DIARY

Starring role in the aristocracy

The British aristocracy have a glamorous new member - Jamie Lee Curtis (below). The American actress and daughter of Tony Curtis, shortly to star with John Cleese in the follow-up to A Fish Called Wanda, is married to the British screenwriter Christopher Haden-Guest. Following the death of his father, the former UN official Peter Haden-Guest at the age of 83, Christopher succeeds to the barony.

According to Debrett's, the former Miss Jamie Lee will now be a peeress and should be addressed as Lady. Her husband will, of course, have a seat in the Lords. The new Lady Haden-Guest's mother, the actress Janet Leigh of Psycho shower death fame, says her daughter and son-in-law were both devastated by the death and have not given any thought yet to how they will fill their roles as Lord and Lady.

One friend of Jamie Lee said she loved all things British and could surprise people by taking her role as part of the English landed gentry very seriously. Roll on Henley.

A divorced duchess on the tiles?

Taking a high-minded view of all this Fergie stuff, I looked in Chambers dictionary to see whether she will, from a linguistic-pedantic viewpoint, still be a duchess after the divorce.

It says: "duchess - the consort or widow of a duke: a woman of the same rank as a duke in her own right ..." She would seem to qualify on neither of those counts.

The definition goes on: "a size of roofing slate measuring 24 x 12 inches". Which does not make things any easier.

New departures for the Fabians

I hear that the Labour Party's original think tank, the Fabian Society, is to have a new leader. Simon Crine has decided to step down, I gather, after five years as general secretary. Though he is too much of a loyalist to say so himself, friends of his tell me that he had become a little weary of the increasingly dirigiste approach of the Labour leadership.

It will be interesting to see if the Fabians, of which Mr Blair is a member, choose as his successor a confirmed Blairite or someone likely to relish intellectual challenges to policy. Mr Crine's deputy, Stephen Pollard, an advocate of selective education, has already left his post to join the Social Market Foundation.

One name to watch could be solicitor Maggie Rae, who chairs the Fabians and is a close friend of Tony and Cherie Blair.

Larkin about, but not on the Tube

London Underground has no sense of humour. Or perhaps the sense of humour has been delayed owing to staff shortages. Although it has had great success with Poems On The Underground - short verses pasted up inside tube trains for commuters to peruse - it will not be displaying any verses from Poems Not On The Underground, a book of parodies by Roger Tagholm, who writes under the alias of Straphanger.

Victoria Huxley, publishing director of Windrush Press, tells me that London Underground has turned down their requests to display the poems or even advertise them, with some brusqueness. Apparently, they were particularly angered by Mr Tagholm's pastiche of John of Gaunt's "This England" speech from Richard II, which appears as: "This blessed grubbiness, this clammy air/This broken escalator, this poor, battered, blamed/Blighted, bewildered and underfunded transport system" etc.

I preferred his version of the famous filial lament by Philip Larkin (right) - "They f*** you up the Northern Line trains/They may not mean to, but they do/They say they're coming through Camden/Whereas you know they're stuck at Waterloo." Not as erudite as the metaphysicals, but a lot more pertinent most mornings.

You just can't beat that fresh, tropical taste

I bring you a novel use of the word "new" from the world of advertising. From next Monday, viewers will be treated to a "completely new TV commercial" costing pounds 2m for the coconut confection Bounty bar. It will, boasts the commercial's blurb, "mark the end of an era for Bounty, as the traditional scenes of sandy white beaches and romantic couples are replaced".

The paradise islands, it admits, "were becoming a bit too familiar". All well and good. The ads have been around for some 20 years, after all. How odd, then, that according to the self-same blurb, the new ad will feature "a series of exotic images such as ... tropical flowers and maidens dancing on the beach".

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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 General

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape