Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (16/01/11)

Needs no alarm clock

Share
Related Topics

Is it time Downing Street had a quiet word with Michael Gove about his wife's columns in The Times? Journalist Sarah Vine, wife of the Education Secretary, is singularly failing to transmit the message that we're all in this together. Last week, she piled into the great marmalade debate by revealing that she's a fan of Harrods' Glitterati Orange and Lime, which contains edible glitter and is priced at a ludicrous £8.95 per jar. "It's such fun — and it tastes good too," she trilled. So addicted to marmalade is Vine, she once got Paul McKenna to hypnotise her to quit. Perhaps it's time someone woke Lady Marmalade up.

The Hungarians have taken over presidency of the EU to a rather wobbly start. First they struggled to defend a controversial new law on press freedom, which observers say is basically state-sanctioned gagging. Then there was a hoo-ha over a carpet installed in Brussels, which features a "nationalist" map of Greater Hungary from 1848, when it governed large swathes of Slovakia and Romania. So, everyone will be hoping tonight's concert by the Budapest Festival Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, attended by Ed Vaizey and various Euro bigwigs, will soothe some brows. The evening begins calmly enough with Haydn's "Oxford" symphony, but is followed by Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, the high point of which is a portrayal of a sudden and violent storm. Also on the bill is the explosive Piano Concerto No 1 by Liszt. In the audience will be Hungary's president, Pal Schmitt, a former Olympic medallist – in fencing. All in all, it promises to be a muscular evening....

Hats off to Vanessa Feltz for her impressive work ethic: she plans to carry on hosting her mid-morning (but pre-recorded) The Vanessa Show on Channel Five, despite doing a live show daily on BBC Radio London, and taking over the dawn slot on Radio 2 as of tomorrow. The operatic broadcaster has seen off plenty of jealous rivals and unkind comments about her weight over the years. On the radio last week, she said Eamonn Holmes had remarked that her TV career would come to an end with the arrival of HD TV, which cruelly exposes every wrinkle. We suspect he was joking, though he of all people should be wary of such jokes: last year, he consulted lawyers after a BBC sketch show poked fun at his weight.

For sale: one literary festival. Lillian Avon, the energetic founder of the Bournemouth Literary Festival, has put it on the market. Quite what you get for your money is unclear, but Avon says she wants to "move on to other personal projects". Cynics may see it as the work of an impressive operator, who only created the festival in 2005, but you have to admire her dynamism. In 2007, she prompted some loosening of collars in the seaside resort, staging an erotic fiction workshop and proclaiming Bournemouth's "stuffy" image to be a thing of the past. Where would be we without our Lillians?

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice stopped giving money to the Tories four years ago, when he realised he was "unloved" by them. In a mournful piece in The Spectator, he wrote that "Dave and his young, dynamic, thrusting team ... couldn't give a stuff what I think". Now, though, it might be time for a rapprochement. Yesterday, he fired off a letter to The Times, pointing out that the coalition did rather well in the Oldham by-election. "The Labour Party polled 14,718 votes and the coalition parties 15,641. 'Winner' Debbie Abrahams says this is a wake-up call for the coalition. Why?" Time to bring Sir Lion King back into the fold?

While London audiences marvel at Cirque du Soleil's latestheart-in-mouth acrobatics, council officials in King's Lynn have been furiously arm-crossing and tut-tutting as another circus comes to town. Apparently, the Circus of Horrors has been told to scrap one of its acts, because it involves smoking on stage. Performers are astonished at the council's selective health and safety anxieties, given that other acts in the show involve a sword-swallower swallowing a revolving electric drill, a person pumping 300,000 volts through his body, several fire-eaters and trapeze artists, and a dwarf who pulls a vacuum cleaner with his penis.

News that an Indian airline has placed a multibillion-pound order for a record 180 planes from European manufacturer Airbus is being cheered as a triumph for Carla Bruni. Her visit to India with Sarko last year is said to be what clinched it. One insider reports that a French diplomat commented, "If this deal had hung on Sarkozy's 2007 visit to Delhi, it would never have happened." Ah, if only Kate Middleton had been sitting in on those Fifa meetings.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before