What’s the story with Talulah Riley? The actor, who married and divorced SpaceX founder Elon Musk twice, was scheduled to release a politics-themed novel in the coming months, but trouble appears to be afoot.
Last year The Londoner reported that Riley was penning The Quickening, a dystopian novel about a female prime minister. “In a time of deep political unrest, a new isolationist Britain is emerging,” the official synopsis read. “Under the leadership of charismatic prime minister Dana Mayer, a one-party government is slowly taking control of everything — creating a regime which seems, at first, idyllic.”
But, just as our real-life Prime Minister, Theresa May, faces a delay and possible demission, so too does Riley’s fictional one. The novel’s official page on publisher Hodder & Stoughton’s website has disappeared, while Amazon no longer lists a release date for the book, writing: “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”
The Londoner contacted Hodder & Stoughton to check up on The Quickening’s progress, only to be told that it is “no longer publishing this book”. It later corrected this. “It is actually happening still,” a source told us when pushed for reasons for the cancellation. “It’s just been pushed back — as is often the case with publishing schedules.”
Riley already has a book under her belt: a romance novel, Acts Of Love, which was released in 2016 and received warm reviews.
She has appeared in the films Pride and Prejudice, St Trinian’s and Inception, as well as modelling — she was one of the faces of H&M’s Autumn/Winter collection in 2018. In 2017, The Londoner revealed that she was in a relationship with Tom Hooper, the Oscar-winning director of Les Misérables and The King’s Speech. At this point, we’re not sure which will come to fruition first: this book or Brexit.
Zombies on parade
“Who should succeed Theresa May?” was the vital question at last night’s “ThinkIn” by Tortoise, the news organisation established by former head of BBC News James Harding. Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos MORI, one of the country’s leading polling companies, was invited to give his expert analysis. “I have absolutely no idea,” he declared to audience laughter.
On Newsnight, political editor Nicholas Watt reported similar confusion among Cabinet members as to why May is bringing back her deal for a vote today. One told him: “F**k knows. I’m past caring. It’s like the Living Dead in here.”
Labour has been advertising for a new head of complaints after long-standing controversies over how allegations of anti-Semitism are handled within the party. But applications close today, only 72 hours after the ad was posted. Cue a barrage of complaints.
Salman Rushdie used to be a frequent sight at Electric House in Notting Hill, but no more. Earlier this week, a patron was overheard asking a fellow regular why they hadn’t seen the Midnight’s Children author around lately. “Well,” they responded, “I haven’t seen him here ever since a punter approached him and said: ‘Oh my God! Are you Salman Rushdie? I’ve got all of your albums.’”
Firth and Ferretti put the world to rights in Fitzrovia
Livia Firth, the sustainable fashion campaigner and wife of actor Colin Firth, kept her cause close to her chest yesterday.
She was at Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals in Fitzrovia for the launch of Alberta Ferretti’s Love Me Collection, a collaboration with Firth’s company Eco Age. Also among the guests was Rosanna Falconer, the founder of Fash Mash who is a co-chair of next week’s Royal Marsden Gala, which is raising funds for the Oak Cancer Centre.
The lunch event was just the beginning of a busy day: Victoria actor Jenna Coleman and presenter Nick Grimshaw were on Sloane Street for a party hosted by Gucci, former ballet dancer Eric Underwood was at My Beautiful City off Charing Cross Road for the launch of the Gentleman’s Journal’s e-commerce site and, across the river, rock progeny Molly Moorish and Tigerlily Taylor toasted the opening of the new Lyaness Bar at the South Bank hotel Sea Containers.
Michael Gove’s former comms aide James Starkie is to join Dominic Raab’s team next week, putting him on a possible collision course with his old boss. Ex-Brexit Secretary Raab, below, has made the hire ahead of an expected tilt at the Tory leadership. Gove, though, is the bookies’ favourite. Starkie quit Gove’s team last year in protest at Theresa May’s deal, but will their “very cordial” relations continue?
As soon as Theresa May announced her resignation plans, Tory campaigns were kicking off. First out of the blocks? “I’m off to join the ABB campaign,” one Tory staffer told The Londoner. ABB? “Anyone but Boris.”
With Brexit Day postponed, Lord Tebbitt — 88 today — may have to rearrange his joint birthday plans with fellow Brexiteer Priti Patel. “I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present,” he said in January. “We might even have a glass together at Westminster to celebrate!” Not anymore.
Steamy Day in LA
Elizabeth Day launched her latest book, How To Fail, at the Groucho last night, having written it in Los Angeles.
“I wrote every day in the sunshine on my friend’s terrace,” she told us, “surrounded by bougainvilleas, being the hideous LA cliché, drinking kombucha and being that smug t*** you never want to meet.”
Day is no stranger to the city: she once travelled there to live like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week. “It involved getting my vagina steamed, which just made me a bit clammy.”
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