Londoner’s Diary: We need Corbyn’s voice back on the political stage, says Okri

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Jeremy Corbyn MP   (Getty Images)
Jeremy Corbyn MP (Getty Images)

JEREMY CORBYN should be back in public life as we miss his voice and perspective, says poet Ben Okri. “He has read Ulysses, has Boris read Ulysses?” Okri tells us cheekily. Corbyn approvingly quoted Okri in his first speech to Labour conference as party leader in 2015. At that point the pair had never met, but it seems Corbyn’s speech changed things.

Ben Okri (Dave Benett)
Ben Okri (Dave Benett)

We bumped into Okri at a Booker Prize party this week, where he expressed sadness at Corbyn’s absence from the biggest stages and told us that the two men still meet “from time to time”, despite Corbyn’s defenestration from the Labour party.

Boris Johnson famously enjoys quoting the Iliad and the Odyssey from memory. But how does he fare on James Joyce’s modern epic? The Londoner feels a literary face-off coming on…

Capital move for Booker winner?

COULD Booker prize-winning Douglas Stuart soon be a regular fixture on the London literary scene? He told us this week he would “love” to move to the capital from Glasgow. “My community, my pals, everybody’s here — they’re all up in Crouch End, don’t know why,” Stuart added. The Shuggie Bain author went to fashion college in London at the turn of the millennium before moving to New York to work in the industry. “Coming home to London feels like being back with my family and my friends,” he says.

Error turns book launch on its head

Tessa Coates (Tessa Coates)
Tessa Coates (Tessa Coates)

COMICS Stevie Martin and Tessa Coates celebrated the launch of their book, Nobody Panic, last night but told us not everything went to plan. Coates, left, said copies of the book were delayed “because of Brexit”. Set on having printed copies for the Soho launch, they ordered emergency editions from a paper mill. But it was only when Coates got the books home she saw the problem — they’d been printed upside down. Martin added optimistically: “They’re a little bit like a limited edition.” At least they didn’t panic.

Diana’s nieces join Tatler party

Lady Eliza Spencer, Editor of Tatler Richard Dennen and Lady Amelia Spencer (Dave Benett)
Lady Eliza Spencer, Editor of Tatler Richard Dennen and Lady Amelia Spencer (Dave Benett)

LADY ELIZA and Lady Amelia Spencer celebrated with Tatler editor Richard Dennen and Amelia Liana at the magazine’s Little Black Book party last night in aristo nightspot Tramp. The party was co hosted with the Michael Kors Collection, which dressed some of the guests, including Eliza. Across the road, model Eva Apio partied at a collaboration between Creed and Sofitel St James. In Mayfair, Georgia May Jagger and Josephine de La Baume were at a Space NK event.

SW1A

FORMER Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has recalled the worst piece of advice she ever got. She tells the Women With Balls podcast that when she was a thrusting young BBC journalist in her twenties, a friend said to her “that I probably needed to lose some weight and wear some more make-up”. Unwise.

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JONATHAN Ashworth took on the challenge of stand-up comedy this week. He recalled an “absolutely true story” about a Labour colleague being asked once what the most difficult thing about being an MP was. “She said ‘waking up every morning and having to handle eight inches of mail’.”

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