Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (01/05/11)

Morning dress worn as standard

Share
Related Topics

The BBC said he was too "20th century" to present the royal wedding, but David Dimbleby has, I can reveal, got over the insult, and loved watching Friday's event. The veteran news presenter was reported to be sulking, after BBC execs snubbed him in favour of Huw Edwards. But he tells me he did watch the nuptials from home, and "very much enjoyed it". Speaking from his farmhouse, the 72-year-old host of Question Time said he was taking advantage of the time off by relaxing with his family. "I'm doing Greek verbs with my son," he said. Dimbleby has three adult children by his first wife, Josceline, the cookery writer, and a 12-year-old son by his second wife, Belinda Giles, who will be taking his Common Entrance exams this summer. They live in a fashionable corner of Sussex, where my man on the cocktail circuit says they haven't been seen out much lately, stoking suspicions he is in a sulk. I am happy to confirm he is not.

At last, some good news for Conrad Black. The disgraced former Telegraph proprietor has sold his white elephant of a villa on Palm Beach for £15m, more than twice what he paid for it in 1997. He and his wife Barbara Amiel have been struggling to flog the sprawling porticoed mansion for years, but finally secured a deal with a family from California on Thursday. Black, who has served two years of a six-and-a-half-year sentence, is currently out of prison on $2m bail awaiting resentencing next month. A condition of his release is that he can't return to Canada while on bail, though once he is sentenced it's possible he may be ordered to leave America. Here's hoping they come back to Britain.

As a graduate of art history, the Duchess of Cambridge will be well up on her iconography. So what did she make of the Bishop of London's allusion to the patient and encouraging Saint Catherine of Siena in his sermon? While the royal wedding did indeed fall on St Catherine's feast day, 29 April is hallowed because Catherine died on that date, at the age of 33, after a long and mysterious illness. As with many saints, there's a gruesome tale attached to her demise: her head was removed from her body and smuggled from Rome to Siena, a story popular with 15th-century painters. The young couple already have Diana haunting their marriage; they don't need any more ghosts.

What next for Paul Mealor? Until last week he was a relatively unheard of composer from North Wales. Now, after the royal couple chose his setting of "Ubi Caritas" as an anthem at their wedding, he's likely to find himself propelled into classical music stardom. This was what happened to John Tavener, who was also quite obscure until his "Song for Athene" was sung at Diana's funeral in 1997. He went on to win a Mercury music prize nomination that year, along with the Spice Girls and Primal Scream. Music critic Michael White says Mealor's piece is "not terribly original, but well put together and effective". He also points out that "Crimond", the tune most often used for Psalm 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd...", has not been around for ever, as many assume, but was a little-known Scottish melody until the Queen had it at her wedding in 1947. Expect to hear the name Paul Mealor a lot more.

Kate Bush has given a rare interview to mark the release of her new album, Director's Cut. But she managed to give so little away in yesterday's Times that the piece ended up revealing more about the interviewer than the interviewee. Will Hodgkinson, brother of our columnist Tom, landed the scoop, but could only squeeze out a couple of lines about the album before she wound things up. Still, it made a good read, not least as we learnt how, aged 7, Will became spellbound by the kooky warbler: "An extremely beautiful, witch-like woman appeared, staring directly out of the television and, seemingly, straight at me. With her wild, possessed eyes, halo of raven-black hair, heart-shaped face and cat-like voice, she was like nothing seen or heard before. She was scary, yet confusingly, compellingly sexy." Calm down, dear!

Is Alan Rusbridger hoping for a knighthood? I only ask because The Guardian, traditionally a republican newspaper, seemed to forget itself with its wall-to-wall coverage of the royal wedding. This wouldn't be so ludicrous had the paper not announced on 1 April that it was putting away the cynicism and "hair-shirt tendency of the left" by marking the royal wedding with a live blog. Apart from the gags about "recalling correspondents from north Africa... to focus on palace matters" and producing "attractive commemorative crockery", it turns out it wasn't an April fool after all.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Marketing Manager

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

Accounts Assistant, Hammersmith

£25000 per annum: Charter Selection: Exciting sports company with a strong bra...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Brazil fans are devastated while watching the first half on Copacabana Beach during the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final match between Brazil and Germany on July 8, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winner advances to the final at the famed Maracana stadium.  

The response to Brazil's defeat has been a surreal exploration of loss and tragedy

Timothy Kennett
The Daily Prophet newspaper - closer to fact than fiction?  

The response to the new Harry Potter story by the muggle media is fantastically ironic

Anna Leszkiewicz
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil