Nick's latest blog post
is hard to resist.
The other night I saw Dinner with Portillo -a show whose conceit of filming members of the chattering classes eating lukewarm food and regurgitating received opinions I can assert with confidence would never occur to any commissioning editor from any other country on the planet.
Foreign television is rightly famous for quality programming, of course.
Lukewarm food! Whatever next? And I thought the chatterati were all salad grazers. Why, that's half way to eating roasts
like the stout-hearted yeoman of England's glory. I quite like 'eating ... and regurgitating' - I'd even steal it if I could allow it pass without a Princess Di reference.
Anyway, this is really a hook for Nick to copy and paste an entire blog post of Alistair Campbell's because Julia Hartley Brewer of the Express
said he (Campbell) can't write. Journalists don't like the former doctor of spin; and Campbell hates most journalists going by his tweets
Having a sandwich mid inquiry. Watching lunchtime news. God these hacks do talk some drivel
Fair point, but Alastair "45 minutes" Campbell can't tell drivel from melting snow. Another tweet reads
had fascinating call from behavioural psychologist who fears Paul Dacre has homoerotic fantasies about me. Poor Mail Obergruppenfuhrer
Alastair's quite big on looney doctors. His last novel was about one. He ought to know that this sort of psychoanalysis by proxy isn't taken seriously by anyone not a hack or a quack. It didn't work out at all well for Colin Stagg
for instance. I hate the Mail too, and Dacre strikes me as exceptionally unpleasant. To steal a word George Monbiot
stole from Arthur Koestler, Dacre is a mimophant. But I doubt he's responsible for every word that appears in the Mail
; suggesting he is magnifies his abilities considerably. Jan Moir wrote a particularly ugly and homophobic article
last November, but it's no good pinning her prejudices on homophobia alone, as today she managed to write an equally nasty piece
about Antonia Fraser.
It's also funny that while Campbell likes to rant about "queer-looking Quentin Quetts" and the suppressed homoeroticism, he apparently forgot that Dacre recently poached the Openly-gay journalist Andrew Pierce
I was going to ask rhetorically about all the misogynistic tripe the Mail peddles about how female slebs look simply horrid away from the studio. Except it does the same thing to men
. Maybe there's something in all this psychosexual theorising, after all.
But what is it about dinner parties?Update
. Dang! Just remembered what set me off on this - Marina Hyde
on Myleene Klass.
Finally, I'm reminded by a Guardian commenter of the story the illusionist Derren Brown tells of bumping into the charlatan Derek Acorah, whom he naturally holds in righteous disdain, but found himself unwilling to harangue in person. As Derren puts it, "my own apparently strong feelings gave way to the simple social code of being nice." And yet, according to a report that subsequently appeared in the Sun, "The pair started rowing but Myleene Klass, Derek's co-host for the new series of Ghost Stories, stepped in. The insider said: "Myleene told Derren to leave Derek alone. She said, 'You're obviously threatened by him.'"
I'm sure Dacre, though a prize wanker in his own way, is equally threatened by Campbell.
 Update 2
I've now seen Dinner with Portillo
. I enjoyed it, but then, being a saddo, it's the sort of thing I do enjoy. Julia Hartley Brewer eviscerated Campbell; she was a joy to watch. I don't think her dislike stems from unrequited attraction; I'd say she considers him sexist and patronising. It wasn't only her who didn't rate Campbell's writing: Oona King, erstwhile darling of Harry's Place, and Roy Hattersley, who was Deputy Leader when Campbell was supposedly a political journalist on the Mirror, both agreed. Portillo, for the record, thought Campbell was a good writer. Besides, I can't but respect Chris Mullin, who I think is a good egg and somewhat loftier than merely a member of the "chattering classes."