Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary

Even fresher than the Cabinet


She may be fifth in line to the throne, but Princess Beatrice is as thrifty as the average penniless student. The eldest daughter of Prince Andrew, who is reading history at Goldsmiths College, London, is a regular drinker at a favourite student watering-hole in New Cross, just outside the campus. When the pub landlord was raising money for a 10k marathon last month, Beatrice was among those who coughed up a couple of quid. In fact that was precisely how much she gave – signing herself "Daisy", she gave him £2 towards his run. "Bea was having a drink with some mates as she sometimes does," says one fellow drinker, "Of course she's always got her minders, but they're very good at blending in. After she signed the sponsor sheet, one of them went over to thank the landlord for treating her like any other student. He thought the minder was her history tutor."

Stephen Fry, Martin Amis and Ricky Gervais are among a host of celebrities who have rallied behind Simon Singh, the science writer being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. They say Singh should be at liberty to question the merits of chiropractic without fear of legal action. But how did the statement of support come to have so disparate a list of so many top people, ranging from Richard Dawkins to Harry Hill? Someone with an impressive contacts book must be behind it. Step forward Peter Florence, the actor and founder of the Hay festival. Florence sent an email to everyone who has spoken at the festival asking them to lend their support, thoughtfully bcc-ing their email addresses to protect their identity. Quite a powerful little network.

The jostling has begun once again for the coveted Oxford Professorship of Poetry, after Ruth Padel stood down within days of her election. Stephen Moss, a Guardian hack, is tossing his beret into the ring, and a few other scribes are thought to be dusting down their portfolios. But one heavyweight who will not put himself forward, contrary to what he told an interviewer, is Clive James. Last month James said it was the only job he wanted, but now he has ruled himself out to friends. "He doesn't want to engage in this sort of schoolboy bunfighting," says one.

From playing Miss Brahms in Are You Being Served? to Pauline in EastEnders, Wendy Richard had a distinguished screen career. Now the actress, who lost a long battle with breast cancer earlier this year, is to be permanently commemorated by a blue plaque. The Heritage Foundation plans to erect the monument at her former home, a converted pub in Mayfair. The foundation's president, the former Bee Gee Robin Gibb, will be among a galaxy of showbiz stars attending the ceremony at the Shepherd Tavern, Hertford Street, next month, to be followed by a lunch in celebration of her life at the Millennium hotel.

The new poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy drew a big crowd at last weekend's Wychwood Festival in Cheltenham, sponsored by The Independent. But while she read a selection of poems, the folk band Bellowhead – who pride themselves on their uplifting cacophony of sound – struck up nearby, forcing Duffy to turn into a bellowhead herself. Not all her audience objected though: "I had wanted to see Bellowhead as well," says one, "this way I could take them both in!"

Hats off to Sol Campbell for announcing his engagement to the Barratt Homes heiress Fiona Barratt, but has the England defender let himself in for more that he expected? Residents of Barratt's home village on the North York Moors have seized the opportunity to write to Campbell, asking him to help out the ailing local football team. As he is now likely to spend more time in the picturesque valley of Farndale, bought by Fiona's grandfather, Sir Lawrie Barratt, in 1982, they figured he could lend a hand. "We couldn't offer Sol much, but perhaps Sir Lawrie might like to chip in," grumbles one local. "The pitch, which is on a tenant farmer's field, is a bit like Epsom – but I'm told they have some very good rollers these days."

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
Andreas Lubitz runs the Airport Race half marathon in Hamburg on 13 September 2009  

Being sensitive to mental health need not lead us to downplay the horror of what Lubitz did

Will Gore
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing