Brian Viner: Coco thinks it's grim up north London

Share
Related Topics

Rehab clinics probably don't have guest books – "lovely stay, can really recommend the cold turkey" – but if they did, the children of the rich and famous would loom large. It's no easy matter being born into the limelight, growing up with one or both parents appearing to belong as much to their fans as to you, and in some sad cases even more so.

Obviously there are compensations: the ponies, the holidays, Eric Clapton or Jennifer Aniston or Madonna as godparents. But it can be a tough emotional ride, all the same, which is why it's always pleasing to see superstar-offspring become normal functional adults and flourish as themselves.

Somewhere along the line, though, there's usually a kick against the privileged and often wacky circumstances in which they were raised. Some do it by changing their names. David Bowie's son Zowie decided at the age of 12 that he preferred to be known as Joey, thanks all the same, and now he's the respected film director Duncan Jones.

Coco Sumner, the singer-songwriter daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler, reacted even more extremely, writing a song called "My Name Is A Stain". "Forget my dad, hear my band," she sang, unequivocally.

An unworldly 16 then, a sophisticated 20 now, Sumner admitted in a recent newspaper interview to being somewhat embarrassed by this melodramatic youthful swipe at her connections in the music biz, and yet in the same interview she talked about growing up between a Wiltshire village and Archway in north London, a magnificent burst of inverted snobbery given that the Wiltshire village home was Sting's sumptuous pile Lake House, and the London pied-à-terre was actually part of one of the city's most elegant Georgian terraces, The Grove, slap-bang in the heart of leafy Highgate.

Nobody, except possibly a rock star's daughter, desperate for street cred, could ever mistake The Grove for grotty Archway, half a mile down the hill.

Bless her, though, for trying. Twenty years ago, when I worked on Highgate's local newspaper, the efforts of estate agents to talk up properties by locating them somewhere they weren't, or even somewhere that didn't exist, was a constant source of delighted derision. Parts of Archway were presented as Highgate, parts of unremarkable Gospel Oak as East Hampstead or even, unforgettably, Hampstead Bottom. At a stroke Coco Sumner has turned all that nonsense on its head. Maybe she could now consider covering her dad's 1980s record Englishman in New York, adjusting the title to the less glamorous Englishman on Staten Island.

What to do if stranded with a Stradivarius

It is more than a fortnight since the South Korean violinist Min-Jin Kym returned to her table in a branch of Pret-a-Manger outside Euston Station, having just bought a mature cheddar and pickle sandwich, to find herself in a different kind of pickle.

Someone had pinched the tools of her trade: a Stradivarius worth £1.2m and a Peccatte bow worth the best part of £100,000. Despite a £15,000 financial reward, not to mention the difficulty of selling the instrument, there has been no sign of the missing Stradivarius. With every passing day it seems more and more likely that the thief was an opportunist who mistook the violin case for a briefcase, and opened it hoping to find something more obviously valuable. The Strad might have ended up in a skip, or at the bottom of a canal.

Anyway, this dispiriting story reminds a cellist friend of mine of an episode in Boston, Massachusetts, a few years ago. Returning from a concert, a musician accidentally left his Stradivarius cello outside the house for a moment or two, emerging to find it gone. Some weeks later, the ashamed thief contacted the police and admitted that he'd had no idea of the cello's value but, as a carpenter, had recognised the beauty of the wood, and had turned the thing into a bookcase.

None of this is any laughing matter, but I can't help thinking of the old Tommy Cooper gag about the man who, rummaging around in his late mother's attic, was surprised to find a Stradivarius and a Rembrandt. "Unfortunately," added Cooper, after a perfectly-timed pause, "Stradivarius wasn't much of a painter ... and Rembrandt made rotten violins."

Big Sam didn't deserve to be treated like poultry

Of all the examples of the sheer loopiness afflicting English Premier League football – the barmy salaries, the vast payoffs made to agents, the rise and rise of the foreign plutocrat – this week's sacking of the Blackburn Rovers manager, Sam Allardyce, scales altogether new heights.

Rovers, one of the founder members of the Football League back in 1888, were recently bought by the Indian poultry conglomerate Venkateshwara Hatcheries. Venky's, as the company is known, is run by a woman called Anuradha Desai, a hockey and cricket enthusiast who until two months ago – two months ago! – had never watched a football match in her life.

Now, not everyone approves of the way big Sam Allardyce's teams play. That he knows the game inside out, however, is irrefutable. Indeed, he has managed five clubs currently in the Premier League, more than anyone else in football. And his achievements at Blackburn, while nothing to write home even to nearby Oswaldtwistle about, let alone to Mumbai, have been solid enough. Yet Mrs Desai with her two months of experience reckons that Rovers will be better off without him, the broad equivalent of Allardyce making key changes in Venky's plucking strategy.

Like most football lovers, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

b.viner@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors

£13000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Please read this fully before a...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executives - Home Based - £150,000 OTE

£100000 - £150000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity t...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would create a government that actually reflects its people

Kaliya Franklin
 

The UK’s train service is rubbish — it needs a woman's touch

Alice Jones
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower