Diary

Opera headhunters zoom in on the zoo

My man in the crush bar at Covent Garden tells me that the Royal Opera House is having a Gotterdammerung of a time finding a new general director to succeed Jeremy Isaacs next year.

It appears that front-runners such as Brian McMaster (Edinburgh Festival and ex-Welsh National Opera), Anthony Whitworth-Jones (Glyndebourne) and even the ROH's own opera director, Nick Payne, have turned the job down. Others, like one very eminent international opera director, have been told with touching diplomacy that they are not being offered the job, but to stand by in case someone better doesn't turn up.

In desperation, the interviewing panel (the current chairman, Sir Angus Stirling; his successor, Peter Gummer; and the board members Baroness Blackstone and Sir James Spooner - not a professional opera/ballet figure among them) have turned to a firm of headhunters. Their recommendation? Dr Jonathan Gipps, the 48-year-old director of London Zoo.

Dr Gipps is not instantly recognisable as diva-friendly, but perhaps his book The Ecology Of Woodland Rodents may well have allusions to the backstage conditions at Covent Garden.

A good line in beef, but where's the joke?

How not to handle the beef crisis. A series of brief, easy-to-follow lessons by Lord Lucas, the Government's spokesman in the House of Lords, drawing on his personal experience at a Back British Beef luncheon in Ashford, Kent, hosted by the National Farmers' Union and attended by representatives from every sector of the beef industry.

1. Tell the assembled slaughterers, farmers, renderers and auctioneers - all completely mystified as to how the destruction of cattle over 30 months old is going to work, two days into the scheme - that you know they are confused, but it's ''hard cheese, the most important thing is that the scheme is up and running'', even if only on paper.

2. Point out that Ashford has had three cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human equivalent of BSE. And how terrible it is, just as the 270 guests are tucking into their pounds 16-a-head rib of beef.

3. When joking that they have been expecting Lord Lucan, by misreading the "n" at the end of his name for an "s", remark: ''There's someone who knew a thing or two about culling cows.''

4. Expect to get a laugh. (It is possible you might be disappointed on 3.)

Mad cows and English theatre

Mad cow disease does have one virtue. It can be used as the scapegoat for anything. Rupert Rhymes, chief executive of the Society of London Theatres, moans in the Stage newspaper under the front-page headline 'BSE blamed for West End slump': "We and other organisations are readjusting our projections for the number of tourists coming in this year. Terrorism is a factor in the short-term and so are health scares, which are affecting people from mainland Europe. With BSE, they are wondering whether it is safe to eat British food." And there was I, unschooled in the complexities of the tourist and meat trades, thinking there just weren't many good shows on at the moment.

Drummer gags. You can't beat 'em

The viola players may be the joke section of the symphony orchestra, as I observed yesterday. But I see the world of rock music has its own target, the drummers. The June edition of Q Magazine supplies the top 10 drummer jokes. Example: What's the last thing a drummer says in a band? "Hey guys, why don't we try one of my songs?"

In the main, though, it seems to be poor old Ginger Baker (above), once of the supergroup Cream, who has become the fall guy: What is the difference between a chiropodist and Ginger Baker? A chiropodist bucks up your feet. Ginger Baker fans should write to Q Magazine direct.

Secret desires of Labour women

There are some odd secret fantasies to be found in today's issue of She magazine, where celebrities say which film roles they hanker after. Anthea Turner says: "I would love to have starred in When Harry Met Sally because I, too, like making a scene in restaurants." This would be impossible, of course, as that was the scene of the fake orgasm, and there is nothing fake about Miss Turner. More believable are the secret desires of two Labour women. Clare Short chooses Jo, the heroine of Little Women - there were no men in the house to shut her up when she spoke out of turn. And Glenys Kinnock MEP (above right) chooses Thelma (Geena Davis, above left) from the film Thelma and Louise, because "she proved how much inner strength women who are 'written off' can find". The result, I recall, was a brief life of crime followed by suicide. Most encouraging.

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
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
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

Hydraulic Power Pack Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...

SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

SCO Supervisor Electrical

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client based in the Midlands is looki...

Ecommerce Executive

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Ecommerce Executive Working with an...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices