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

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Sir Peregrine Worsthorne is one journalist who sympathises with Nick Davies's book 'Flat Earth News' which claims the British press has gone to the dogs. "I agree with the book entirely," he tells me at the launch party in Soho. "Just look at the way the press has reacted to the Archbishop of Canterbury's perfectly sensible remarks. There's no longer any proper argument in the press. It's quite revealing that at a gathering of left-wing journalists all anyone talks about is the media. Journalism is now all about the shade not the substance. It's typical of the sort of backwater country we have become." Sir Peregrine was not accompanied by his wife, Lady Lucinda Lambton, who is unwell. "Poor Lucy, she's got what they used to call housemaid's knee."

A furious caller on BBC Radio Five Live responded to the Archbishop of Canterbury's sharia speech with the immortal words: "Jesus Christ would be turning in his grave!" Um, wasn't there once something about a resurrection?

If Rowan Williams does heed calls for his resignation, at least Gordon Brown won't have to appoint his successor. As soon as he became Prime Minister, Brown changed the procedure for the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury, removing the PM's duty of having to choose from a final shortlist of two. Now the Church's Crown Nominations Commission puts just one name forward, which the PM passes on to the Queen. As a PM who struggles to make decisions, full marks to Gordon for ducking them in advance.

With her flowing platinum hair and trim physique, Ann Widdecombe has successfully ditched her image as a battle-axe. But alas, news emerges of a temporary relapse. Two young journalists were interviewing Widdy for online magazine 'Eyebrow' when their questions went off-message. "The interview was getting extremely boring so we asked her about her days as an agony aunt in the hope she might say something a bit more interesting," explains one. "We asked her what advice she would give to someone if they were to sleep with their boss in return for a promotion. This didn't go down well, but then we asked her if she would sleep with David Cameron. At this point she went berserk. "That's disgusting, I'm a Catholic" she shrieked, and, ranting, kicked us out of her office. We were then escorted out of the building by her PA, a mini Widdy." Unfortunately for Widdecombe the interview was caught on camera and can be viewed in full at eyebrowmagazine.com.

Cult graffiti artist Banksy has dumped his long-term manager, Steve Lazarides. Lazarides, owner of the Greek Street gallery bearing his name, is unfazed by the development. "I still sell his paintings. Since Banksy has got unaccountably popular someone else has come to cover for him." Sources close to the dauber say he resents being sidelined for younger artists and has appointed himself two managers.

Hard to believe, but 22 per cent of China's billion-strong population is overweight. In Beijing it rises to 40 per cent and figures are expected to grow. But one man's fat is another's paycheck, and could be good news for Sarah, Duchess of York. Last week WeightWatchers signed a deal with yoghurt-makers Danone to go east and tackle the Oriental obesity crisis. WeightWatchers has had success employing celebrity reps, including Fergie, who picks up £2m a year as their ambassador to the US. Could she now be a weapon on the emerging fat-fighting front?

West End luvvies usually jump at the chance to pull a sicky at the slightest sniffle, but perhaps it's no bad thing. Actor John Gordon Sinclair, currently in an Ayckbourn play at the Garrick, recalls an embarrassing moment when he starred in the musical 'She Loves Me'. "At the end Georg kisses Amalia as the music swells and the two are finally united. I was playing Georg and had a cold. As I separated from Amalia (Ruthie Henshall) I could see a long silvery line of snot, gleaming in the spotlight like a little upside down bridge between my nose and Amalia's cheek. Very romantic."

Katie's kebab house in Peckham has a place in British culinary history as the home of the tea-time kebab. It was here that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith recently popped in for her doner with salad and to make a well publicised apology for having cast doubt on the safety of kebab-buyers. But all that almost went up in flames on Friday when a fire broke out in the internet café next door. Luckily nobody was hurt. "It's business as normal," says a Katie's chef when I call.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

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