mole, the former Labour MP for Ipswich, who lost his seat at the last election. The recently refurbished one-bed, once Mole's second home, is available for a very reasonable £290pw. I called Mole to express an interest, assuming he planned to return in four or five years. But, he reflected sadly, "I doubt that I'd be able to under IPSA rules."

* Gemma Atkinson (ex-resident of Hollyoaks, ex-girlfriend of Cristiano Ronaldo) is due to continue her serious acting career with a role in Neil LaBute's This is How it Goes at the King's Head in Islington. Ms Atkinson, perhaps more familiar to readers of Nuts magazine than to those of The Independent, seems to be copying the career of Kelly Brook: Channel 4 show; lads' mags; sporty boyfriend; nudity-based musical Calendar Girls; Neil LaBute play. She no doubt noticed that Brook, who appeared in LaBute's Fat Pig in 2008, is now promoting Piranha 3D, a serious Hollywood movie. Lads' mag readers no doubt noticed that Brook has deserted their favourite weeklies for a more upmarket title: Playboy.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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