17 Aug 2011 at 20:55
- I wish Sally Bercow well in her quest to win Celebrity Big Brother, but I fear it will all end in tears. As is well know, I like Sally and get on well with her, but she has that self destruct button which makes her very vulnerable. Her decision to hire Max Clifford as her PR man is one she will come to regret. Already he has told journalists that her husband doesn’t approve of her going on that show. Well, that will be a big help. The trouble is, whatever Sally says, she does get invited on these shows because of who she is married to whether she likes to admit it or not. And therefore, surely Mr B, as she refers to him, is entitled to have a view on what his wife does. My partner wouldn’t dream of doing anything which would impact badly on my reputation or career, and the same goes for me in return. What a pity Sally doesn’t seem to factor in the effect of her activities on her husband.
- Last week I tweeted that I had just read the best book I think Biteback will ever have published. You wouldn’t believe the number of authors who then emailed or texted me gently enquiring if it was their particular manuscript I had been reading. The truth is that it was a book by Michael McManus called TORY PRIDE & PREJUDICE: THE CONSERVATIVES AND HOMOSEXUAL LAW REFORM. It is a truly brilliant book, which is well written, holds the reader’s attention, educates and entertains. It is also quite revelatory. I might as well admit that we have had lots of toing and froing over the title of the book. All sorts of lurid titles were suggested by my more creative colleagues. My own particular favourite was QUEER BLUE WATER, but that was felt to be a little too, er, blue. I reckon this book could be a minor best seller. Let’s face it, if all gay members of the London Conservative Party were to buy it, it would shoot into the Non Fiction Top 10!
- Oh what fun it is, to see West Ham win away. Two away wins in two games – that hasn’t been achieved for more than five years. Which is why West Ham find themselves outside the Premier League. I can hardly believe it but I am warming to Sam Allardyce. When he used to bring his Bolton and Blackburn teams to Upton Park, I’d usually turn to my neighbour and say “thank God we don’t have to watch that every week”. Well we do now. But so far he seems to have avoided the long ball game for which he is famed. His new signings, Matthew Taylor, Joey O’Brien and Kevin Nolan have all scored in the Hammers’ first three games, and all look quality players. The season is yet young, but there is a real air of optimism at Upton Park nowadays.
- Today I am having lunch with one of my broadcasting role models, Mr Stephen Nolan of Radio 5 Live. I think he is probably the pre-eminent talk show host of his generation, but he certainly divides opinion. You either love his style or you don’t. I do. He’s loves being on the radio during a breaking news story and I have come to learn too, that this is the best time to be on the air. You’re tested in a way that a preplanned subject can never test you. Nolan is an enthusiast and it shows in every minute of his broadcasting. I have a very different style to him, but we both love what we do. There’s no ‘right style’ in radio. You just have to be yourself. The week after next I am sitting in for Nick Ferrari on his LBC breakfast show. The very worst thing I could ever do is to try to emulate his style. You have to be yourself, and if people don’t like it, then there’s little you can do.
- As readers may remember, we lost our Jack Russell, Gio at the beginning of July. His death left a real void in our lives. We hadn’t intended to get a new dog for a long time, but the house seems very empty. Indeed, so empty that we’ve decided to get two dogs – a Mini Schnauzer who will arrive in early September, but we also want a Jack Russell too. I wanted to get a pup from Battersea, which is where we got Gio from, but they don’t have any. Last night John went to the south coast to see a JR pup he had seen advertised on the internet. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. It turned out to be a very dirty and disgusting puppy farm on a gypsy encampment. He made his excuses and left. Today he’s going to Bedford to look at a very cute pup. We wanted to get both pups on the same day so they could bond together in the house without one trying to rule the roost. But I suspect that is going to be a pipe dream and that we will have to get one before the other.
- It’s party conference time in just a month’s time. And I am looking forward to it. Especially as again, none of the conferences are in Blackpool. Which means beds with real sheets, rather than rubber ones, as happened to me one year. Some people might pay a lot for that, but not me. I’ll be broadcasting my LBC show from all three conferences on the Monday and Tuesday nights. On the Tuesday night of the Tory conference I am hosting an hour long In Conversation with Boris Johnson with Policy Exchange, which will go out live on LBC. What could go wrong? And yes, I’ll also be doing an hour with Ken Livingstone at Labour and an hour with, well, who knows, at the LibDem Conference. Neutrality prevents me from wishing Lembit Opik well, but it’d a laugh wouldn’t it? Brian Paddick was on my show last week during the riots and bitterly complained that he had been kept waiting half an hour. When we pointed out that taking a live statement from Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin on the riots was the reason, he had a one word response: “bullshit”. It’s that sort of charm which should make him a shoo-in.