Londoner's Diary: Milibands yet to bow to Rattle's London violins

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Have new hopes for a David Miliband return been dashed? As Sir Simon Rattle prepares for his homecoming concert as head of the LSO, The Londoner was hoping that he may not be the only one permanently returning to the city’s cultural sphere. Could Miliband’s wife Louise Shackelton, one of the LSO’s violinists, come home from New York and bring David with her? 

David Miliband, who lost the Labour leadership bid to his brother Ed and promptly hopped on to a plane to a new job at the International Rescue Committee in New York, has repeatedly refused to rule out a return to British politics. But we hoped that Shackelton might make the decision for him. There were rumours in 2015 that she would come back, which re-emerged in January. In June, a friend said that she “wishes to return”.

It would not be a surprise if Shackelton wanted to join Rattle again. She played second violin with him for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra way back in 1994, ahead of her LSO position. While she has never left the orchestra, her location has meant that she has not been a regular fixture. She has joined them for occasional performances. 

Shackelton met David on a flight to London from Rome in 1995 and they’ve been making sweet music ever since. For now, though, we’ll have to wait and see if another flight is in their future. “She is still a member of the LSO,” a representative of the esteemed orchestra told us this morning. “But she is firmly in New York.” Miliband, however, is thought to have a break clause in his contract at the IRC that would allow a 2018 departure from the Big Apple. Maybe next year?

Balance is difficult at the best of times but pity the poor producers on Radio 4’s Today programme rounding up talking heads in August. First, Lord Lawson was on to discuss climate change — his sceptical views are somewhat niche. Then this morning, Patrick Minford of EU-bashing Economists for Brexit went on to explain how a hard Brexit will leave us all £135 billion better off. A poll of 600 of his fellow economists last year found 88 per cent disagreed. Surely they can’t all have been on holiday now?

Oxford mag recalls Dudley’s star quality

Getting an eyeful: Dudley Moore and Raquel Welch in Bedazzled (Getty Images)

Dudley Moore had comic timing even at university. This month’s Floreat Magdalena, the magazine for alumni of Magdalen College Oxford, recalls his first time swilling Pimm’s at a party, after which he hired a punt and fell in the river.

“As the drenched Dudley somehow clambered back on to the bank, an American tourist, complete with camera, sought to ensure that the scene would be recorded for American posterity,” contemporary Michael Sayers writes. “‘Gee, that was swell!’ he called out. ‘Do it again, wud ya! I want you in my album for the folks back home.’ And even though he could not swim, Dudley jumped back into the river, five more times, to ensure that the American’s album would be complete for the folks back home.”

Quote of the Day:

Boys have it so easy: Zadie Smith (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/WireImage) (WireImage)

‘You are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this’

Author Zadie Smith tells her daughter that she will never beat the men by spending time on make-up

Big Ben and the Brideshead connection

Luvvies living it large: Hayley Atwell and Ben Whishaw (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty)

It was Brideshead revisited at the Almeida Theatre on Friday night as Hayley Atwell joined her former on-screen brother Ben Whishaw at the first night of Against. Atwell once described Whishaw as “the greatest actor of our generation”, so it was good to see her watching him playing a tech billionaire with messianic tendencies, joined by Amanda Hale as he travels across America seeking to end violence. Christopher Shinn’s new play is apparently more Elon Musk than Iron Man, in a stripped-down production that comes in at a challenging three hours. With Whishaw’s performace and Atwell’s support, the production could well take Flyte.

Former Hear’ Say band member and classically trained musician: Myleene Klass (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage) (WireImage)

Classic FM presenter and former singer Myleene Klass was at V Festival in Chelmsford this weekend. Despite the event’s focus on pop, grime and hip-hop, she insisted that her classical pianist roots gave her more expertise than most. “Classic FM is here because everything comes from classical music,” she told us. “These guys are sampling: they’re plagiarising everybody. But it all comes from classical music anyway.” Thank God Mozart can’t sue for breaches of intellectual property.

Klass was a guest in the Bulleit Bourbon bar, hosted by chef Luke Thomas.

Thank Hugh for the music

Starry eyed: Hugh Skinner (Photo by David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

DOES W1A’s favourite intern know how to rock? Hugh Skinner, who plays the lovable Will in the BBC docu-comedy, is about to show us if he can hold a tune, by playing a young Colin Firth in the new Mamma Mia! sequel.

Last week young actor Jeremy Irvine posted an Instagram photo from the rehearsals of Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again!, in which he plays a young Pierce Brosnan in flashbacks to the character’s past. 

Skinner is among those in the picture, and The Londoner hears that he will play Harry, the rock ’n’ roller who eventually settles down to be the charming banker played by Firth. Up-and-coming actor Josh Dylan is also featured and is thought to be playing Swedish explorer Bill, played in adulthood by Stellan Skarsgård.

If Skinner needs some help, Irvine might be able to provide some advice: he played a young Firth in war drama The Railway Man. We’re sure he’ll be glad they took a chance on him.

Tweet of the Day: 

“Once, the prime minister gave guests at Chequers Pol Roger to drink. Now they get prosecco. This is what our nation has become?”

Food writer  @KateHawkings bemoans the lowering of standards. 

OBSERVATION of the day: after a Twitter user posts the old adage “the road upward and down is one and the same”, Oxford classicist Armand D’Angour replies: “Proving that Heraclitus never rode a bicycle…

Fashion is a family affair for Tala

Babe in Beirut: Amal Clooney’s younger sister, Tala Alamuddin

Is AMAL Clooney’s sister, Tala Alamuddin, set to steal her fashion crown? This weekend, Tala was in Lebanon, almost head-to-toe in pieces from her new design line. They include the fringed earrings, the leather jacket, and the risqué bustier handbag. Amal’s already been seen in some of the items. May as well keep fashion in the family.

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