Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (11/12/11)

Ladies dancing, lords a-leaping...


Is Elle Macpherson planning to pose naked for Playboy? I'm told the 47-year-old supermodel, nicknamed The Body, has agreed to appear on the cover of the top-shelf magazine for the second time in her career.

Her last appearance was in 1994, when she was pictured wearing nothing but a pair of tights. In an interview last month, she explained how, after appearing naked in the film Sirens, opposite Hugh Grant, the press began a hunt for more naked pictures of her. "I said, 'OK, you want naked? I'll give you naked – but on my terms,'" and phoned the photographer Herb Ritts. She bought her mother a house with her fee. But why she should choose to repeat the exercise now is unclear. Forbes estimates her fortune at £38m, and she hardly needs to raise her profile, being snapped every time she takes her kids to school in Notting Hill. Her publicist declined to comment.

Rubber-lipped actor Martin Clunes plays a hopeless GP in the ITV drama Doc Martin. But viewers of the fifth series are wondering if he's taking the hopelessness a bit far. His character now has a baby, which he is often seen lugging around (several tots are used), but viewers are worried he is not carrying his son correctly. "The little ones' heads were bounced all over the place and their necks were not supported at all," writes Canadian viewer Shelley, on a website. Having watched a few episodes, I see what she means.

Andrew Marr was forced to drop his superinjunction in April, after realising the absurdity of gagging journalists while being one himself. But it's still one rule for him and another for the rest of us. The £600,000 per year BBC presenter is a member of the London Library, the prestigious subscription library in St James's Square, which numbers Tom Stoppard and Sebastian Faulks among its members. The library has a strict policy that laptops may only be used in certain reading rooms. But last week, Marr chose to ignore the rules, to the outrage of other readers. Worse, library staff chose not to upbraid him. One readers tells me he plans to complain. "Library staff ought to be bringing malefactors into line," he harrumphs. "Even Jeremy Paxman uses his computer in the rooms designated for computer use."

Kate Bush has always valued her privacy, living for years on a remote peninsula in Devon. But a new book by rock fan David Roberts gives specific details about her home, including the road and a description of the house's entrance. It's just one of a number of alarming indiscretions in Rock Atlas, a glossily illustrated book promising music fans and stalkers information about 650 "great music locations". Among those whose private homes are listed are Elton John, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart. The small print on the copyright page says: "Where locations are private residences, we particularly ask all readers to respect absolutely the privacy of those who live there". That'll help, then.

Bloomsbury founder Nigel Newton is the man who brought us Harry Potter; the San Francisco-born publisher signed up J K Rowling on his daughter's recommendation. No regrets there, but with all the distractions that followed, Newton never had the opportunity to pursue a venture he dreamt of – launching a literary salon in Bloomsbury. Until now. In January, he launches the Bloomsbury Institute, a programme of literary talks and events to be held at his firm's magnificent new offices in Bedford Square, the best Georgian square in London. Unfortunately for Newton, he was beaten to it by his rivals: Faber launched its Academy in 2008 in nearby Queen Square. However, Newton has lured top writers, including William Boyd and Nadine Gordimer, below, to speak. "We are aiming to reignite the tradition of literary salon culture in Bloomsbury." It's just a shame Faber got there first.

The New Yorker is famous for never making mistakes. The upmarket weekly employs an army of fact-checkers to make sure everything is right, even poring over the scrawled notes of their critics when necessary. So what's this? In the latest edition, film critic Anthony Lane makes a boo-boo that anyone who has seen the new adaptation of John Le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will know is wrong. He says that Gary Oldman's Smiley "keeps in shape with regular dips in the river", when it clearly shows the ponds at Hampstead Heath. This is especially unforgivable since Lane is British; he lives in Cambridge. He once wrote for this newspaper, though I'm sure he never made any mistakes back then.

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