IN THE wake of the Goebbels diaries fiasco, the Sunday Times has withdrawn from negotiations over the serialisation of another set of memoirs associated with the Nazi era. This is the forthcoming autobiography of Leni Riefenstahl, said to have been Hitler's favourite film maker. Riefenstahl directed Triumph of the Will, an emotive celebration of the Nazi Party's 1934 Nuremberg rally, and Olympia, a masterly record of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and her book details dealings with Hitler and Goebbels. After the war Riefenstahl was arrested by the Allies but was subsequently cleared by a tribunal of being a Nazi; she was deemed merely to have been a 'sympathiser'. She went on to work in Africa, notably producing extraordinary photography of the Nuba people of Sudan. Hale, hearty and 90 on Saturday, Riefenstahl deeply regrets her association with fascism, and looks back on the time with bitterness: 'It would be much easier for me if after the war I had said, 'Oh yes, I have done this and that. I'm very sorry; I feel guilty.' If I had said I had slept with Hitler, or he kissed me or something, maybe it would have been better for me and I would have got a lot of money, too,' she said recently. Quartet will publish Leni Riefenstahl's autobiography, The Sieve of Time, next month. And that brings us to one further point: what's the worst title for a book of memoirs you've ever come across? Answers on the usual postcard, please.
HERE's a press release from Gerald Malone, the Conservative MP for Winchester, saying how chuffed he is with the Government's announcement on Tuesday that 'illegal entry on to private land by so-called travellers is to be made a criminal act'. Further down there's a PS from his press officer: 'As Mr Malone is travelling at present, it will not be possible to contact him until Friday.'
Hollow ring THE Secretary of State for Fun writes from Bayreuth in Saturday's Spectator, reviewing Harry Kupfer's production of Wagner's Ring Cycle. While Mellor, a mean critic, enjoyed Daniel Barenboim's conducting, he was less impressed by Kupfer's effects for the climax of Gotterdammerung. 'Finally, a moment of truly stomach-churning kitsch. Two small children walk across the stage, hand in hand. Yuk] Come on, Harry, if you're going to mess about, please do something they couldn't have got Harry Carpenter or Harry Enfield or even Prince Harry to do better.' Ouch] But is Mellor really in a position to be telling people off for using small children for
WE told you of the plight of two bros, Matt and Luke, and their small ad for situations vacant in Loot magazine. Now comes news of one Rick Astley from the lonely hearts column of the Moroccan daily Le Matin du Sahara. Rick is a 22-year-old student singer and enjoys 'friendship and singing to the guitar'.
Taste of paradise ON A beach mat near you this summer there will almost certainly be the recently published paperback of David Lodge's Paradise News, a story of an archetypal Lodgean academic and his package-holiday trip to Hawaii. It's a pretty gruesome experience - very shortly after arrival in the 'Paradise Islands' the academic's father is run over crossing a Hawaiian street. Then there's a lot of stuff about hotels that don't quite live up to expectations ('The Waikiki Coconut Grove? Where's the Grove?' 'They must've built the hotel on top of it.') and tourist horrors like the fire-pit pig roasts that turn out to be microwaved. Not so much a case of Paradise Lost, but, as one character bitterly puts it: 'Paradise stolen. Paradise raped. Paradise infected. Paradise owned, developed, packaged, Paradise sold.' So how, you wonder, is Penguin selling Paradise News? With a competition in which you may 'Win a trip to Paradise' - two weeeks for two in 'real unspoilt
FROM British Rail at Finsbury Park, north London, a new delay announcement: 'We apologise for delays to trains going to Moorgate and King's Cross. This is due to a person sitting on the line at Hatfield and refusing to get off.' The wrong kind of person, obviously.
A day like this
20 August 1846 Gustave Flaubert writes to his mistress, Louise Colet: 'Alone now] All alone] It's a dream. Oh, how far away they are, those hours that are barely the past] There are whole centuries between a little while ago and now. A little while ago I was with you, we were together. Our poor ride in the Bois] How dreary the weather was last night when I left you. It was raining. There were tears in the air. The weather itself was sad. I keep thinking of our last reunion at the hotel, with your silk dress open, and the lace coiling over your breast. Your entire face was smiling, wonderstruck with love and ecstasy. How your sweet eyes shone] Twenty-four hours ago; remember] Oh, the impossibility of recapturing any part of a thing that is gone] Adieu, adieu, I am still longing for you, my thirst unquenched]'Reuse content