Diary: Between the devil and the bishops

Click to follow
The Independent Online
There seems to be a continuing lack of charity in the internecine struggle between the two Catholic newspapers the Universe and the Catholic Herald. Peter Stanford (left), former editor of the Herald, has just written The Devil: A Biography, to be published next week. The Universe weighed in saying that Stanford was writing "an autobiography of the devil". (Oscar Wilde lives on in religious publications).

Stanford and his publisher, Heinemann, were not amused and demanded an apology from the Universe. Jo Kelly, editor of the Universe (a wonderful title, that), promised one would be forthcoming. In the Universe's diary column the following apology duly appeared: "An apology. In a recent edition of The Universe I said former Catholic Herald editor Peter Stanford was writing an autobiography of the devil. As he has pointed out, Mr Stanford is in fact not the devil. He is merely writing his biography. So, breaking with our normal custom, we apologise grudgingly to Beelzebub for the embarrassment caused."

Stanford himself was somewhat taken aback, but could find himself in worse trouble. Catholics and Sex, one of his earlier works, is just about to be published in Polish. "That means that the Pope might read it," he says, "and I might get excommunicated. That is an awful lot worse than being called the devil by the English bishops."

Music to the producer's ears

Sue Woodford, the wife of the media mogul and Labour peer Lord Hollick, is about to try her hand at co-producing a musical. The former World in Action producer at Granada who is on the board of Talawa, Britain's leading black theatre company, has jointly bought the rights to A Raisin in the Sun with Yvonne Brewster, the theatre's Jamaican-born artistic director, and the American theatre director, Lisa Forell. The musical was adapted by Lorraine Hansberry, with music by Judd Woldin, from the original award- winning 1959 play about a ghetto family that comes into money and moves into a white neighbourhood. It was a success in the US but has never before been performed in Britain. Sue Woodford is optimistic and hopes it will be out next year. "This could be something that is a real success. It's going to show the wonderful black talent that we have in this country."

An expensive lesson in unity

To attend one teachers' union conference is purgatory. To go to three seems remarkably like sado-masochism. But Hank Roberts, the former president of Brent National Union of Teachers, has spent his entire Easter and a large chunk of his savings doing just that on behalf of his cross-union pressure group, Professional Unity 2000. The aim of the group is to unify all the teaching unions. The road to unity is long and expensive. "I started in London," says Mr Roberts, "where I took a cab to Torquay for pounds 150 for the ATL conference and stayed overnight. I then had to return to London, go to Cardiff for the NUT conference for two nights, after which I am catching the plane to Glasgow for the NASUWT conference where I'll probably stay for two more nights. Then I have to fly back to London again." The whole shebang will cost him pounds 600. Greater love for his profession hath no man.

The bottom line on cellulite

With some of the press filling space on a quiet week with in-depth investigations into the state of Princess Diana's legs, it was only to be expected that yesterday afternoon's programme on Carlton TV's Capital Woman should do its own grope into cellulite.

"What is it," asked the presenter, "that every woman is paranoid about, that even Pamela Anderson cannot avoid, that doctors won't even acknowledge, and that cannot be found in any medical textbook? Well, the answer is cellulite. But is it, as some doctors say, a figment of our imagination - or simply a Frenchwoman's elegant word for fat?" Paranoid, figments, fat! Harsh words from the presenter, one Julia Carling (above), but these medical matters demand plain speaking.

Eagle Eye

Watch out, there's a Boy Scout about ...

This week is pounds 2 a job week, that time of year when Boy Scouts fail to knock on your door offering to do odd jobs and you, instead, summon psychic powers along with a couple of quid to get them to turn up. According to John Fogg, spokesman for the Scout Association: "Society has come to the point that it is no longer safe to go knocking on doors. We encourage them to work in groups under supervision." He added that Scouts would now expect up to pounds 2 for a job well done.

It has, of course, long since ceased to be known as bob-a-job week, appearing now under the rather less catchy title of Scout Job Week. "The bob-a-job week title has long been meaningless," said Mr Fogg, adding that, when the Scouts first introduced bob-a-job, the Girl Guides wanted their own version. They were, however, persuaded that the slogan "Willing for a shilling" was not such a good idea.

Comments