Pandora: Draper upset by a rival's labour of love
Wednesday 18 March 2009
A delightful game of one-upmanship has broken out in the political blogosphere, following a tongue-in-cheek stunt by two of the Labour Party's most-visited websites.
Over the weekend, John Prescott's blog, Go Fourth, and the former lobbyist Derek Draper's LabourList each offered users the chance to design a satirical Conservative message. Posting a mock-up of a Conservative Party billboard, the application allowed readers to enter their own side-splitting catchphrase.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it wasn't long before a Tory-minded wag spotted the chance to slip in a quick joke, and uploaded the snigger-worthy slogan "Vote for John Prescott – and you can shag his secretary too."
Since then, the site has proven so popular that, by yesterday morning, it had crashed. Draper was less than amused by it all when I spoke to him yesterday. "It is inevitable that political jokes stray into the personal, and we all do it," he told me. "But I do think we should keep in mind the need to bring them back to the political.
"Still, we got some really good entries and I have picked the winner. At least they will get a bottle of house champagne out of it all."
Hoppen turns hostess for her big night
Congratulations to Kelly Hoppen, who collects her MBE tomorrow. The frizzy interior designer tells me she has a suitably glamorous party planned in the evening, with guests including Sienna Miller and Rory Bremner. "My daughter has organised it at Beach Blanket Babylon. Apparently ther are lots of little surprises. I can't wait!"
Chambers struggles to warm up
Booksellers looking to shift Dwain Chambers's autobiography, Race Against Me: My Story, may need to look a little further for an endorsement than the British sprinter, who was once banned for taking performance-enhancing drugs. Describing the work to Pandora, Chambers, 30, seemed hard-pressed to make a claim for its unique selling point. "It has been very difficult for me," he mused with disarming honesty. "Writing is not really my thing. I hardly read books, so to have one published under my name... well, I expected much less."
Waterman gets all misty-eyed about trains
The locomotive-loving pop svengali Pete Waterman has little truck with anorak-clad "train spotters" who are protesting about a crackdown on unticketed boarding of National Express trains. "It's just not necessary [for enthusiasts] to jump on trains like that," he tells me. "I take 30 to 40 pictures a day and I've never once needed to do that. If somebody is jumping on to a train they are not a real enthusiast – and if they say they are, then we don't want them."
"I'm president of the Friends of Leamington Spa Station and we have introduced legislation that stops people doing that.
"They are just trying to provoke people and be controversial. At any rate, the term 'train-spotters' isn't used any more – it is considered derogatory."
Boyle clings on to his 'Slumdog' memento
Danny Boyle appears to have his Slumdog Millionaire oscar glued to his hands. Arriving at yesterday's First Light Music Awards, he was still clutching the best director gong – which he recently showed off at St Mary's Catholic Social Club in his home town of Radcliffe, Lancashire – as if it could vanish at any moment.
"It's a very good job they actually give them to you," he joked. "Because I cannot really remember much of the Oscar ceremony itself. You would never believe you won!"
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