Diary: Throwing the book at Blair

The preparations for Tony Blair's book signing at Waterstone's Piccadilly sounded a tad over the top when they were announced yesterday morning. The former PM will sign copies of his memoir,
A Journey, on 8 September, reported
The Bookseller. However: "Customers cannot be photographed with Blair, there will be no personal dedications and all bags, backpacks and briefcases must be checked in, along with cameras and mobile phones... Blair will sign a maximum of two books per customer." The security rigmarole seemed slightly more salient by the afternoon, however, when the Stop The War Coalition set up a Facebook page calling on its members to stage a "mass protest" at the event, and announced plans to arrest Blair for alleged war crimes. "We will be asking people to boycott Waterstone's completely and shut the chain of shops down if this event goes ahead," warned activist Andrew Burgin. Mr Burgin also works as a second-hand bookseller, but far be it from me to suggest he might have an ulterior motive.

* Channel Five's staff were shocked to learn the extent of the cuts under their new owner, Richard Desmond, yesterday. But Desmond's plans for synergies with his other Northern and Shell media holdings might come as less of a surprise. A rumour reaches me that since last month's takeover, the roster of guest experts appearing on Five News bulletins has featured rather more writers from the Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! magazine. Sadly, verifying this tale would involve watching more footage of Five News than I care to commit myself to. But the programme's hosts seem happy enough with their new owner. Anchor Matt Barbet insisted to the Star last month: "It's exciting the channel has a new owner prepared to invest in it and the continuing success of shows like Five News."

* Over at the BBC, staff are similarly disgruntled with their boss. On Monday, as director-general Mark Thompson prepared to discuss controversial changes to the corporation's pension scheme on the Gateway internal TV network, a test card appeared onscreen with the caption: "Mark Thompson pensions = screw you."

* Frank Skinner has pulled out of his planned run on the Edinburgh Fringe, just days before his show was due to begin. Skinner was booked to host a series of lunchtime "talk shows" with fellow comedians at the Assembly Rooms, a venue that has given many Fringe stars a start over its 30-year history.

* After Skinner pulled out on Monday, yesterday's first instalment was hosted instead by Stephen K Amos. "It's a great shame about The Talk Show," said Skinner in a statement. "My bags were packed, my train ticket was in my pocket, and I was very excited about the whole thing. It became apparent there were some brilliant people lined up but way too many gaps." Were confirmed appearances from Alan Cumming, Clive Anderson, Alistair McGowan, Mel Smith, Steven Berkoff, Omid Djalili, Jenny Eclair, Jo Brand, Julian Clary, Barry Cryer and Lee Mack insufficient for him?

* And you thought collectors of Nazi memorabilia were odd. George Ridgeon, a collector of Churchill souvenirs, has paid £10,000 to purchase the wartime Prime Minister's false teeth. Ridgeon, 66, told the Gloucester Citizen that he wanted to reunite the great man's dentures with another item in his collection: the microphone that Churchill used to announce the end of the war in Europe on 8 May, 1945.

"I thought it would be great to combine the microphone that declared war was over with the teeth," he explained.

* Liz Jones is selling her rural home, the subject of her weekly column and new book The Exmoor Files. I wonder whether her estate agent will be willing to fight for the £1.9m asking price, though, after she recently described members of the profession as "cack-handed morons."

"I need a smaller house for me and more land for my animals," Jones explained to the London Evening Standard. Unfortunately, her current property only came with 47 acres.


ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform