Londoner’s Diary: Sally Rooney almost cut the sex scenes from her novel

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Sally Rooney (Alamy Stock Photo)
Sally Rooney (Alamy Stock Photo)

Welcome back to the Londoner’s Diary. First up Sally Rooney revels she planned a last- minute cut of the sex scenes in her new novel, but her editors persuaded her to keep them. Later Max Johnson, the Prime Minister’s half-brother, still hasn’t found a publisher after writing a memoir called Filth and Extinction Rebellion is encouraging its members to take a break. In SW1A Tory Michael Fabricant tells us out of respect for the Speaker he won’t be wearing his “pink shorts during PMQs”.

11:40 , Robbie Smith

Sally Rooney has revealed she planned a last- minute cut of the sex scenes in her new novel, but her editors persuaded her to keep them. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to even read this, let alone write it’… it was tough,” Rooney admitted to a Southbank Centre event last night. Her book Beautiful World, Where Are You already looks like the publishing hit of the autumn. Long queues formed at bookshops in the capital and last night’s event was packed. Rapturous applause at the end even briefly brought tears to Rooney’s eyes.

Her previous two books, Conversations With Friends and Normal People, have been big hits, as was the BBC adaption of Normal People, with its tastefully shot sex scenes. But those scenes nearly didn’t make the cut this time. Rooney worried the book’s narrative technique meant she would be left with only “a mechanistic description of what was happening”. She continued: “I said to my editors quite late on, ‘why don’t we just cut the sex scenes because it’s just too difficult?’, but they were very encouraging”. The author added: “It is such an important part of the way the characters relate… I hope that you’ll sympathetically engage with what I was attempting to do.”

SW1A

14:30 , Robbie Smith

Another MP has bowed to Speaker Lindsay Hoyle’s demand that politicians smarten up for the in person return of Parliament. Tory Michael Fabricant tells us out of respect for the Speaker he won’t be wearing his “pink shorts during PMQs” as he did during a virtual parliament. He then added cattily: “I would’ve worn pink shorts with polka dots during Bercow’s time”.

--

Lee Cain’s attempted transition from Downing Street press bruiser to author of papers on government comms has gone down badly in at least one quarter. Kay Hender, of civil servants’ union FDA, scotches some of his suggestions, such as a 75 per cent cut in government press officers and wonders on Civil Service World “whether Caino of old is just looking to create chaos”.

A feast in the east for fashion hopefuls

14:00 , Robbie Smith

Karlon Bonsu and Kevin Bonsu of The Flag Twins (Dave Benett)
Karlon Bonsu and Kevin Bonsu of The Flag Twins (Dave Benett)

It was all eyes east as Jamie Reuben of the Reuben Foundation and Fashion East director Lulu Kennedy hosted a dinner and auction (run by Sotheby’s man Harry Dalmeny) last night at the Mondrian in Shoreditch for young fashion types who’ve been hit by Covid. In Mayfair Princess Olympia of Greece launched a skincare product. Kate Moss’s daughter Lila, artists The Flag Twins went along with Keith Richards’s granddaughter Ella.

PM’s half-brother won’t dish the dirt

13:30 , Robbie Smith

Boris and Max Johnson (Instagram)
Boris and Max Johnson (Instagram)

Max Johnson, the Prime Minister’s half-brother, is still looking for a publisher for his memoir called Filth. Despite its intriguing title, he won’t be dishing the dirt on the rest of his clan. “I’m a strong believer in maintaining family loyalty… not writing about them,” he previously told Tatler. And Johnson, who left the UK to work for Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, says the title is merely “a self-depreciating reference to the old acronym “Failed in London, try Hong Kong’.” Tantalising.

Climate’s right to take a holiday

13:00 , Robbie Smith

Even rebels need downtime. Extinction Rebellion, fresh from snarling up the capital with climate protests, has encouraged its members to take a break. “Real action needs real rest,” the group says on its website, pointing its members to their “practical guide for coming down to earth”. Rebels are encouraged to “connect with our anchors” and to “dream new visions”. XR will next target Glasgow’s COP26 summit, presumably once more full of beans.

Why Wedgwood is without compare

11:54 , Robbie Smith

Tristram Hunt (Dave Benett)
Tristram Hunt (Dave Benett)

Tristram Hunt last night gave a lecture about Josiah Wedgwood but was “foxed” when he was asked to compare the 18th-century potter and entrepreneur to contemporary British innovators. The V&A director said today’s entrepreneurs are far more “fashionable and metropolitan”. Designer Thomas Heatherwick isn’t “commercial” enough and James Dyson didn’t fit either. Wedgwood enjoyed London “but his heart was in the Potteries”, Hunt smiled. When the How to Academy organisers told Hunt Dyson would be speaking at an event this week, he was delighted: “Ask him what he thinks of Josiah.” A serious fan.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting