Matthew Bell: The <i>IoS</i> diary

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The Independent Online

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an alumnus of King's College London, is already familiar to students who graduate with lower second-class degrees – what's known as getting a "Desmond". Now he is making an even greater bid for street credibility by recording a rap. His gangster-inspired ditty is part of 'The Cry', a requiem composed by Adrian Snell, to be premiered at a fund-raising event for Save the Children at St Paul's Cathedral on 16 November. "It was a humbling experience," says the Archbishop, "I'm delighted to be involved as a rapper for the premier of 'The Cry'." I gather the words he recorded are those of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Presumably they will be accompanied by a phat beat. Westside!

The late gardening writer Christopher Lloyd, famous for his garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex, was a much-loved figure and an inspiration to many. Not least to his neighbour and fellow scribe Sarah Raven, it seems. The BBC TV gardener, bulb website entrepreneur and wife of writer Adam Nicholson, appears to be more than a little indebted to Lloyd in her new brochure, 'Sarah Raven's Kitchen and Garden'. Exhibit one: the back cover features a large photo of orange Ballerina tulips highlighted against euphorbia foliage. This striking image is almost exactly the same as a photograph on page 80 of Lloyd's book 'Gardening Year'. Exhibit two: of all the hundreds of tulips Raven could recommend for pots, she just happens to select for her Venetian Tulip Collection two, called Couleur Cardinal and Princess Irene. Turn to Lloyd's book and whadya know, we find that he, too, recommends pairing these two. Exhibit three: Raven's Oast Garden is an "extravagant mix of colour and structure – brilliantly coloured dahlias, camas and jungly banana foliage". Any similarity to Lloyd's "exotic garden", which has lots of the above all crammed together in similar fashion, must be entirely coincidental.

The London School of Economics has lined up a bevy of heavyweights for its autumn lecture series, including William Dalrymple, Niall Ferguson, Chris Patten, Jonathan Powell and Mark Malloch Brown. Rounding off the term will be alumna Cherie Blair, although, unlike the others, she won't be elucidating the undergraduates on matters of global significance, for Cherie will be plugging her memoirs, 'Speaking for Myself'. Graciously, she has agreed to waive her usual £17,000 fee. Attentive students will be listening out for tips on a career in law and the perils of forgetting one's contraceptive equipment.

After Nick Clegg's attempt to do a David Cameron, a delegate at the Lib Dem conference was overheard talking of the party's need to differentiate itself from both the Tories and Labour. "What we need is plenty of clear yellow water between us and them," she pronounced. Given the party's age profile and the sea of snowy heads in Bournemouth, it was, perhaps, an unfortunate choice of words.

Posters for 'Righteous Kill', a flick starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino as wizened New York cops, have begun popping up ahead of its release on Thursday. The gritty slogan reads: "There's nothing wrong with a little shooting as long as the right people get shot." Could it be entirely accidental that one of these has appeared outside Stockwell Tube station, where Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by Sir Ian Blair's men at the Met, just as an inquest into the killing kicks off tomorrow?

They've famously always had bad luck with the property market, but Tony and Cherie must be kicking themselves for splurging £4m on a country house as property prices continue to slide. What's more, had they waited a little longer, they could have done a deal with their friend and former Bee Gee Robin Gibb. I hear he plans to sell The Prebendal in Thame, his magnificent Oxfordshire home, as he spends much of his time on the Isle of Man. The Blairs have already spent many happy holidays at Gibbs's Miami beach house, so The Prebendal would have been a home from home.

In literary circles, über-agent Caroline Michel has earned herself a few soubriquets over the years. As the wife of Labour peer Matthew Evans, her correct title is Lady Evans. As an enthusiastic networker, she's Lady Gush. Her recent ball-busting management of troubled agency Peters Fraser and Dunlop has doubtless earned her many more. But at the launch party of Gavin Griffiths's book 'The Accidental Pornographer' at the Soho Review Bar last week, guests were given name tags bearing their name and their imagined porn name. Will La Michel now forever be known as Polly Blue?

m.bell@independent.co.uk

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