The Londoner: Ben Miller's tale of revenge on Faulks
COMIC Ben Miller wrote a character into a screenplay for the sole purpose of insulting Sebastian Faulks in revenge for comments the Birdsong author had made on stage. Miller says he had presented a prize at a book awards when “Sebastian Faulks got up after me and slagged me off [implying] ‘What was I doing at a book awards, I’m not a writer.’” When contacted by The Londoner, Faulks said: “I have no recollection of ever being disparaging about Ben Miller in any context at all. Why would I be? I like his stuff.”
Miller, who has starred in the Armstrong and Miller Show, crime series Death in Paradise, and who has written children’s books, said that he took Faulks’s insult “personally”. He told the Blank podcast that he was so annoyed that he has since taken up his pen to get his own back. “I did include Birdsong in a screenplay I was writing,” he confessed, adding: “[I] made sure I had a character who said Birdsong was his favourite book so other people could argue against him constantly.”
On the night of the awards, Miller said he “felt a bit of frisson” as normally “people usually just read what’s on the cards or the autocue”. What needled Miller was the implication that he was a comedian, therefore not a writer. “Comedy is written. There’s a script,” he explained to the podcast, adding: “If Sebastian Faulks thinks that comedy’s not written, I do slightly worry. “When he sees Macbeth, does he think… ‘Where does he get his ideas?’”
But the supposedly snooty Faulks may have provided a gift for Miller. “Anything that makes you angry or gets a reaction out of you...” the Death in Paradise star said, “that’s good fodder for your art.” Miller also saw another positive side to Faulks’ alleged intervention, saying: “A bit more grit in the oyster at these events is not unwelcome.” But it can have consequences.
The New European will remain after Brexit
The New European was supposed to be a pop-up newspaper only running for the weeks after the 2016 Brexit vote, but it will carry on after January 31. “We were set up with one purpose and that purpose has gone or changed,” editor Jasper Copping told The Londoner. “But there is still appetite for the magazine. We’ve always been about more than Brexit — things like culture and European news,” he added, saying that the paper wouldn’t be campaigning to rejoin right away. “We will be scrutinising deals... from an internationalist liberal direction.”
Tales from green-thumbed Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall
Mick Hucknall has gone from philandering hellraiser to green-fingered god. The Simply Red singer boasts to Waitrose magazine: “I had a fantastic summer for tomatoes.” But he admits it’s not all domestic bliss: “I was a real pain to the person who put in my kitchen. I was very meticulous about the position of the fridge.”
“Crap” Damien Hirst cabinet bought for £600 goes on sale for over £1m
Good things come to those who wait. Art Collector Robert Tibbles bought Damien Hirst’s medicine cabinet artwork Bodies for £600 — and now it’s to be auctioned for over £1 million. He told the Art Newspaper: “I lived with that medicine cabinet for seven years with people telling me it was crap, and that I should send it back.”
Michael B. Jordan paints House of Lords red
Actors Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx brought A-list glamour to the House of Lords last night at a special event for their film Just Mercy. Also at the event for the movie, which examines racism in America’s criminal justice system, was Labour MP Marsha de Cordova and fashion designer Ozwald Boateng. Activists Lord Simon Woolley and Baroness Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, the black British teenager who was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham in 1993, were there too. Broadcaster Baroness Benjamin later said she and Foxx discovered they were “kindred spirits” after chatting about the film. Across town, director Terry Gilliam attended a screening of his film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote at The Curzon Mayfair. Actor Jonathan Pryce and comic Eddie Izzard joined him. Meanwhile, Neelam Gill cut a sharp figure at the launch of Barkha Beauty in members’ club Laylow.
Denis MacShane, former Labour Europe minister, has some unorthodox wishes for the Labour leadership contest. “I want to see them kebabbed by Andrew Neil asking questions,” he told The Londoner last night when asked who his preferred candidate was, adding he was also waiting for the hustings. MacShane was in Bloomsbury to launch his book, Brexiternity — and said Brexit “sadly will be part of our life for many years to come”. Brexiternity and kebabbings, roll on the 2020s...
Tom Tugendhat MP asks: “Why do we have cat food when we don’t have a cat?” The answer is because a “beautiful, deceitful mog” claims to be hungry “and my wife can’t resist”, the MP says on Twitter. Tom has branded the ravenous feline “Six Dinners Sid”. The Londoner prefers Tugendcat.
Boris Johnson is mooting moving CCHQ up north. ConservativeHome reports the plan is for somewhere with “good train links”. So they can get back to London pronto?
Tensions in Chinatown for Faye Dunaway
Tensions on the set of 1974 classic Chinatown, which starred Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, threatened to spiral out of control, a new book reveals. The Big Goodbye, written by Sam Wasson, claims the crew turned against Dunaway. Wasson also relates an incident when assistant director Howard Koch Jr rang Dunaway to ask after her health after she fell ill. She told him: “I don’t talk to assistant directors.” “OK,” Koch said, and hung up. Perhaps there was method in the madness — she won an Oscar nomination for her role.
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