Boris Johnson is on a whirlwind tour of America, “the country of my birth”. In Dallas yesterday the former Prime Minister told a group of Texan Republicans that “wild horses couldn’t keep me away” from the US.
Johnson was born in New York, and told of his regret at having to give up his citizenship to avoid US taxes. He also posted this picture from a visit to ex-president George W. Bush, saying they had a “productive discussion” about the war in Ukraine. He hasn’t always praised Bush, once calling him “a cross-eyed Texan warmonger”. People change.
His next stop is Las Vegas, where Politico reports he will get a six-figure sum for a speech. A stab at the presidency next?
Is the Duke’s pub reign over?
Could it be the end for the unfortunate paintings of Prince Andrew which still adorn the Duke of York pub in Fitzrovia? The boozer, which declined to change its name or signage despite Andy’s spectacular fall from grace in recent years, has applied to make its upper floors, including a function room, into flats. Shaftesbury Capital, who own the site, recently got permission to do the same at the nearby Wheatsheaf, once a bolthole for Oscar Wilde. CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, have objected, saying it could be a step towards the Duke of York closing entirely. If it gets the go ahead, perhaps the sign will finally head into storage.
A toast to Karl Lagerfeld’s extraordinary life
It’s Karl Lagerfeld season this spring: the fashion icon, who died in 2019, was celebrated at the Met Gala, and is subject of a new BBC doc. Last night writer William Middleton spoke about his Karl biography, Paradise Now, in Camden as part of Geist Talks, a literary salon founded by Sara Sjölund and Lillie Rage. Middleton told how Lagerfeld only took up drawing when his mother told him playing piano was too noisy. Music’s loss was fashion’s gain.
Competition between the high street coffee chains seems to be extending beyond the quality of their flat whites — Caffè Nero has just announced it is launching a new set of book awards. It is taking over from Costa, which scrapped its own awards, formerly known as the Whitbreads, last year. The Nero Book Awards 2023 open for entries in next month. What next, the Pret Prize?
Johnny Depp was on stage at the Royal Albert Hall last night for a tribute to his old pal, guitarist Jeff Beck, who died in January. Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Ronnie Wood also performed. Depp, who was snapped having a drink with Beck last year during his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, called it a “beautiful turnout”. Elsewhere, the Chelsea Flower Show opened yesterday, and journalist Fiona Bruce was in Horatio’s Garden, a space organised by the spinal injury charity. Aristo twins Eliza and Amelia Spencer were also out inspecting the beds.