Diary: Theresa May's bohemian rhapsody
Thursday 06 October 2011
Further to this column's exploration of inappropriate political theme music, Primal Scream, according to a statement, "are totally disgusted that the Home Secretary Theresa May ended her speech at the Tory party conference with our song 'Rocks'... Didn't they research the political history of our band? ... Does she even know what getting your rocks off means? No. She is a Tory; how could she? Primal Scream, led by Bobby Gillespie, right, are totally opposed to the Coalition Government, Cameron, Osborne, Gove, Howard, Clegg etc. They are legalised bullies passing new laws to ensure the wealthy stay wealthy, taking the side of big business while eradicating workers rights [... and so on and so forth]. The Tories are waging a war on the disenfranchised, They are the enemy."
All well and good, but just FYI: Michael Howard is no longer a minister nor, indeed, an MP. Moreover, would the band include Kellogg's or Talk Talk – to whom they have lent their music for use in television advertisements – in their definition of "big business" (not to mention, er, Warner Music Group)? Finally, the song played after Ms May's speech was, in fact, "Bohemian Like You", by the Dandy Warhols. An easy mistake to make – since both songs sound exactly like the Rolling Stones.
* Jeremy Paxman befuddled alleged babydaddy Boris Johnson on Newsnight, asking whether he'd always considered himself "slightly intellectually inferior" to Dave Cameron, given that Cameron achieved a first-class degree from Oxford, while Boris managed only a 2:1 in Classics. "Does that still rankle a bit?" Paxman enquired. "Well it would," Boris replied, "if it wasn't that his first was in PPE." Using this logic, I suppose the Mayor of London also considers himself intellectually superior to other Oxford PPE graduates, such as his own spin doctor Guto Harri; or cabinet members Chris Huhne, David "Two Brains" Willetts, Danny Alexander, Jeremy Hunt, Philip Hammond and William Hague; or Labour bigwigs Lord Mandelson, Milibands D and E, Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper; or other assorted notables, including Steve Hilton, David Dimbleby, Lord Longford, Lord Lawson, Harold Wilson, Tony Benn, Benazir Bhutto, Aung San Suu Kyi, Christopher Hitchens, Tariq Ali and Rupert Murdoch. To name a few.
* On the subject of Johnsons, Alan Johnson (no relation) is to add to the New Labour misery-lit genre with a childhood memoir. Transworld have bought the rights to the former Home Secretary's autobiography This Boy, which will cover his poverty-stricken youth in 1950s Notting Hill. His father abandoned the family when Johnson was eight. His mother died five years later and, he tells The Bookseller, it's "the story of two incredible women, my mother and my sister. Whilst it will touch on tragedy and record our poverty, I hope it will also reflect the vibrancy and optimism of a community that has all but vanished." Johnson (A) for Mayor (in 2016)!
* To Le Caprice, of course, for the restaurant's 30th anniversary celebration, where among the multi-generational shleb guests were Bianca Jagger, Tracey Emin, dapper Dan Stevens, Eliza Doolittle, singer Emeli Sandi and glamourpuss Joan Collins, 78. During Sandi's wonderful solo performance at the piano, Ms Collins looked rather as if her Cheltenham beets starter might have gone down the wrong way. By the time her fellow legend Marc Almond gave a singalong rendition of his 30-year-old hit Tainted Love, she'd vanished (perhaps taking the halibut and the heavenly chocolate pudding in a doggy bag?). Collins once confessed that she only eats one third of any meal, in order to maintain her miraculous figure. An example to us all.
* Forget Tracey Emin's risqué neons – Downing Street is now the venue for an even more contemporary cultural endeavour: last Saturday, Number 10 opened its doors to young practitioners of parkour. Parkour, or "free-running", is the art of moving through an urban environment not by walking along assigned footpaths or, say, staircases – but by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and jumping. Something like that, anyway. It's French. Thanks to somewhereto_ [sic] – a national project helping to provide new spaces for young people to practise sport, culture and the arts – the staircases and corridors of the Prime Minister's residence were bent to the will of several free-runners for a short film to promote the scheme. It being the weekend, the business of government went undisrupted.
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