Pandora: Sounding out Blair

Tony Blair invaded Iraq with fabricated "evidence" and the Stop the War Coalition won't let him forget it. Next Thursday, the Middle East peace envoy is to deliver a speech at Westminster Cathedral on "Faith and Globalisation". (Fear of being labelled "a nutter" – his word – made Blair avoid talking about his religious views in office, and stick to less controversial matters like waging war in the Middle East.)

To jollify proceedings, Stop the War is organising a "wall of sound" at 6.30pm outside God's house, inviting all and sundry to appear with musical instruments to drown out Tony's talk. Confirmed attendees include two choirs and students from the Royal Academy of Music. "We're hoping for a hell of a turn-out," says a spokesman. "The phone keeps ringing."

Queen's catering for Sarko leaves fishy smell at the castle

Given the hackneyed nonchalance of the French about such matters, President Nicolas Sarkozy is unlikely to have devoted much thought to the provenance of his Filet de Barbue Beatrice (fillet of brill) starter at Wednesday night's Windsor Castle state banquet. Why, though, is Buckingham Palace so sniffy about disclosing the origin of the flatfish served to HM's 148 guests?

Brill is classified as an imperilled stock by the Marine Conservation Society and features prominently on its Fish to Avoid list. "Brill is mainly taken as by-catch in beam trawl fisheries in the North Sea," warns the society. "A considerable proportion of the catch is immature and the stock over-exploited. Avoid eating. Choose brill from other areas caught by demersal otter rather than beam trawling. Avoid eating immature brill (less than 40cm) caught by any method as small fish will not have had chance to spawn or reproduce."

So where did Liz get her brill? A Palace spokesman claims: "We don't have that information."

Although exempt from Freedom of Information legislation, the Royal Household states its policy is to "provide [non-political] information as freely as possible" and "to account openly for its use of public money".

Kippers for breakfast seems to fit the criteria for disclosure. Yet Buckingham Palace last year repeatedly stonewalled requests from this newspaper to list the fish species it purchases with public money. Enough to make one spit out one's goblet of Chassagne-Montrachet, n'est-ce pas?

Return of the green fly: Goldblum in enviro talks

Save the flies, man. Jeff Goldblum, star of the classic 1986 science fiction-horror-romance in which a man mutates into an insect, is in talks with leading environmental lawyers about possible joint projects.

The lofty actor, 55, currently in London to perform in Kevin Spacey's Speed the Plow at the Old Vic, has met the chief executive of ClientEarth, a non-profit group of lawyers seeking "Justice for the Planet" – fighting coal power stations, airport expansions and the like.

The outfit's trustees include Stephen Hockman QC, proponent of a world environment court to enforce Kyoto targets. The musician Brian Eno and would-be MP Zac Goldsmith are patrons.

They seek a collaboration with Goldblum, who has previously advertised Toyota's petro-electric hybrid Prius car.

Goldblum and the ClientEarth CEO plan a further (presumably staccato) meeting in Los Angeles this summer.

Martine's novel hold-up

Martine McCutcheon's attempt to reinvent herself as a Mills and Boon de nos jours appears to have hit the buffers.

In January, the cockney actress, 31, was reported to be in talks with several leading publishing houses about her planned debut novel, The Mistress, about "the other woman", the first in a trilogy about strong women.

However, I hear the talks with the Century imprint – whose seduction had included the exclamation that Martine "writes like an angel" – were placed on hold. There has been a parting of ways between McCutcheon and her agent handling the sale, Jaine Brent.

"I'm not actually dealing with Martine any more," says Brent when I call. As for whether the pair have fallen out: "I'd rather not comment on that."

More Balls

Aha, a photo op – let's be 'avin ya! The Schools Secretary Ed Balls, a Norwich FC supporter, and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, an Evertonian and one-time pitch invader, yesterday played each other in a heated football computer game (Fifa 08). The pretext was their press conference about a crackdown on violent games.

"Have you any idea what's going on because I'm not very good at this," Balls told one boy. The ministers were 0-0 when they asked two kids to take over, having been called away to host the conference. Upon their return, Balls was horrified to discover Norwich losing 2-0. "I can't find the shoot button," protested the child. Interrupted Ed: "Kill the game." The Press Association duly reported the score as 0-0. Spin docs don't die, they just get promoted.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine