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Society Diary: Sandwich anarchy, a metaphorical pier and rhubarb

22 Mar 2019 Voices

Hastings Pier

Alex de Rijke

Happy Friday dear readers! You’re looking great, I must say. Now before we begin, Society Diary would just like to make clear to any readers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs that “Society Diary” is actually a character played by Society Diary. While this might not appear to make any obvious sense, the important thing to remember is that neither of us owes you any tax.

Big Sarnie

This week, thanks to Stand Up to Cancer, the fundraising campaign run by Cancer Research UK, two of Diary’s favourite things were brought together – grime star Big Narstie and the Great British Bake Off. For those who haven’t seen him in action, Big Narstie is one of the only anarchic personalities on TV, playing by his own rules to the confusion of whoever’s show he is appearing on. Even on his own Big Narstie Show, the grime star sits in his armchair and says whatever thoughts come into his head while co-presenter Mo Gilligan works overtime to keep the programme hanging together. 

And on Celebrity Bake Off this week, Big Narstie did not disappoint. In the first round, he made dog poo cookies, which despite not looking appetising, Prue "Prue Dog" Leith said tasted "delicious". In the second round he ignored the instructions to make six pork pies and instead baked two big “rasta pies”, which were so spicy they nearly made Paul Hollywood cry. Narstie’s finest moment, though, was when he casually ate a beautifully presented sandwich he had magically produced from under his work station between rounds. You would have thought a baking programme would have provided enough food without guests having to bring their own snacks, to be fair.

And Narstie did all this while feeling under the weather – he left due to illness before the final round, leaving Sandi “Little Narstie” Toksvig to show off her baking skills in his place.

No pier is better than a bad pier

This week, it was announced that the reopening of Hastings Pier, rebuilt with £14m of charity money, would be delayed until May, having initially being slated to reopen at the end of March.

Local MP, and work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd said it would be unacceptable if the pier were to remain closed “indefinitely” and that she could not support any scenario where this would be the case.

While bad news for Hastings residents, many of which had chipped in to pay for the pier’s rebuilding, many observers read Rudd’s response as a spoof of this week’s Brexit negotiations.

Which will we see first, readers, the UK successfully withdrawn from the European Union or a seaside pier back in operation? Diary had a lovely time visiting Hastings Pier before it was shut down for repairs last year but it is now questioning whether this actually happened. Perhaps the pro-pier campaigners tricked Diary into believing in the importance of reopening a pier that in reality has turned out to be merely “a disappointed bridge”. 

Nevertheless, Tottenham Hotspur must be happy that their heavily-delayed stadium, now set to finally open next month, has been replaced by a new Brexit metaphor.

Garden gifts for Mims

Mims Davies, minister for charities, sport, loneliness, youth, children and odds and ends, was this week overheard declaring that “volunteers are my favourite people”. Not a particularly controversial statement, but Diary’s sure it won’t take long for this to degenerate into a twitter row about paid trustees. Just remember people it is Friday, it’s nearly the weekend and nobody, repeat nobody, asked to have this debate again. 

Anyway Diary thinks it knows why the minister is such a big fan of volunteers – just look at the haul of fruit and vegetables she got when she visited Spitalfields City Farm. 

Vital supplies of rhubarb, leeks and parsnips will surely come in handy when we crash out of the EU [insert latest likely date] and food stocks are cut off. 

Diary’s Civil Society journalist colleagues never get sent any free stuff but they are not jealous. Not at all. Not one teeny, tiny bit. 

But if you were thinking of sending something to the underfed journalists at Civil Society Towers, could you perhaps make it a kebab? Thanks.


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