Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Odds and ends

I have to go to a funeral later this morning so time is short.

Booktrade.info carries an announcement that Lady Colin Campbell has a new book out soon: The Real Diana, to be published by Arcadia Books, 6 December. And yes, it is about that Diana -- the one whose voice can currently be heard on American television, waffling about her infrequent and unsatisfactory sex with Charles, if today's Times is to be believed.

If the new book is anything like that author's The Royal Marriages it should be hot stuff. The Royal Marriages made Kitty Kelley's opus look a bit tame, in my view. Campbell maintained, through various not so subtle hints and nudges, that at least two of the Queen's children were fathered by someone other than her husband. And there was lots more in the same vein.

In The Real Diana Campbell will reveal (or allege, according to your taste) that Diana had an abortion while married to Charles, and had flings with King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Earl of Pembroke. What with that and falling in love with her bodyguard (today's Times again), the girl certainly seems to have got around.

And if you're wondering how Lady Colin Campbell comes to have such an odd name, I can tell you that it's because she married a British aristocrat, Lord Colin Campbell, and takes the name from him. They are now divorced. I can also tell you, though you may not wish to know, that the lady was born in Jamaica with some serious genital malformations (fused labia and deformed clitoris), and was brought up as a boy. Later surgery enabled her to have normal sexual relations as a female, though she cannot have children. Lady Colin has herself told this story in some detail.

The only other thing I have time for today is to point you to an article in the Guardian about the annual English nonsense about 'Books of the Year'. Pretty much every major newspaper and literary magazine invites a team of well-known names to give the titles of their three favourite books of the year. Not surprisingly, this leads to an enormous amount of mutual back-scratching and 'you plug mine and I'll plug yours' type of thing. No one in their right mind takes the slightest notice of it. But the Guardian reveals that the annual pantomime continues because it provides pages of almost free copy! The contributors either get a very modest fee or a bottle of wine. No wonder they use the opportunity to mention their own and their friends' books.

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