Diary

Share
Open up your heart, Mr Neil

Susie Orbach, therapist in need to the Princess of Wales, certainly became a household name after that Panorama show. Television appearances by the feminist media shrink, however, have been almost non-existent.

What a shame, then, that on a rare appearance tonight, on Andrew Neil's The Midnight Hour, the celebrity psychotherapist will be preaching to the converted. Ms Orbach is appearing to promote her new venture, Antidote, a "think-tank with an unconventional agenda". The organisation is designed to increase the "emotional literacy" of politicians, who should, she believes, "open up" and explain their feelings to each other.

A thoroughly commendable venture. There can be little doubt that Nicholas Soames MP, to name but one critic of Diana's Panorama performance, might benefit from a little emotional advancement. But who will Ms Orbach be encouraging to open up tonight? Only Charles Kennedy MP, notoriously garrulous talk media darling, and Tessa Jowell MP, Labour's spokesperson for women's issues - not to mention presenter Andrew Neil, whose emotional enthusiasm, so to speak, is not exactly repressed.

There are surely more emotionally troubled members who really could have learned a lot from Ms Orbach's wise words. Gordon Brown perhaps and maybe Peter Mandelson?

The old stand-up, head-down routine

The choice is yours. Become the new Harry Enfield or Eddie Izzard. Or get a grade A in geography. Sixteen-year-old Simon Amstell from Ilford in Essex has chosen the latter. Simon entered the BBC Comedy awards for stand-up comedians by sending a video to the selection team. They were so impressed that they arranged a live gig for him. They were even more impressed with that and told him he had won a place in the London final held last night which could lead to a television spot.

Simon - and I hope he doesn't wake up screaming about this in 10 years' time - despairingly informed them he couldn't make it. Don't they know this is GCSE Study Week?

"The panel was stunned," said a spokeswoman for the awards yesterday. "It's such a pity. But he is taking his GCSEs very seriously."

So no comedy award for young Simon - but promotion to head prefect at the very least, I trust.

Redwood revives the fascists' rallying cry

Action Not Words, the title of John Redwood's new book of speeches is, as I pointed out last week, also the title of Sir Edward Heath's 1966 election manifesto, a point the far from Heathite Mr Redwood seems to have overlooked. But a reader from Hampshire, DM Kenyon, reminds me that it has an even older pedigree. "Action Not Words" was a slogan of the British Union of Fascists in the Thirties, something that both Mr Redwood and Sir Edward may have forgotten.

Jeers for the FA Cup cheerleaders

Wembley and the FA remain unrepentant about the ludicrous spectacle of American-style cheerleaders at the FA Cup Final.

When I asked a Wembley Stadium spokesman about it, he replied indignantly: "They weren't the American sort of cheerleaders at all. They didn't put their hands up in the air."

Superbrat on the NY art scene

Water lilies? Just water lilies? A whole room of water lilies?

You cannot be serious!

John McEnroe has made the unlikely transition from brat genius of the Centre Court to art collector with his own gallery in the fashionable SoHo district of New York and a $300,000 Renoir among the paintings within. In the new edition of the American art magazine Artnews, he tells how his conversion came about. It was at a junior tournament in Paris in 1977 when he was 18.

"I remember a Monet at a museum in Paris and thinking, I don't understand this guy at all ... I got up real close to the painting. I couldn't make out anything. But then, of course, it started to dawn on me as I got further away. I thought, this is a different story back here. Over the course of the summer I realised, 'Wait a second. This Impressionist stuff is good'."

If the BBC wants a follow-up to The Story of British Art, they could do no better than Mr McEnroe on the Impressionists.

Eagle Eye

Between flats? Try this, only pounds 50,000 a year

One-upmanship in home renting must be stately home renting. The 19th Duke of Somerset, John Seymour, has decided that one country house is better than two. Consequently, he is offering his 15-acre Wiltshire residence (above), valued between pounds 2m and pounds 3m, on a five- to seven-year lease, possibly with an option to renew. He and his family will be residing permanently at their Devon estate. Andrew Macpherson, responsible for handling the rental, is enthusiastic that the ideal tenant should be a private individual with a small business, or possibly someone who has been posted in Britain and is able to appreciate the grandeur of an English country house. And can stump up pounds 50,000 a year.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: With 100 days still to go how will Cameron, Miliband and Co. keep us all engaged?

Andrew Grice
A solar energy farm in France  

Nature Studies: For all the attractions of solar power, it shouldn’t blight the countryside

Michael McCarthy
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea