Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary

First-footing every day of the year

Share

It's small fry compared with the billions he made off with, but victims of Bernard Madoff looking to seize some assets may want to head down to Port Galice in Antibes, where I gather his yacht is currently moored. The pristine, white, 27-metre Leopard cruiser, built by top shipbuilder Arno, has been spotted tucked alongside a Sunseeker in the fashionable French port. Registered in Georgetown, Washington, it is called 'Bull', curiously the same name Madoff gave his first yacht, a 55ft fishing boat he bought in 1977. Although fully staffed, his current yacht might be easier to seize than his villa up the road, which is, in any case, registered under his wife Ruth's name.

A mystery of social networking sites is why the threshold for friendship is so much lower than in the real world. So Conservative strategists should be seriously worried that their £500,000 campaign to build an army of 'friends' has drawn only one friend on one of their targeted sites. The Tories had heralded their online campaign as "groundbreaking", as they seek to emulate Barack Obama's highly effective use of the web to generate support, but the figures suggest otherwise. There are only two members of the Conservatives' group on iVillage, one of which is the party itself. iVillage is supposedly aimed at women, a sector the Tories are especially keen to attract. Especially depressing then that their single friend on iVillage is a Mr Jason Smith.

Jonathan Ross's elder brother, Paul, has become an unlikely source of amusement while Wossy is banned from our screens. A giant photo of the lesser-known Ross – a former presenter of daytime gameshow 'No Win No Fee' – printed on a 20in canvas and available on Amazon for a mere £48.93, has become the subject of an internet craze in which viewers leave absurdly effusive reviews. The picture – which its manufacturers boast has been "professionally stretched" – has drawn 95 reviews so far, including the pithy: "If you only buy one 20in canvas print of Paul Ross this year, this is the one to get." As another concludes: "All my heart desires now is a tennis racquet cover adorned with the face of Fenella Fudge off of Radio 2. Here's hoping!"

It's not the first time Harold Pinter has died. When the playwright was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, viewers of Sky News were alarmed to be told he had passed away. Presenter Ginny Buckley, who has since left to join the BBC, misheard the voice shrieking down her earpiece and announced the playwright's death to the nation. She later apologised "for any upset caused", and producers are now especially careful to annunciate the word "prize" not to sound like "dies".

As a punk legend Hugh Cornwell is no stranger to sticking two fingers up at authority. But the former Stranglers front man has found a new way to wind up his local council in Wiltshire, who are furious that the first track of his new album is called 'Please Don't Put Me on a Slow Boat to Trowbridge'. Cornwell, who has a house in a neighbouring village, says he wrote the song after frequently getting stuck in the town's one-way system. But Trowbridge's mayor is incensed: "Maybe he should park his car and come in by bus if he doesn't like the traffic," snorts Cllr John Knight. Another councillor, Glyn Bridges, suspects darker motives: "Maybe it's a class thing – Trowbridge is an easy target but as far as I'm concerned it's a great town."

Is Lord Bath slowing down? The priapic chatelain of Longleat is renowned for his depthless reserves of energy, evidenced by the unusual domestic arrangement of having several "wifelets" living in various cottages on his estate. But his Christmas card this year bears a drawing of the 76-year-old in a wheelchair, with a dachshund on his lap, and no wifelets in sight. For years Lord Bath has designed his own card, but friends are alarmed by this year's geriatric theme, printed on yellowing paper. With so many potential claimants to the Longleat millions, here's to Alex staying in good health for plenty more years to come.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

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

Marketing Manager - Central London - £45,000-£55,000 + bonus

£45000 - £55000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: The focus of this is to deve...

Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: architecture, suitcases and ‘pathetic figures’

John Rentoul
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading

Robert Fisk
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape