It could be you, if there's room...

I have discovered the real reason why the Arts Lottery Board has a reputed administrative backlog of three months' paperwork. (There are some 628 applications pending, even though 466 awards were made last year, according to a report in last week's Arts Management Weekly.)

The hold-up is not because, as has been reported, the board has been inundated with far more applicants than anticipated. It is, I'm afraid, to do with a far more immediate problem in the office. You couldn't swing a half, let alone a whole cat between desks, apparently - even in the classy office assigned to the Arts Council chief, Lord Gowrie. The building in Great Peter Street, near Victoria, is simply too cramped to recruit the much-needed extra staff.

For three months now the board has been unable to carry out its recruitment plans (it intended to take on 20 extra bodies) on account of the cramped conditions. But now, I am pleased to say, the situation has been resolved.

"We are extending the third floor," explains a spokeswoman for the Arts Council (in whose premises the board is located). "Education is moving up from the third floor to the fourth and finance is moving out of the building altogether. We're going to have much more space and we are currently advertising the job vacancies."


Lunch's Labours lost?

Methinks a few of the Labour MPs who have offices in the parliamentary outbuilding Norman Shaw South (in Whitehall, far away from Tony Blair in the Palace of Westminster) do not have enough to do. At least, that is the only explanation I can come up with for three of them writing some very banal comments in a book chained to the new vending machines erected in a room off their corridor. I'm sure their constituents will be pleased to note that Audrey Wise, the MP for Preston, laments the lack of Snickers and shortbread while Keith Hill, MP for Streatham, is irritated by the loss of his pounds 1 coin. However, one happy customer, John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen, is prepared to stand out from the crowd, "I don't want to be a creep but I think the range of food is much better".

I do so hope somebody finds their comments useful.

Wolf in camp clothing

I was startled to see an unlikely symbol of male campness pop up in Ken Russell's production of Salome's Last Dance, shown on Channel 4 on Sunday night. The film, based on Oscar Wilde's banned play Salome - it has a homosexual subtext - is set in a male brothel. So far so good. But I nearly spilt my cocoa when I spotted a familiar face, standing in the shadows next to young gold-painted slave boys. It was none other than Gladiators' most macho, virile fighter - Wolf.

Wolf, who in everyday life goes by the name of Michael Van Wijk, thrives on his image as the aggressive gladiator most likely to terrify the kids and bully the other competitors on the Saturday night show. I imagine his role in the Russell film, made in 1987 in which he wears a leather G-string and minces around as a Roman soldier, is not something he cares to publicise. Indeed, when I rang the Gladiators press office to inquire about it, this seemed to be the case. "This is a private matter for Mr Van Wijk," said a spokesman firmly. I didn't like to remind him that the programme had been broadcast to the entire country the previous evening.

Booming ridiculous

So what happens when the UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali, puts the Environment Secretary, John Gummer, on a panel of ``internationally eminent persons'' to plan a major UN conference on the environment later this year? This panel met in New York yesterday and our globe-trotting Secretary of State decided to get there by the fastest, most expensive and most ungreen-possible method, Concorde.

What, no double rooms? It's a dog's life

Worrying news: the country is being altered to accommodate all aspiring Mrs Pumphreys (Mrs Pumphrey, you may recall, is the fictional character in James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small who dotes obsessively on her absurdly spoilt poodle, Tricky Woo). Nobody in reality, I had fondly imagined, would ever really treat a dog like that. But times, I discover, have changed. On 1 May, a kennels will open near Cambridge offering dogs a single room, complete with TV, remote control, a proper bed with mattress, a rug and a picture of a fellow pet. There is also a sick bay, in case any of the guests feel ill. Ann Sawyer, the owner of the kennels, Third Bridge Farm, swears that she is not, to use a bad pun, barking mad. "I have bred and shown poodles for years," she says proudly. "I would never send one of my own dogs to kennels. A dog is used to TV, to carpets and to central heating. It's very cruel to deprive them of those things." All humans inspired by my picture opposite might wish to know that the charge for one night's stay is pounds 10 - and I intend to book in pronto under the surname Rover.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Furyon London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
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 General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam