Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (26/09/10)

Too powerful for Forbes

Share
Related Topics

Maggie Smith Peter Hall, Charles Dance, Penelope Wilton – it would be quicker to say who wasn't there – were among the luvvies at the opening night of Krapp's Last Tape. But by the time everyone had tried to be the last one in, the play was more than 10 minutes behind schedule, and the critics were getting bored. One, thought to be from the Daily Express, began shouting "come on!" and "get on wivvit!" and a slow handclap broke out. Afterwards, with everyone posing to be snapped, it took just as long to leave. Since Beckett's surrealist masterpiece only lasts 50 minutes, could this be the first known occasion of a play taking longer to arrive at and leave than to watch?

Nicholas Parsons, the lovable voice of Just a Minute, can't charm everyone he meets. In his catchily titled new book, With Just a Touch of Hesitation, Repetition and Deviation: My Life in Comedy, he recalls asking a member of the public for a lift during the Edinburgh Festival in August. "'Could you be very kind?' I said. 'My taxi didn't arrive, and I am due on stage in 10 minutes. Would you be really generous and give me a lift up the hill?' He looked at me intently and said, 'Are you one of those celebrities?' I said, 'Yes, I suppose you could call me that.' 'Well,' he said, 'there are too many of you bastards in the city at this time of year' – and sped off."

Can we ever trust the internet again? As TripAdvisor faces legal action over bogus reviews, news reaches me that someone has been going round the web pretending to be, er, Theresa May. A woman in the Home Secretary's constituency of Maidenhead thought she might have more success scuppering a proposal to build a takeaway if she posed as May. She lodged the phoney objection with the council, which posted her comments on the online planning portal. They were taken down before a decision was made, but the incident has alarmed councillors welcoming online comments from the public. May has expressed concern, though a spokesman sniffed that it was "fairly obvious" the comments weren't hers.

Stan Madeley is the Henry Root de nos jours, having written bogus letters to dozens of unwitting celebrities and organisations. A compilation of his greatest hits reveals the Daily Mail's splendid "Answers to correspondents" section – the page that invites readers to answer difficult questions – was among his victims. Madeley's response to the question, "What is the fate of the nation's liposuction fat?", is vintage: "My wife Sandra has run a liposuction clinic for 25 years. In the early days I was involved in the disposal of the fat... we would often sell liposuction fat as a heavy lubricant for marine use. Nautical friends claimed that human fat was the best way to grease their prop shafts. We have also sold our fat for the manufacture of bowler hats and as an ingredient in loam."

Red faces at the BBC website, after editors were forced to repost a video from its Athens correspondent, Malcolm Brabant, having removed it after receiving complaints from Greek government supporters. Martin Bell has weighed in to condemn the BBC's spinelessness in not sticking up for its foreign correspondents. The footage showed demonstrators at a rally throwing shoes, but was claimed to have been faked. Shoe-throwing is a sensitive issue in Greece. So perhaps it wasn't a good idea to make Christos Papoutsis home secretary – papoutsis means shoemaker in Greek.

Dragons' Den is so over, at least according to one leading businesswoman. Michelle Mone, owner of Ultimo bras, the biggest knicker firm in Britain, once turned down a chance to be on the show's panel because she was not rich enough. But now that she has the readies she's lost interest. "I was asked to join way back in the first series," she says, "but back then I didn't have the sort of money you need to invest. But it's lost its sparkle. It needs a complete overhaul. It needs to recreate itself." Besides, she adds, she doesn't much rate the other panellists except Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones.

Another day, another launch of a pointless magazine. The latest comes from an unlikely source, Eric Pickles, one of our favourite Tories. It's called Elected and is all about how to "share best practice and innovation", a sort of how-to guide for anyone spending public money, or how-not-to these days. It sounds suspiciously like one of those money-wasting council magazines that the Tories are supposed to be clamping down on, and is owned by something called the Social Equity Group. Uh-oh, don't say it's publicly funded? "No, we're a private venture," says a spokesman, reassuringly. "It's a business like anything else. We're just trying to do some good." Phew!

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

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum