Thursday, April 15, 2021
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Londoner’s Diary: No frieze in relations with Boris Johnson… George Clooney repeats call for marbles’ return

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Welcome to the final Londoner’s Diary of the week. First up, George Clooney doubles down on his claim that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens. Also today, Alice Cooper hits back at Gene Simmons’s claim that “rock and roll is dead” and we learn Bosco the sausage dog may be turning his paw to activism. And in our SW1A Sian Berry tells us how she’s preparing to deal with the more unsavoury London mayoral candidates.

Live updates

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Amal and George Clooney

/ Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

George Clooney has said that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens, risking another clash with Boris Johnson.

Clooney wrote to campaigner Dame Janet Suzman, who claims he said “the Parthenon Sculptures must be returned to their original owner”.

In 2014, when Clooney said returning them was “the right thing to do”, Boris Johnson compared him to Hitler. Johnson, then foreign secretary, said Clooney was “advocating nothing less than the Hitlerian agenda for London’s cultural treasures”.

Last December Clooney admitted in an interview: “It still makes me laugh. Bit of a stretch.”

Dame Janet, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, told the Art Newspaper that Clooney wrote to her saying: “There are a lot of historical artefacts that should be returned to their original owners, but none more important than the Parthenon Marbles.” Clooney’s wife Amal has acted for the Greek government as they sought the return of the marbles.

Clooney’s representatives were approached for comment. Will we be seeing Johnson vs Clooney round two?

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SW1A

Sian Berry

/ Getty Images

Green London mayoral candidate Sian Berry says she’s not intimidated by any new entrants to the race, including actor Laurence Fox, but hopes she doesn’t have to stand next to the more “distasteful” candidates during the count. She recalled standing next to a Britain First member in a previous year and tells us she’s now prepared: “I’ll be practising some hand gestures.”

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SW1A

Rishi Sunak knows how to have a good time. “I’m very bad on sugar… I have a cinnamon bun in the morning, chocolate chip muffins for breakfast, cookies and cake in the afternoon,” the Leave-backing Chancellor tells the Westminster Insider podcast. Add in his cured Coke addiction (one can a week now) and that’s what you call a Bad Boy of Brexit.

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Pair set up Meghan helpline

Meghan Markle

/ Getty Images

Hallelujah! Mark Humphries and Evan Williams, a pair of Australians, say they’ve set up a Meghan Markle helpline. It’s for middle-aged men who have an “embarrassing problem” — they have “formed a strong negative opinion about a woman whose life doesn’t even affect” them. The two proclaim: “If you’ve got a ridiculous opinion about Meghan Markle, our helpline workers are bravely standing by ready to endure your take, so others don’t have to.” The only fly in the ointment, the satirists concede, is that it’s “a made-up helpline for a made-up problem”. We can think of some it might help…

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Bosco set to be big-stick diplomat

Bosco, a sausage dog who has found online fame through his love of playing with massive sticks on Hampstead Heath, might be turning his paw to activism. After attracting attention from Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston and Elon Musk, owner Luccia Rodriguez tells the Ham&High that Bosco may become an environmentalist: “We love animal activism and he loves being in nature.” He can follow Teddy Roosevelt’s advice on diplomacy: Speak softly and carry a very big stick.

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‘US sees Britain as backward on race’

David Harewood

/ Dave Benett

David Harewood says he was “really baffled” after speaking to equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, who he claims “doesn’t acknowledge” systemic racism. “As far as she’s concerned it doesn’t exist or it’s not an issue. Wow. Wow,” he told the Full Disclosure podcast. Badenoch has said “It is not the skin colour that causes the problem, it is the underlying risks”. The Homeland actor added that America saw Britain as a “backward place” on discussions about race.

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Bosco set to be big-stick diplomat

Bosco, a sausage dog who has found online fame through his love of playing with massive sticks on Hampstead Heath, might be turning his paw to activism. After attracting attention from Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston and Elon Musk, owner Luccia Rodriguez tells the Ham&High that Bosco may become an environmentalist: “We love animal activism and he loves being in nature.” He can follow Teddy Roosevelt’s advice on diplomacy: Speak softly and carry a very big stick.

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Garage rock ‘alive and well in capital’

Alice Cooper

/ Getty Images

Alice Cooper has hit back at Gene Simmons’s claim that “rock and roll is dead” with a guarantee that it is thriving in garages across London. “I would like him to do my taxes, you know, because he’s a businessman and business-wise that’s valid,” Cooper says of Kiss singer Simmons, but adds, “right now in London somewhere, in garages, they’re learning Aerosmith, they’re learning Guns N’ Roses, [a] bunch of 18-year-old kids in there with guitars and drums and they are learning hard rock.” The School’s Out singer told NME being outside the mainstream “gives us that outlaw attitude”.

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