Welcome to this week’s Londoner’s Diary. First, Sebastian Faulks on what he learned about James Bond’s character from writing a Bond novel. Also: an update on the Spectator’s flood defences, Sergei Polunin on getting his Putin tattoo removed, Miriam Margolyes has some doubts about MeToo. AUKUS upsets the French Ambassador in London. And, a Fashion show at the British Museum.
Faulks on Bond - he’s a man of action
10:11 , Robbie Smith
Author Sebastian Faulks says James Bond can never be a “reflective” man. He was speaking before the release of No Time To Die, the latest film in the franchise, which marks Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007.
Faulks, inset, who caused a stir by writing a Bond novel called Devil May Care for the centenary of Fleming’s birth in 2008, said: “I tried to slow him down occasionally and make him reflective and that really didn’t work at all. I tried to stop him and look back on what happened and have some philosophical reactions to it and in the end I just got him into another fight.”
Speaking at Wimbledon Bookfest, Faulks joked about the reason he took the job: “Money.” He added: “My agent rang up and said, ‘the Fleming family would like you to write this book’. I thought he’d got the wrong person because I don’t write thrillers, I don’t really read them very often.” He said the Fleming family had been “nice and persuasive”. A series of writers, including Kingsley Amis, William Boyd and Anthony Horowitz, have written Bond novels.
When the search for the next 007 hots up after No Time To Die, spare a thought for the hopefuls who pitch themselves as reflective types.
Hope springs at flooded Spectator
10:26 , Robbie Smith
The SPECTATOR’S basement and garden were flooded in July after torrential rains damaged buildings in St James’s Park, so how is the magazine preparing in case of further deluges? Editor Fraser Nelson tells us the two spaces that were put out of action — which The Spectator had planned to use for parties for their readers over the summer — are happily due to reopen this week after being cleared and cleaned. But when The Londoner asked Nelson if the magazine might install flood defences he told us no: “We take the risk that it doesn’t happen again soon.” Fingers crossed.
12:15 , Robbie Smith
ALEXA CHUNG joined model Daisy Lowe for a dinner at Covent Garden’s NoMad hotel last night to celebrate the launch of Perfect Magazine, co-founded by new ES Magazine editor Ben Cobb. Courtney Love, Dina Asher-Smith and Iris Law also made the bash.
Over at the British Museum, Drag Race star Bimini Bon-Boulash and actor Omari Douglas were at the Erdem show. And a chance rainbow even appeared. Happy fate.
Polunin’s battle to erase Putin
13:58 , Robbie Smith
Ballet “bad boy” Sergei Polunin is struggling to remove the Putin tattoo from his chest, saying it is “ten times more painful” than being inked. Polunin, who was the Royal Ballet’s youngest principal dancer before quitting after two years, also torched a nascent Hollywood career with homophobic Instagram posts. “Before I ruined everything, I was really going to be big. Now it’s coming back,” he said, although he did not express regret for past mistakes. He is dancing at the London Palladium next month.
14:30 , Robbie Smith
THE French are furious after the UK signed a submarine deal with the US and Australia behind their backs, recalling diplomats from Washington and Canberra. Their ambassador here, Catherine Colonna, has remained, but liked a series of tweets calling out “lies, duplicity... contempt” and new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s “permanent opportunism”. Merde.
SPEAKING of Aukus, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly cut a positive figure on the airwaves this morning as he defended the deal. He might well look happy. Cleverly recently told us he was glad to survive last week’s reshuffle. A reshuffle, he said, is “the most horrible thing a politician can experience. It’s worse than a grilling by Brillo.”
Margolyes gives MeToo short shrift
16:15 , Robbie Griffiths
MIRIAM MARGOLYES doesn’t think much of some aspects of the MeToo movement. “If a woman is going to complain many years later about a hand on her knee, I don’t think that’s enough,” the Harry Potter actor remarked to Wimbledon Bookfest over the weekend.
Although she says more serious attacks against women are unacceptable, she argued: “If somebody just puts a hand on your knee and leers at you, well, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to get over it and not worry about it.”