elcome back to the Londoner’s Diary live blog. The Camden home of Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine may be saved after all, we learn, and either way you can now buy a miniature. Later on we hear about Alan Carr’s safari trip struggles — it was supposed to be a treat. After that food writer Yasmin Khan address the thorny problem of who owns hummus. And in SW1A today we hear about Prince Philip’s frosty reception for Tony Blair.
It’s a good news day for lovers of Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine — and the Camden house where the 19th-century French poets lived.
Not only has the real thing been taken off the market, raising hopes it may yet become a cultural centre, but a miniature of the house has been crafted for fans to buy and support a related charity.
Michael Corby, who owns the house at No 8 Royal College Street, had originally bequeathed it to the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation in 2011, but last year unexpectedly changed his mind. Now, the foundation says in a statement, Mr Corby intends to live there himself and “has also reaffirmed an intention to develop No 8 for cultural and community purposes”.
“The charity’s Trustees are delighted that Mr Corby has recognised the cultural and community interest in the property at No 8, and that he has returned to his original intention of developing it as a cultural centre. Having said this it is disappointing that he continues to leave R&V, the charity founded specially to receive the legacy gift of the property, out in the cold,” Graham Henderson, CEO of the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation said.
It is still unclear whether Corby will patch things up with the foundation. “We understand that he is talking about creating a new charity to be the recipient of a legacy gift of the property,” they claim.
In the meantime a 20cm model of the house, featuring the poets drinking at the window, pictured, has been created with a model-maker in Bath. It “allows everyone to ‘own’ the poetry house,” the foundation claims, and for each model sold, £50 will go to the charity. Every little helps.
Stroke of bad luck for fan Domhnall
Actor Domhnall Gleeson is still haunted by his encounter with his idol Albert Hammond Jr, guitarist of New York indie rockers The Strokes. “I made eye contact with him for a second, and I was listening to him on my headphones and my mind said, ‘Don’t do anything!’ and my body went, ‘Double thumbs up!’” he told the Off Menu podcast. Worse was to come: “As soon as I walked past I was like, ‘I hope I’m not wearing Converse,’ and I looked down, and I was wearing Converse.” Starstruck star.
Candice’s new style may be Croc of gold
Candice Brathwaite says her “style gun is locked and loaded” for a post-lockdown world, but with some changes. The I Am Not Your Baby Mother author vows to choose comfort over style and has spent the past year relishing “sumptuous slippers, bejewelled mules, practical stomper boots and even Crocs”. She adds: “I don’t ever want to see shoes that make my ankles quiver just by looking at them.” Anything but Crocs, surely?
Prince Philip didn’t think much of politicians, but we hear he reserved particular scorn for Tony Blair. The duke could apparently never forgive the former prime minister for humiliating the Queen with his heartfelt tribute to Princess Diana after her death in 1997. For the most part, he managed to keep his feelings concealed, except once. As Philip and Blair stood next to each other during a parade to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Crimean War, Blair reportedly asked: “What was the Crimean War all about anyway?” At that, our source recounts, Philip let his real feelings slip: “The militaristic prince’s glacial stare and eye roll was enough to cut down a charging squadron of Russian cavalry.”’.
Countdown’s Riley is expecting… your answer
Rachel Riley has shared a special Countdown teaser. Alongside a picture of her standing in front of a board featuring the letters “FITTRILEY”, she wrote: “And your clue is… Riley had this to thank for the reason her clothes no longer fit her… And it’ll only get worse till autumn.” Any guesses? She is pregnant with her second child by professional dancer husband Pasha Kovalev, who she met on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013. A different sort of countdown.
All the news that’s fit to sprint
Sometimes Londoners just can’t go without their fix of the Evening Standard. A source happily out and about following the latest easing of lockdown rules tells us they spotted two people fleeing from a policeman in Finsbury Park station. The pair “vaulted the barriers in front of me”, they said, adding: “Then one paused at the station entrance, ran back, and grabbed a Standard.” Worth risking it all for.
Give chickpeas a chance, says Khan
Food writer Yasmin Khan sees the problems of the world in a spoonful of hummus. The Saffron Tales author despaired over rising nationalism and has no time for those who get “possessive about food”. “Nation states are a pretty recent construct, before that we had more empires where people were able to move,” she told a Fane audience. She singled out debates over the origins of hummus: “It doesn’t belong to anyone, get over it.”
Carr shows his wild side on safari
Alan Carr once tried to treat his mother with a safari trip. It didn’t go to plan. First, staff at the accommodation assumed the pair were a couple and covered a double bed in rose petals spelling out “Alan and Christine”. Second he saw some hunters and, enraged out of his usual passivity, felt “I was going to f***ing lamp them”. Third, the comic tells his Life’s A Beach podcast, “they said that elephants walked past, and I swear they used to put the elephant dung out by the door. I don’t think an elephant came by.” He adds: “I got my mum to stand next to it and take a picture.” Not your classic safari souvenir photo.