Diary: Twilight to the rescue

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The Independent Online

Twilight hype update: following news that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, are among the most powerful celebrities in the world (according to Forbes magazine, at least) and that Twilight: Eclipse is the biggest US cinema opening in history, screening yesterday on 4,416 screens across the States, we were also delighted to receive an email advertising some unofficial, Twilight-related merchandise to add to the keyring, the lipstick, the duvet cover, and the special edition DVD. Yes, it's a rape alarm. What else? "This revolutionary personal alarm," reads the release, "works by emitting an ear-piercing female shriek when activated that will shock and disorientate even the nastiest of vampires giving precious seconds to escape and alert the Cullens and werewolves." We're still trying to decide whether the company responsible should be mocked for its rank opportunism, or praised for smartly tapping into a teen phenomenon in order to ensure the safety of vulnerable young Twilight fans. Just as long as they don't really expect R-Patz to turn up when they use it; that could make for a seriously noisy summer.

* Unemployed Lembit Opik, 45 – former MP, ex-Cheeky fiancé and stand-up comic – is considering running for Mayor of London. And yet, he tells the Shropshire Star, he's still keen to stand again in Montgomeryshire. Which is it to be, City Hall or the Commons? "If you were offered a pair of trousers or a sandwich," Lembit answers when I call, "which would you prefer? There's no overlap." Well, being an MP didn't stop Boris, I suppose. "If London's interested and the Lib Dems are interested then so am I," Lembit goes on (and on). "But I'm not going to run for Mayor in some narcissistic way... I've got a very strong public service ethos; it's just the way I am. I spent longer than anyone else in British politics on the Northern Ireland brief. I've said we should have a fast timetable of withdrawal from Afghanistan. I've said we should seek a settlement with the Taliban. I've said we should offer hard drugs on prescription to addicts. That's the kind of thing I'd talk about as a mayoral candidate," he explains, increasingly breathless. "But that's not what I get reported for. I get reported for who I go out with. Report me as wacky Lembit if you want, but you could report me as left-wing libertarian Lembit." Gosh, this is all getting a bit serious, Lembit. Heard any good jokes lately?

* Diane Abbott was scheduled to appear on BBC2's The Daily Politics today with frenemy Andrew Neil (blogs Westminster's stirrer-in-chief Guido Fawkes), but mysteriously cancelled the encounter. Scared of being asked about those taxi receipts again? Apparently not, explains her office: Diane has "a long-standing commitment to speak to some American students, but's she's happy to do the show and is looking at other possible dates." Her fellow Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham will appear with Neil tonight, but we presume she'll return to her £36,000pa spot on the sofa should she fail to win the leadership. "I don't think she's thinking beyond the campaign, to be honest," says her spokesperson. A BBC spokesperson, on the other hand, tells us the corporation is expecting Abbott back after the summer recess. As are the rest of us.

* As we're on the phone to the BBC, and Andy Murray is swearing silently in high-definition slow-motion on the office telly, we must ask: does the Beeb have a policy on silent, high-definition, slow-motion use of the f-word, as employed repeatedly by England goalkeeper David James during the World Cup? "If there's any audible swearing, we apologise immediately on air," says Scott from BBC Sport. "It's more difficult with visual – with audio you know exactly what they're saying because you can hear it." Trust me, Scott, you know exactly what Murray is saying without hearing it. "Well, the whole point of the slo-mo is to convey the emotion the player is feeling at that moment." Job done, then.

* It's reassuring to learn that even Oxford Today, the official magazine of the University of Oxford, makes the odd mistake. And, moreover, that the university's celebrated alumni continue to take an interest in their alma mater. Rowan Atkinson wrote to the magazine this month to correct its spelling. "In your interview with Monty Python actor Terry Jones," he complains, "you referred repeatedly to his involvement with the 'Oxford Review'. When I was at Oxford, my involvement was with Oxford Revue. Call me picky, but I think that I was involved with the one better spelt." Picky.