DIARY

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."

Phew.

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own