Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary

One eye on the Moon, the other on the stars

Share

What is the point of Mihir Bose, the BBC's sports editor? This is the question many viewers have been asking since watching his interview with Real Madrid honcho Florentino Perez, conducted at great expense but eliciting almost no new information.

A mere 16 seconds of the interview was used on BBC News, but Bose's blog about it drew scathing comments. "Nowhere in the article does it say anything of interest to anyone," says one. "It seems that again the BBC have gone on holiday and used the public money for it," adds another. Bose's visit to Madrid follows an excursion to Munich by Newsnight economics editor Stephanie Flanders, after the question of whether Britain and Germany can become more alike popped into her head. But a BBC spokesman defends Bose: "This was the first sit-down interview with Fernando Perez since his return to president of Real Madrid. It covered a range of areas including the speculation about the Real Madrid debt... Mihir was in Madrid for one night, with one cameraman, and he also covered a story about Madrid bidding for the 2016 Olympics. Value for money is always taken into consideration."

***

Conductor Sir Edward Downes had a close association with the Royal Opera House stretching over more than half a century, but you wouldn't have known it had you been there on Tuesday night. News of his joint suicide with his wife in Switzerland was given wall-to-wall coverage by the BBC, with whose Philharmonic Orchestra he also worked closely, but it was quite a different story at Covent Garden. Audience members for that evening's performance of Tosca were astonished that no mention was made of Sir Edward's death, not least as he was an expert on Verdi and had conducted Tosca there. "We are arranging something linked to Verdi for Edward Downes in the future," says a spokesman. "We were still taking in the information on Tuesday." In your own time, chaps.

***

Much intrigue surrounds the shock defection of crabby colonial author V S Naipaul from his agent Gillon Aitken to Andrew "the Jackal" Wylie. "Gillon and V S were really close friends, so it is much more than just a professional rift," whispers one friend. The separation is believed to have been caused by Wylie, who would have lured Naipaul away from Aitken with the promise of more money and glory. While Wylie is famed for his ruthless business sense, a recent biography of Naipaul claimed he was equally hard-headed, keeping a mistress for 24 years whom he then refused to marry when his wife died, opting for a third woman. Wylie was once a business partner of Aitken's, who acted as a kind of mentor when they ran the agency Aitken, Stone and Wylie. All this has left Aitken feeling doubly betrayed, I'm told, although an associate says he isn't the energetic agent he once was. At least he didn't seem to have enough energy to return my call.

***

It's hard enough for MPs to work out their loyalties in Westminster, but Ed Balls has the added headache of divided loyalties among his constituents. As his constituency of Normanton has been abolished, he will be running for nearby Morley and Outwood at the next election. But it hasn't taken Ballsy too long to work out where his priority lies – with the next lot, of course! Prospective voters in Morley have been invited to Ed's Fajita Fling this Friday, a jolly soirée at the Labour Rooms with free food and drink. The invitation shows Ed's already got himself an address in the constituency, whose incumbent MP Colin Challen has been gracefully elbowed out the way to assist Balls's unstoppable ascent. His loyal wife and neighbouring MP, Yvette Cooper, below, will doubtless be there, but the poor folk of Normanton are already but a distant memory.

***

Those green shoots Baroness Vadera once spoke of finally sprouted last week when JP Chase Morgan, the US banking giant, announced profits of £1.6bn for the second quarter. "It was a truly positive surprise which does away with the question of whether we actually have reached the end of the crisis," said one happy soul. Trebles all round then, not least chez Blair, where Cherie is getting over swine flu. One of Tony's many jobs is in a "senior advisory role" at JP Morgan, salary not unadjacent to £2m a year. Kerching!

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

Recruitment Genius: Industrial Gas Burner Engineer

£26000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Industrial Gas Burner Engine...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Inside Sales Manager - Accountancy Software - £80,000 OTE

£50000 - £60000 per annum + £80,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Sou...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - BIM Software - £55,000 OTE

£40000 per annum + OTE £55,000 +Pension : h2 Recruit Ltd: An excellent opportu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
More vegetarian and vegan options are now available for consumers  

The stereotypes around vegetarians and vegans must stop: I've never worn tie-dye, I'm not weak, and I can't stand Morrissey

Liz Cookman
 

You wouldn't give your child untested medicine, so why would you give them an untested education?

Oliver Wright
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital