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

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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month  

General Election 2015: Politics is the messy art of compromise, unpopular as it may be

David Blunkett
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'