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Londoner’s Diary: Maggi Hambling ‘gift’ shows even great artists still have to earn a living

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Welcome to the last Londoner’s Diary of the week. First up we discover Maggi Hambling is a maverick – right down to the gift giving. Later on, Hugh Schofield, the BBC’s man in France, turned the air blue this morning on the Today programme and Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis has a bone to pick with his father Daniel. In our SW1A today Bob Geldof declares rock and roll is over and politics is at fault.

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Maggi Hambling

/ PA

Maggi Hambling is a maverick — right down to gift giving. The artist once delighted someone she worked with on a sold-out exhibition by saving a painting for them, we hear.

“They came to her house and there was a painting on the mantlepiece, and she said, ‘I’ve saved this one for you’. So, you can imagine they were terribly glad,” a source tells us.

Their joy lasted right up until the moment Hambling, who recently divided critics with her silver, naked, Mary Wollstonecraft sculpture, told them they could have the work — at a discounted price. It was “very, very much more than they would have paid for a painting”, the source tells us, “they are not broke, but at the time they certainly didn’t have a great deal of money”. But it was too awkward to refuse and they bought the piece.

The source, though, defended Hambling, saying she is actually “extraordinarily generous with her time and her work… It just showed her very practical approach that she has to earn a living”. Hambling was approached for a comment.

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Boulton tries out a different news cycle

Adam Boulton

/ Dave Benett

Adam Boulton, who was seen wobbling onto a news report riding a bike yesterday, admits it was the first time he had ridden a Santander hire bicycle. “I do not trust myself to ride a bike in London,” the Sky News man tells us, adding: “I consider it to be too dangerous and I find many of London’s bike riders to be inconsiderate and a risk to the pedestrian.” But he says he broke tradition to “pique the interest” of his viewers. Does a courage in journalism award beckon?

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Daniel’s too cool for son’s liking

Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis

/ Dave Benett

Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis has a bone to pick with his father Daniel. “He’s so effortlessly cool,” the young actor despairs. “It frustrates me, as I put so much thought into what I wear… He’s not much of a fashion guy per se, but his outfits are just cool.” Day-Lewis junior adds he has an eye on some things in particular: “I want my dad’s fisherman knits,” he tells GQ. Perhaps the ultimate grievance: “He manages to make workmen’s boots look fashionable too.” Someone stop this man.

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SW1A

Bob Geldof has declared rock and roll is over and politics is at fault. “Thanks to Brexit all British acts can really no longer tour on the continent,” the Boomtown Rats singer told an event last night. At least, though, the rock and roll spirit lives on, if Geldof’s next words are any proof: “They are so f***ing stupid the… w***ers.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg has revealed an unknown aspect of his personality: he’s a gamer. The Commons leader, usually the antithesis of everything digital, admits his children rope him in to play computer games. “I’m not very good,” he tells Politico’s Westminster Insider. Time to use the rest of lockdown to perfect those skills.

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Not a dedicated follower of fashion

Glenn Close

/ Getty Images

Glenn Close is the subject of a new book on her costumes, but don’t expect much wardrobe love from the woman herself. “I hate shopping,” the star admits in a recent interview. What about dressing up for red carpets? “It is not what I would ever choose to do for fun.” Jewellery? “I… have always thought of myself as an unadorned woman.” She adds: “I’d much rather be spending my energy on something else”. Message received.

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French curbs turn BBC’s man bleu

Hugh Schofield, the BBC’s man in France, turned the air blue this morning on the Today programme when describing the spectre of a third French lockdown. “They’re trying to avoid the word lockdown — or confinement — they’re saying this one will be slightly different,” he told listeners, before adding: “Nonetheless it is a lockdown and we’ll be back with those bloody — sorry, excuse my English — bits of paper again, things you have to show the police when you leave your home.” Martha Kearney stepped in adroitly: “We feel for your frustration. I’m not sure what the French word for that would be”.

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