Matthew Bell: The IoS diary

Share

Good news for Lord Archer's son James, who has just been given the green light by Westminster council for a mega-development of six vast houses in Bayswater. An application by Target Living, the company jointly owned by Archer and his wife, Tara Bernerd, to convert what is currently a hotel back into five grand townhouses and three flats was granted on the condition they bung the council £300,000 towards "environmental improvements" in the area. A big bung you might think, but cheaper than the alternative: because of the size of the development, it could be subject to Policy H4, requiring the provision of affordable housing. In theory the hotel could generate 18 dwellings, rather than eight. But that policy is only discretionary, and Thursday's committee generously decided to waive it in return for the cash. Carry on!

* The High Court was told by News of the Screws hack Neville Thurlbeck that footage of Max Mosley's orgy was needed for them to prove the story. And he should know. Author Peter Burden tells the story of how, a few years ago, Thurlbeck was sent to investigate a naturists' boarding house in Essex whose owners allegedly offered "extras" to guests. Once he had finished his interview, it seems Thurlbeck thought he might as well take advantage of the situation, and begged the couple to be serviced himself, eventually enjoying what Burden describes as "an unmistakable act of Onanism". Unfortunately for Thurlbeck, the incident was recorded on camera and made its way on to the internet, much to the delight of Thurlbeck's colleagues back at the Screws. Apparently they know him as Neville "Onan the Barbarian" Thurlbeck.

The top lot at Labour's fundraising auction on Thursday was a tennis match with Tony Blair, although in the event an original artwork by Antony Gormley fetched more money. But who will Tony be up against? It may be with some relief that he learns the winning bidder was a woman, Penny McDonald, managing director of the Outside Organisation. But friends of McDonald, who is 6ft and whose clients include Sir Paul McCartney and Amy Winehouse, say she is a formidable presence on court. I look forward to reporting back on the result.

Residents of the Vatican have no shortage of visual stimulation, but now for the first time are being treated to a musical, based on – what else? – the life of the Virgin Mary (the other Madonna). I gather the Pope has given his blessing to the production, which stars a former Miss Italy contestant, Alma Manera, in the lead role. I only hope His Holiness does not interest himself too much in the back catalogue of the composer, Stelvio Cipriani. His previous works includes scores for the soft-porn B-movie 'Sex and the Devil', and that other classic of the 1970s sexploitation genre, 'Black Orgasm'.

I'm told Israeli TV commentators have been making merry with the name "Condoleezza Rice", which in colloquial Hebrew has come to mean "turn round and round without achieving anything". Rice just made her 22nd trip to Israel, and the wall is still up and the territories still occupied. They may have a point.

North London neighbours Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais have picked up on the plight of a missing dog on Hampstead Heath, each pledging £1,000 to match its owner's £1,000 reward for the dog's return. Manon, a whippet, was being walked by its now ex-dog walker when she went missing. She was spotted on the heath but couldn't be caught and has now disappeared. The pooch's owner claims she has been stolen, in what is known as a brown-collar crime.

Poor old Anne Robinson. Not only has she had to shell out £20m to her ex-husband John Penrose, but she's also lost her driving licence. You might have thought the reformed alcoholic had put her wild ways behind her. You certainly would had you watched her in "Star in a reasonably priced car", a feature on 'Top Gear' in which celebrities do a lap of a circuit in a banger. Robinson's time of 1 minute 57 seconds is one of the slowest times in the league table, down at the bottom with Terry Wogan and the late Richard Whiteley.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The economics of the stock market is simple really: buy and hold

Ben Chu
Jeb Bush's campaign will emphasise both his conservative record as a former governor of Florida and his commitment to building a more inclusive Republican Party  

American democracy is up for sale, and it’s a warning to us all

Shirley Williams
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border