Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (07/02/10)

All accelerator and no brakes

Related Topics

It has been chilly in Milan, but now Anna "Nuclear" Wintour, US editor of
Vogue, has single-handedly halved this month's fashion week by announcing she will stay only three days. Top designers including Armani and Versace, desperate for her to see their wares, have quickly rescheduled their shows for her short visit, and now organisers are furious. "We prepared a great schedule and now, thanks to La Wintour, it'll effectively be cut in half," says Mario Boselli, president of the Italian National Chamber of Fashion. "There's a lack of respect." The move has fuelled suspicion Wintour is less keen on the Italian fashion houses, sparked by a cover story, "The Magnificent Seven", which included only one Italian name, Prada – supposedly the devil's preferred label.

Since Lucian Freud's hideous painting of the Queen, royal portraits have been a thorny subject. Now Prince Harry has complained that his hair is too ginger in the new picture of him with Prince William unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery last month. He also jokingly accuses painter Nicky Philipps of giving William more hair than he actually has. But Philipps begs to differ: "If you look carefully, there is a particular flesh-coloured stroke which refers to this problem," she tells me. "I don't set out to misrepresent people." Philipps landed the job via Fine Art Commissions two years ago, and in her defence says she completed William in autumn 2008. "Quite a lot may have changed since then," she quips. As for Harry's hair, it is not ginger so much as auburn, she says, "a combination of raw and burnt sienna". Music to his ears, I'm sure.

Young literary types were puzzled to find the new England captain Rio Ferdinand at a party to launch Philip Womack's second children's book, The Liberators, on Thursday. After looking in at a party at Tyrone Wood's Mayfair gallery, Ferdinand headed on to Willa's nightclub off Regent Street, where the jeunesse dorée were celebrating. It must have made a change from the sirens of Elysium, where Vanessa Perroncel once worked, and with only a minder for company, Ferdinand cut a lonesome figure. But before long he was deep in conversation with a brainy beauty, discussing "sexual theory". It proved a fruitful chat, as she enlightened him on the works of Doctor Freud. Who needs Elysium?

Eagle-eyed viewers of EastEnders have been left scratching their heads after spotting Archie Mitchell standing at the back of his own funeral. Archie's murder on Christmas Day – he was bludgeoned, quaintly, with a bust of Queen Victoria – has been the source of much excitement but maybe he's not as dead as we thought. A BBC spokesman explains: "It's true that he was there. Sadly we can't claim it was a sophisticated Hitchcockian joke. Larry just happened to be on set that day and joined in as an extra." We know budgets are tight but this is ridiculous.

Highbrow American novelist Paul Auster may never write again unless an impending crisis is resolved. The typewriter on which he has battered out all his books including his popular New York Trilogy is on its last legs and he can't find a repairman in the whole of New York City. Speaking at the new branch of Barnes and Noble on the Upper East Side, Auster begged the audience for help. "I don't know what to do, I've been trying to find a typewriter repairman for ages. Of the two numbers in the phone book one no longer exists and the other never answers." What about a computer? Auster has written all his work on the same 50-year old Olympic portable he bought second hand for $40 in 1974. "I can't use a normal keyboard," he explained. "The lack of resistance annoys me."

Lady Antonia Fraser narrowly avoided legal action from writer Duncan Fallowell over a mention of him in her new book about Harold Pinter. In a hand-written letter, she promises to remove the offending line from future editions. No frostiness at the gym Fraser and Fallowell share, then: "I see her in the Jacuzzi, bubbling away in a mob cap most afternoons."

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot