The Feral Beast: Notes from the small minded, Pippa's back, and Thatcher and Powell's pow-wow

Bill Bryson may seem like a travelling teddy bear, all cosy jokes and observations. But he is a papa grizzly when it comes to protecting his utterings. Lawyers acting for the author of Notes from a Small Island have fired off a furious email to a journalist who has reprinted an interview with him from 19 years ago. Mike Gerrard wrote the piece for the literary mag Passport in 1994. Now he has turned it into an ebook, selling at £2.05 a pop. But Bryson's publishers, Transworld, have demanded that he withdraw the book from sale, saying that their client owns the copyright to the words he spoke that day. If that were the case, no journalist could ever reprint any article. "I'm baffled as to why the author is taking this bullying attitude," says Gerrard. "The interview promotes him and his work, and has links to his books. It's even more surprising because he's an American from the land of free speech." Gerrard has refused to take the ebook down, and Transworld did not respond to a request for comment.

Caught out on Twitter

Dominic Cummings is leaving politics, possibly to go into education. This is a shame for journalists: the hot-headed advisor to Michael Gove – some say he's a genius; others, a disaster – can be relied upon for good copy. So disaster-prone is he that Andy Coulson vetoed his appointment to No 10. His latest blunder is to reveal an Alastair Campbell-style relationship with the truth. When, earlier this year, I emailed to ask if he was the author of an amusing Twitter account called @stevehiltonguru, he denied being on Twitter at all, saying: "Jeez louise im not on twitter" [sic]. Now, he is openly going round as @OdysseanProject, an account that has been active since early last year. If he does go into education, perhaps he should take a course in truth economics.

Fading or hopeless? Vote now

Defibrillators at the ready: 12 flagging celebrity careers will soon get a pre-Christmas boost. ITV has yet to announce the line-up for the 13th series of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, but I gather that Matthew Wright has been earmarked for the jungle. The chirpy host of Channel Five's The Wright Stuff was spotted in talks with the show's celebrity booker. Wright is a self-confessed fan of the show. "I love I'm a Celebrity," he once informed readers of his Daily Star Sunday column. "It's the daddy of reality shows because it doesn't pretend to be something it's not." How so? "Get a bunch of fading stars and hopeless wannabes together, offer them cash, some column inches and then torture them. Genius!" One wonders in which category he places himself.

The high cost of charity

The director of Britain's oldest heritage charity has been accused of wasting money after blowing thousands on a legal action he has now dropped. Last year, Matthew Slocombe became director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, founded in 1877 by William Morris. He immediately axed the quarterly magazine, Cornerstone, and its editor, Robin Stummer, replacing it with his own magazine. Stummer sued for wrongful dismissal, prompting Slocombe to counter-sue over another matter. Now, 10 months later, SPAB has dropped the action. SPAB's accounts show it normally spends about £10k a year on legal fees. Last year, they spent £90,794, and this year's bill will be considerably more. This comes as accounts show that the charity's income has dropped 29 per cent year-on-year. A statement from Slocombe says: "After careful consideration [SPAB] concluded that the benefits of pursuing this action no longer outweighed the likely cost to the Society." He declined to comment on whether it had been money well spent when I called.

Sheherazade's Pink flushes

Zac Goldsmith has his hands full with a new wife and baby, Dolly, born in August. But his ex-wife Sheherazade has thrown herself into bee-keeping. "I've got a new beehive," she tells the diary at the opening of Alice Temperley's new bridal wear shop. "I've started producing my own honey." Sheherazade has been named one of Britain's most eligible singletons since her split from Zac in 2010. She now lives in Petersham, in her ex-husband's constituency, where she is trying to reinvigorate the local bee population. "As Albert Einstein once said: "If there were no bees there'd be no humanity." Meanwhile, she is planning a visit to Glastonbury. "I haven't been for over 20 years, but I'm going if Pink Floyd headline," she says. "Dave Gilmour is my long term crush. He's a God." Watch out!

Lagerfeld's front about back

Another pearl of wisdom from Karl Lagerfeld. The weirdo fashion designer tells French TV: "The hole in your Social Security budget is because of all the illnesses caught by people who are too fat." Latest figures show that France has the lowest obesity rate in Western Europe. Britain, meanwhile, has the highest. He also believes that Pippa Middleton should "only ever show her back". Not sure who's side we're on in that one.

Friends after all

Margaret Thatcher and Enoch Powell circled each other like cats in an alleyway, each as mistrustful of the other. But documents released from the Thatcher archive reveal that the former PM did have a grudging respect for him, despite not giving him a place in her cabinet. When Powell, politically toxic after his "Rivers of Blood" speech, asked to meet the PM a few months after her 1979 victory, her PPS, Ian Gow, wrote her a note saying: "While I understand your concern at the wider implications of him being seen arriving at Downing Street at the present time, I believe that Enoch is wholly trustworthy in his personal (if not political) dealings." He adds: "I retain a latent admiration for him". Thatcher wrote: "Agreed, MT". Three weeks later they reached a compromise, meeting late in the House of Commons, not Downing Street.

The show must go on

Libby Purves, 63, was shocked to find she'd been sacked as The Times's theatre critic last month, only three years into the job. "No, not a joke" she said when it was reported. "No, no idea why." She has pledged not to "vanish from back row opining", but her last review appeared in yesterday's paper. And what's this – a coded message? "There's a place in our Heston Blumenthal-ish, revisionist gourmet world of modern theatre for the showbiz equivalent of a good roast beef and two veg," she writes. "Sometimes the old tunes are best." Quite right – her predecessor, Benedict Nightingale, retired aged 71.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?