Diary

Internal wrangles over the organisation of this year's Proms are acquiring epic proportions. Last week, I told how the BBC1 controller, Alan Yentob, went into paroxysms over the insertion of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's modern composition Panic into his populist programme for the last night. Now, I discover, it is not the last night that has caused the most arguments, but the penultimate night - Friday 15 September. This time the dispute is between the retiring Proms director, Sir John Drummond, and Italy's premier composer, Luciano Berio.

Sir John had commissioned Berio to write a new piece, Shofar, for the 15th, which was to be followed by Mahler's Symphony No 2 - Resurrection. Berio was delighted - until he received an invitation from Sir John, inviting him to a farewell drinks party "following Mahler's Resurrection". Berio scanned the invitation. No mention of Shofar. The artistic ego was inflamed.

Berio withdrew his piece from the concert. Deadlock. Then Berio's PR had an idea. Berio should ring Sir John and say that he was dedicating Shofar to Sir John - not at the Proms, but some time, some place. The newly knighted Sir John was most flattered. The invitations have been reprinted, and Shofar will be played at the Prom. Who, I wonder, will toast whom first on the night?

Talking of fiascos at the Proms... Before the first disastrous power cut at last Tuesday's prom at the Royal Albert Hall (incidentally, I'm told all those wanting refunds should write to Maurice Scott), I spied a BBC cameraman filming the concert. I was stationed a few metres behind him but, even at that distance, something on his monitor did not look quite right. I leant forward to see better... No, it couldn't be... surely I must be mistaken. Alas, no. My neighbour tapped me on the shoulder. "That cameraman is watching the athletics," he hissed.

Michael Joseph's forthcoming publication of Favourite Family Poetry, compiled by an eclectic list of so-called celebrities (they range from Martin Amis to Denis Healey to the disc jockey Mike Read) contains some amusing reading. Not so much within the verse, you understand, but the index of who chose what.

Newly very-wealthy novelist Martin Amis has chosen Ezra Pound's "Exile's Letter" - dreaming perhaps of a future abroad for tax reasons? The former Tory Cabinet minister John Biffen shows signs of nostalgia for greater days with his selection of Browning's 'The Lost Leader". And could the former Labour politician Bryan Gould be commenting on the current premiership with his choice of "The Donkey"?

Touchingly, the late Sir Michael Hordern began his list with "Our Revels now are ended". But the most self-indulgent (and predictable) by far is Lord Archer's choice: Rupert Brooke's "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester" - Lord Archer's home address.

Ambridge fans, hold on to your armchairs. The rumour - and it is one of those dangerous rumours that the Archers actors have all heard - is that the wedding between Caroline Bone and Guy Pemberton, scheduled for 11 September, may be off.

To recap for those who have not been religiously tuned in, Ms Bone is a well-to-do 40-year-old who has come close to the altar several times but can never bring herself to tie the knot. (Her last conquest, the vicar, was ditched just over a year ago - and with a wobbly-voiced final sermon made his exit from the parish on Sunday.) This time, however, great things were expected. Mr Pemberton, wealthy, energetic and possessed of a nice voice, seemed perfect for her. But my mole says the script for early September contains a blazing row between the couple.

Could it really not take place? "I simply can't comment," says the producer, Vanessa Whitburn, adding enigmatically: "Remember - he isn't quite perfect. He is considerably (25 years) older than her."

I am glad to see that Hugh Grant is abiding by his own advice to audiences to watch his recent film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain "not once but twice" (never mind that he himself failed to make the British premiere for fear of incurring bad publicity).

Last Wednesday, he was spotted escorting his parents (James and Fynvola - Fin to her friends) to the 7.15 performance at the Odeon in London's Kensington High Street. Stony-faced and garbed in the apparel of a former double agent - baseball cap pulled firmly over his face, glasses shielding his eyes - he looked grim and furtive. Even the usherettes did not recognise him. At the end of the film, he waited in a corner until the place had emptied before making his exit to a white car parked nearby. Poor Hugh! He should realise that not everyone despises him. "If only I'd known," sighed the female cinema manager when I told her. "I'd have loved to have welcomed him."

It appears that dating agencies are getting more picky about the calibre of their clientele. A male friend was sent a pamphlet from "The Executive Club at St James's" assuring him that only "suitable" people were admitted beneath its august portals. "The Executive Club restricts membership to professionals, whereas Partner (their sister club) caters for nice people from all walks of life," runs the blurb. "Our screening process is thorough and we do indeed turn away people we would not be proud for you to meet." All those wondering whether they are a "Partner" or an "Executive" are saved the embarrassment of asking. Partner, says the blurb on the back of the pamphlet, "is up to the status of schoolteacher".

Those who are socially unacceptable, however, must find out the hard way. My friend rang up and under false pretences inquired if he could be admitted. "Clapham Junction trainspotters who still live with their parents?" echoed the woman. "Absolutely not."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • 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: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?