Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (27/02/11)

Born on a red carpet

Related Topics

The Prince of Wales is taking no risks with the music for the Royal Wedding. While there is no guarantee that the 1,900 guests assembled at Westminster Abbey on 29 April will know their way around the English Hymnal, the resident choir, for whom such occasions are standard – and lucrative – fare, is to be augmented by the chorus of Welsh National Opera and the Bach Choir. The prince is patron of both organisations. And he has alighted upon the Parry anthem Blest Pair of Sirens as fitting for the union. But the poet John Milton's line "Singing everlastingly" has taken on a new meaning. The entire massed choir has been summoned by royal command to perform the wedding music to the couple in private at the Abbey, two weeks before the ceremony, so that William and Kate can decide if they like what they hear. It is not clear exactly what will happen if they don't. Perhaps Princess Diana's favourites, Duran Duran, on tour in the spring, are on standby. We can leave aside the cost of booking some of the best singers in the country for the royal run-through of the austerity wedding music – for obviously the prince expects to pay, doesn't he? But you do wonder if they've heard of iPods at Clarence House.

It was with spectacularly bad timing, a couple of weeks ago, that Hammersmith and Fulham Council announced plans to close its borough archives, making two experienced archivists redundant as of tomorrow. For it came just as the finishing touches were being made to the country's biggest genealogy fair, Who Do You Think You Are? Live, which has been running at Olympia all this weekend, in H&F's own backyard. The announcement was – inevitably – greeted with wails of despair from local writers and historians, who say the archive is an essential resource for their researches. The clamour has reached such a pitch that the council has now performed a partial U-turn, and the archive may live to see another day, although it seems a bit odd that the archivists are still going, since they were due to retire in May anyway.

Terence Conran is aghast that the Design Museum will lose 65 per cent of its funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport over the next four years. The über-trendy museum was set up in a Conran-designed former banana warehouse near Tower Bridge in the 1980s, and has been his baby ever since. Despite that, the museum plans to move to premises three times bigger in Kensington, the former Commonwealth Institute building, at a cost of many millions. "We need the space," says spokesman. "We've got a fantastic permanent collection that is currently in storage." The question now is, what will become of the iconic building they're leaving? Needless to say, Conran will be getting involved in the refurbishment of the new home, which is expected to cost some £20m. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already awarded £300,000. Good to see there's still plenty of cash sloshing round for projects of vital importance.

Anne Robinson is due to reveal all to Mark Lawson in an interview on BBC4 tomorrow. A preview shows The Weakest Link presenter saying she despairs of "women in the workplace who don't accept that it can be a treacherous place and so don't handle themselves well". Robinson knows a thing or two about tough workplaces: she was the first female trainee reporter on the Daily Mail, where she fell in love with the deputy news editor, Charles Wilson, who had to fire her when they got married. Robinson bounced back, joining The Sunday Times where she then hit the bottle. Robinson says she wants to give classes to women on how to handle themselves in the office. Watch out!

A Russian electrician called Dmitry Stalin is upset because he was barred from running as a political candidate in Siberia, because of his name. Stalin, no relation to Joseph, is a candidate for the A Just Russia party but won't be allowed to stand in the 13 March election, unless he changes his name. Electoral bureaucrats are worried his name might cause confusion among voters. What could he change his name to? One wag suggests "Putin".

When Madonna said Guy Ritchie was "emotionally retarded", Emma Thompson agreed, saying British men were a bit stuffy. Now the Nanny McPhee actress has revealed she doesn't think much of Ritchie as a film director either. Thompson made the swipe at a party on Thursday to launch The Idler Academy, a bookshop and hang-out for literary types founded by my colleague Tom Hodgkinson. Thompson was overheard dispensing advice to an aspiring film-maker, when she said: "Danny Boyle is a great director; Guy Ritchie is not."

React Now

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

Head of IT (Not-for-Profit sector) - Lewes / Brighton

£45000 - £50000 per annum + 5 weeks holiday & benefits: Ashdown Group: Head of...

PE Graduate?

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Are you a PE graduate looking for a ...

Primary Teacher

£90 - £135 per day + travel expenses: Randstad Education Newcastle: Key Stage ...

Humanities Teacher

£100 - £150 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Permanent Teacher of Humaniti...

Day In a Page

Read Next
High and mighty: Edinburgh Castle and city skyline  

i Editor's Letter: We're coming to Edinburgh

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Members of the community farming group at work in their community fields near the town of Masi Manimba, Bandundu Province, DRC.  

The five biggest myths surrounding overseas aid

Billy Hill
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?