The Feral Beast: Jungle Beatles, lazy mandarins, a quartet of corgis, and comedy with heart


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The Independent Online

Michael Gove is a no-nonsense sort of chap, unafraid to shake his fist at the Human Rights Act. In 2011, the Education Secretary vowed to crack down on unruly pupils, whatever Europe said about their rights, and last year he led the cabinet's huffing and puffing when it looked as if Abu Qatada couldn't be deported. So how surprising to learn he is the trustee of a charity dedicated to promoting, er, human rights! The Charity Commission lists Gove as one of only two trustees of something called the European Freedom Fund. The other is the neocon writer and activist Douglas Murray. Their objective is "the promotion of respect for human rights as set out in the European Convention of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms adopted by the members of the council of Europe on 4th November 1950 and the convention's five protocols". This could put Gove in a tricky position when the Tories come to replacing the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights. Still, the EFF hasn't been too busy: no money has gone in or out since it was founded in 2007. Molto strano!

The boys in Brazil

Mick Jagger enjoyed his gig at Glastonbury so much that he is launching his own festival. Apparently he is planning a kind of Woodstock in the jungle for November 2014, in Brazil. As yet it doesn't have a name, but it will replace the Rock in Rio event that normally takes place in September. I'm told Mick is keen to have a hippyish vibe, and that he has stipulated the closing song will be "All you need is love". Bands will be a mix of international heavyweights and local talent. My man at the Copacabana whispers that there's talk of a Beatle performing. Sadly, these days, that's a field of two. I think I can guess who he means.

Jeremy's easy ride

Red faces in Whitehall after the revelation that Britain's most senior civil servants are having part of their tax bill paid with public money. Among those enjoying this perk is the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, whose chauffeur-driven Toyota Prius has cost the taxpayer £172,100 over the past two years. The timing of The Daily Telegraph's story is particularly embarrassing for Sir Jeremy, whose arduous journey to work is from Clapham in south London to Westminster. Only a few weeks ago he was on record saying nothing annoys good civil servants more than lazy ones. Quite so.

Hostess jolly

Fresh from the excitement of JCB tycoon Anthony Bamford becoming a life peer, his wife, Carole, has sent out invitations for the launch of A Love of Food, a collection of recipes from the Daylesford farm shop. Affectionately known as "doors to manual" for her early stint as an air hostess, Lady Bamford is the darling of the Chipping Norton set, who congregate at the slick Daylesford deli on her 1,700-acre Cotswold estate. Her book is published by 4th Estate, an imprint of Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins, and foodies from Raymond Blanc to Tom Parker Bowles are falling over themselves to praise it. "My first ever experience of organic farming and produce was at Daylesford, which from that moment opened my eyes and taste buds to a whole other level," pants chef Tom Aikens. Chums come from across the political spectrum: they once lent their Barbados villa to the Blairs, and the Camerons are neighbours. The book's launch in Islington should be quite a party.

Royal paw-trait

Royal portrait painter Nicky Philipps has revealed it was her decision to include the Queen's corgis in the new full-length painting commissioned by the Royal Mail. "The Queen asked how many I wanted and I said: 'All four, please'," she says. "I couldn't have just one because the Queen is always seen trailed by a pack." HMQ was, of course, "delightful", and "has the most wonderful infectious laugh". And the dogs? "The session was quite chaotic," she admits. "But they were not nearly as aggressive as people make out." Tactfully put.

Smart Fossil collection

Students of Bristol University are clearly braced for the brutal job market awaiting them after graduation: they have taken a musical to Edinburgh called Take It Interns, the witty story of five ad agency interns who find themselves accidentally running a campaign for bottled air. But something tells me they won't be interns for long: their other show, Morag and Keats, a film noir parody, has pulled off the theatrical coup of casting Rich Fulcher, the American comedian best known for playing Bob Fossil in The Mighty Boosh, as narrator. "We found his email address, sent him the script, and asked if he would record the part," says co-author Will Farrell. "Amazingly, he said yes. When we asked about payment, he said, 'Don't worry', and quoted that line from The Godfather: 'One day, I will ask you for a favour. You can repay me then.'"

Fringe rallies round

Amid the laughter in Edinburgh comes sadness. Paul Byrne, 36, brother of Mock the Week comedian Ed Byrne and a highly respected comedy director in his own right, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. The discovery was made as the Fringe Festival kicked off, and he is already undergoing chemotherapy. The comedy community is rallying round, with a gig in his honour this Wednesday at the McEwan Hall. John Bishop is travelling to Edinburgh specially and Ed Byrne, Jason Byrne (no relation), Phill Jupitus and Glenn Wool are all taking part. Fringe stand-up hit Andrew Maxwell is MC. Funds raised will go to Paul who, as a freelance, can't afford to take time off sick.

Clarkson cleans up

A car once owned by Jeremy Clarkson goes under the hammer next weekend. Anyone interested in snapping up a V-reg Jaguar XJR for a bargain £2,500-£4,500 should head to King's Lynn. Clarkson used to complain regularly in his column about keeping the black car clean, but the auctioneers are confident of finding a buyer: "The car is bound to attract interest from people who want to be able to say, 'Jeremy Clarkson cleaned my car.'" Hard to imagine they'll be mown down in the rush.