Society Diary: A new leader, a meeting of elephants and hackers rebuked

14 Jun 2019 Voices

"What big ears you have." Charles and Camilla meet Richard Hawkes at the Animal Ball.

Oh reader, what a sad end to the week. Society Diary is mourning the withdrawal of former culture secretary Matt Hancock from the race to be our next prime minister. The creator of the Matt Hancock app broke Diary’s heart this morning by announcing he was stepping aside to spend more time playing cricket in the Arctic. Some things are just not meant to be. If, like Diary, your spirits need lifting, then read on for this week’s charity sector highlights.

All the dirt on Karl

Society Diary would like to add its sincere and heartfelt congratulations to Karl Wilding, currently top policy wonk at NCVO and soon to be head honcho. 

When people are promoted to important positions it is incumbent on the media to scroll back through their tweets in search of evidence of a misspent youth, poor choices or silly opinions. Basically anything you won’t find in the press release. (This why Diary eschews social media, so that one day, when the time is right, Diary will rule the world.) 

Here is what we found. 

Questionable tastes in music. Just a cursory glance reveals that Karl is a big “prog rock” fan. Frankly this is the biggest concern at CSM Towers is that to stamp his personality on the organisation Karl might demand that NCVO events by playing something from his personal collection.  

A fine vintage. While more recent twitterings seem to suggest that Karl spends his weekends running and volunteering, go back a while and he was experimenting with wine-making. Elderflower, mango, dandelion and hawthorn blossom are just some of ingredients he’s worked with for, what we hope is called, Vin de Wild Thing. 

Instant hit. Discovering the following has shocked Diary to the core. On the 27 April 2017 Karl controversially revealed that: “I prefer instant coffee to real coffee. My mum used to make it with evaporated milk and 2 sugars. Lovely.” Maybe it’s a northern thing? Karl has also shared strong opinions on the quality of the tea available in the capital, shaming any that do not meet his exacting standards.


Scandalous we think you’ll agree. Diary is looking forward to the next 25 years and stands ready to continue as a critical friend and gentle troll to any and all brave enough to take on the challenge of leadership. 

Everything in its right place

Hippy miserablist rockers Radiohead won lots of “likes” and retweets this week with an ingenious response to being blackmailed.

Hackers stole 18 hours of unreleased music last week from the band’s recording sessions for classic 1997 album OK Computer.

They demanded the band pay $150,000 or they would release the stolen minidisk archive, which had never been intended for public consumption.

However, instead of bowing to pressure from the hackers, the Oxford band announced on Tuesday that they would release the music themselves with the intention of raising money for a good cause.

Radiohead nerds were asked to pay £18 to climate activists Extinction Rebellion in exchange for a listen to 18 hours of music deemed worse than Fitter Happier.

Legendary guitarist Johnny Greenwood whetted fan’s appetites by saying the unheard stuff was “only tangentially interesting” and “very, very long”.

Well that’s Diary’s Saturday sorted. As for Sunday, Diary plans to tell Radiohead listeners who haven’t sat through the full 18 hours that they are “fake plastic fans” and that they should try listening to Ed Sheeran as it might be more their cup of tea.

What big ears you have

Finally, a shout out to British Asian Trust chief executive Richard Hawkes producing this golden photo of the heir to the throne.

Hawkes caught up with his charity’s founder, the Prince of Wales, at the “Elephant Family Animal Ball”.

And as you can see above, nobody was more entertained by the elephant mask dress code than Charles and Camilla.

Diary greatly approves. After all, what is the point of charity fundraising if not to hang out with the great and the good in fancy dress?


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