Mr Dale's Diary: Six Places Higher Than Lord Sugar

24 Jul 2011 at 21:35

  • On Tuesday we hosted a launch for Gillian Shephard’s new book KNAPTON, which is a social history of the village in North Norfolk in which she grew up. Our offices have a fantastic view over the river to Parliament, which the coachload of North Norfolkers very much enjoyed. I was amused at how many of them knew me because of my fortnightly Eastern Daily Press column. They had all read about the death of Gio, my Jack Russell and were all keen to offer advice on how to get over it. Just for the record, we’re getting a mini Schnauzer in September as well as another Jack Russell puppy. We want to get them on the same day otherwise there might be some unfortunate long term consequences!
  • I’m so excited at the way Dale & Co has been received. Slightly to my surprise there hasn’t been much negative reaction at all. Traffic is already higher than for my old blog, so it’s been a good start. In the next 48 hours we’re reconfiguring the front page and adding a gizmo in place of the blurb and video box. The gizmo will allow you to scroll through the last twenty people who have written on the blog. So that should be an incentive to authors to contribute even more regularly than they are already doing! Also this week, we’re launching a daily diary column. Each day of the week one of my contributors will write a diary column and write about their previous seven days. I’ve encouraged them all to be as amusing and observational as possible. As well as gossipy.
  • I was in Portcullis House on Wednesday to have a gossip with my old friend Ian Collins from talkSPORT. It proved to be rather difficult. Hardly had we started our conspiratorial conversation when Simon Walters from the Mail on Sunday plonked himself down for a goss. And hardly had he gone when Denis MacShane replaced him. And by the time he had gone, it was almost time to move on to the next appointment! There’s a lesson there somewhere.
  • If you’ve never tuned into LBC before and heard my dulcet tones (every weekday from 7-10pm, by the way), tune in at 9am on Tuesday morning when Boris Johnson will be presenting the last hour of the Nick Ferrari show. Anything could happen. And probably will. I’ll be hosting an In Conversation with Boris on the Tuesday evening of the Tory conference, which will be broadcast on LBC as well. And don’t worry, I’ll also be doing an hour with Ken Livingstone at Labour and one with whoever the LibDems choose at theirs. Please, please let it be Lembit.
  • Last night we hosted a little gathering at our home near Tunbridge Wells. Simmo, my partner, celebrated his birthday yesterday, and mine was a week earlier. It wasn’t really meant to be a birthday party but I wryly noted how everyone brought presents and cards from His Simmoness, but for me? Not a sausage. A week is a long time in birthdays… We had done far too much food of course. Well, when I say ‘we’ I use the term rather loosely. I am not allowed in the kitchen, you see. I make a scene out of protesting, but of course, I am rather relieved. And so should our party guests have been.
  • I got a call from one of my staff at 6.30 this evening. As I picked up the phone I didn’t bother saying ‘hello’, I just said “well at 6.30 on a Sunday evening it can’t be good news”. It wasn’t. He had been attacked, beaten to a pulp and stabbed. I could hardly have been more shocked. I muttered inanities I think. ‘Take as much time off as you need’, and ‘if there’s anything we can do’ were just two of the clichés that escaped from my mouth. What a terrible thing to happen. Luckily he’s OK, but I suspect he was putting a brave face on it.
  • The week ends with The Guardian naming me as the 93rd most influential person in the British media. I can’t pretend I’m not a bit chuffed, especially when I see that I am six places ahead of Lord Sugar, who is number 99. But as the rest of the Top 100 are release during the course of the evening there are a few surprises. Is Alan Rusbridger, at 37 really more influential than the editors of the Times and Telegraph, whose circulations far outweigh that of The Guardian? And my friend Guido Fawkes is also placed above James Harding and Tony Gallagher. I’m pleased for Guido, but really…