The genial Blair sycophant George Foulkes - Baron Foulkes of Cumnock since Tony elected him a life peer and now one of the henchmen trying to treat Labour's Scottish schizophrenia - was a most promising shadow cabinet minister until he came to suffer "a nasty fall on the slopes of Glenfiddich in July 1993".
At a party held by the Scotch Whisky Association, the defence spokesman at the time, also a magistrate, drank adequately from the fountain of the water of life. One witness described Foulkes's subsequent behaviour as "like Zebedee on acid". The MP trundled back to the Commons for a crunch vote.
Unfortunately, the pavements of Westminster dipped and rose like the deck of a clipper on a choppy sea, tossing him into the arms of pedestrians. An attempt to dance with a 70-year-old lady resulted in them both hugging the asphalt. Foulkes biffed one persistently helpful constable on the chin.
He was arrested and invited to spend the night enjoying Her Majesty's hospitality. He pleaded guilty to assault and being drunk and disorderly, and was fined £1,050. He vowed not to drink whisky again.
So I am delighted to hear of an invitation doing the rounds. In his capacity as president of the Caribbean-Britain Business Council, Foulkes is hosting a party at the House of Lords on 13 March: a "rum punch reception". A Caribbean holiday for two shall be raffled and guests hope Foulkes will lead the calypso. (He is, of course, bringing the punch.) Boing!
A different kind of boy band for ladies' night
The world of death metal is known for breaking down stuffy boundaries - biting the heads off live bats on stage, throwing the limbs of recently slaughtered livestock into the crowd, that sort of thing. Another first will be notched tonight: the first "ladies-only death metal night".
A comparatively civilised band called the Eagles of Death Metal will play a gig to 300 women at the Soho Revue. There will be pink cocktails and karaoke in the VIP room, and no Y-chromosomes. One hearing-impaired blogger comments: "In rock's bad old days, bands sent sweaty roadies with proudly displayed plumber's [arse] cracks into audiences to spirit attractive women backstage to take part in prurient activities. We have come a long way baby."
Lacking the prerequisite physical attributes, and demonically terrified by the prospect of 300 baying, sweaty women, I feel this could be a party too far for Pandora.But I will probably go.
Rik turns heat on Fry
Rik Mayall has raked over an upsetting row. In 1995, the actor shared a West End stage with Stephen Fry in Cell Mates. Fry had bad reviews and after three days did a runner. The play never recovered; it closed and lost £500,000. Mayall and the playwright Simon Gray were furious. It emerged Fry had contemplated suicide before fleeing to Belgium and Amsterdam. He was diagnosed with manic depression.
Mayall forgave him, but in an online interview, now says: "You don't leave the trenches, especially if other actors become unemployed and they're poor anyway. Selfishness is one thing, being a cunt is another." Mayall jokily calls his interviewer "a very ignorant, irrelevant, small piece of barely human flesh and a waste of oxygen", so perhaps it was all said in good spirits.
Labour MPs' constituency staff are, now, a long-suffering bunch. They have been invited to the Commons on 1 March for a training day "focussing [sic] on building relationships and personal communications with your constituents". Workshops include: "How to run a listening panel" (the wheeze formerly known as a focus group), "Campaigning over the summer" (with bosses on holiday), and "Staying within Legal Guidelines" (timely).
"Due to financial constraints," writes Fiona Gordon, Labour Party secretary and purveyor of Tony Blair DVDs, "a small contribution of £5 will be charged". Grumbles one grassroots workhorse: "Due to financial constraints! It makes you laugh. Staff end up paying to train to re-elect their overpaid bosses. Typical!"
Paxman meets his match
BBC rottweiler Jeremy Paxman appears to have been neutered by the Women's Institute. (A disturbingly pleasing metaphor.)
The cattle-worrier has granted a rare interview to new jam-makers' chronicle WI life, whose journalist gets Paxo to admit he "should not be so Eeyore-ish" (sardonic, perpetually gloomy, and eat thistles). More than his Newsnight bosses have achieved in 18 years.
The presenter confesses to his "paralysing fear" of the Queen Mother - "no-one [has] poleaxed me so effectively" - and adds: "The WI is part of the backbone of Britain. I've met plenty of WI members. I wouldn't want to mess with them." A temporary balm for the legions of Westminster egos battered by The Beast.Reuse content