Diary

Sword awards drop a clanger

Next week the top awards in the world of public relations will be presented, glorying in the pomposity of the title, the Institute of Public Relations Sword of Excellence Awards (logo, left).

I have my own nomination for the booby prize. I would like to put forward the Institute of Public Relations - the largest professional body of its type in Europe, as it happily informs us, and prone to a goodly PR cock- up, I am happy to inform it.

The institute's own press information about the awards ceremony leads off on the fact that "North West Water's handling of the Yorkshire drought crisis last year is among the finalist campaigns competing for the Institute of Public Relations' prestigious 1996 Sword of Excellence Award", etc, etc.

At least two alarm bells would have rung in the head of anyone not suffering the after-effects of a PR lunch. First, Yorkshire is not in the North- west. Second, wasn't Yorkshire Water's PR a bit of a disaster? As I recall, profits and share dividends jumped as the drought set in, a quarter of the company's water leaked out, hosepipes were banned, a thousand tankers a day brought in water and they had dressing-down from the Environment Secretary. The managing director who revealed his sparse bathing habits to the nation admitted: "We had not run our PR effectively since privatisation."

A North West Water official said: "Our boundaries are Carlisle down to Crewe, we have nothing to do with Yorkshire at all except that they are our neighbours, that is the only connection."

When I pointed out this little fact to Jeremy Weinberg, spokesman for the Institute of Public Relations, he replied disarmingly: "Jeepers creepers! That is a big oversight on my part that is rather embarrassing."

If all PRs talked like that, one could almost learn to love them.

My other job? I'm a Scottish scribbler

The most unusual declaration in the Register of Members' Interests this week must have been Quentin Davies's flock of sheep (what a Tory whip would give for that). But my eye was caught by how many MPs have time to scribble north of the border. Gordon Brown, Brian Wilson, Helen Liddell, Alex Salmond and George Galloway earn from pounds 5,000 to pounds 15,000 a year writing columns in various Scottish newspapers. Is Scottish journalism not throwing up sufficient columnists, or are Scottish MPs all journalists manque? I trust they are all union members - the NUJ in Scotland should investigate.

Naughty callers

Civil servants in Devizes have been puzzled (I hope) by a spate of phone calls requesting catalogues of naughty knickers, and silk stockings and suspenders. The mystery was solved when BT admitted that directory inquiries staff have been confusing the Government's wildlife advisers, English Nature, with a Wiltshire-based mail-order company, English Naturally.

Sir Michael sends his apologies ...

Prestigious awards, up-market venue, shame about the lack of winners. The Royal Philharmonic Society's annual music awards at the Dorchester Hotel were all set this week to be the classical music ceremony of the year. The society was utterly unfazed by the absence of Itzhak Perlman, instrumentalist of the year. Busy man ... performing in New York. Ian Bostridge, tenor, won the debut award. He was making a debut elsewhere. The Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen won the opera category for Mathis Der Maler at the Royal Opera House. He was in Stockholm, presenting an award to Pierre Boulez. Etiquette demanded that presenting took precedence over receiving.

Not to worry. On to Carlo Rizzi, musical director of the Welsh National Opera Orchestra, award-winner for the year's finest orchestral series of performances. Out comes the man in the dinner jacket again. Embarrassed cough. Signor Rizzi would love to have been here, but his wife has just given birth.

Never mind, there is always the star turn: the venerable Sir Michael Tippett (above), 91, winner of the society's award for best large-scale composition of the year, The Rose Lake, "a further manifestation of his unique genius".

Alas, even geniuses get toothache. Sir Michael was at the dentist.

Identity crisis

From Belfast's the Irish News: "Mr Gerry Casey of Drumlin Drive, Lurgan, has asked us to point out that he is not the Mr Gerry Casey of Lurgan who has had a number of letters published recently in the Irish News." So that's clear, then.

A shoot in Italy would be Ab Fab

Never believe television people when they say they have definitely made their last episode: they always come back. Good thing, too, in the case of the Absolutely Fabulous team, which is combining again to make a one- hour BBC special to be shown later this year.

However, plans for an Ab Fab feature film seem to be going nowhere fast. The movie was originally to have been shot last year. The BBC says it is still on the agenda. Certainly, Ab Fab's creator, writer and star, Jennifer Saunders, has good reason to keep hoping. She tells me: "I'm very keen to shoot some of it in Italy. No plot reason, really. I just fancy going to Italy."

Spoken like Edina herself.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?