Blog: Londoner’s Diary: Rival European festival opens new front in the Brexit wars – Evening Standard


RIVAL to the festival of Brexit is in the works. The organisers tell us the Festival of Europe will “celebrate our European identity” as the Brexit festival, now called Unboxed, gets under way next summer.

But they face a challenge to convince even the staunchest pro-Europeans it will be fun. Femi Oluwole, right, political activist and co-founder of pro-EU group Our Future Our Choice, tells us: “As for a celebration I’d struggle with this… All the things that create that special relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe were effectively severed.”

The Festival of Europe’s crowdfunder has so far raised only £2,510 of its £10,000 target but director Tamsin Shasha says the response from individuals and grassroots organisations has been good. It will feature music, film, theatre and food. Bonne chance.

When Grylls gave up on advice…

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BEAR GRYLLS is a man whose motto is never give up. But it sometimes gets him into trouble. The Londoner bumped into the intrepid adventurer and survivalist at the launch of book Modern English: Todhunter Earle Interiors at Sotheby’s last night. He told us “never give up apart from in arguments about … smoking”. Grylls explained: “When my nephew was aged 16, I said, ‘You’re smoking a lot of cigarettes at the moment’. He goes, ‘You always told me, never give up’.” Crafty.

Gaga’s sympathy for Gucci killer

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LADY GAGA wowed crowds at the premiere of House of Gucci last night, but it was her reflections on her character Patrizia Reggiani that caught the Londoner’s ear. Gaga, left, struck a sympathetic note for Reggiani, saying “she just lost her mind”. Reggiani was convicted in 1998 of arranging the murder of her husband Maurizio Gucci after their marriage deteriorated. “We don’t always commit murder when these things happen,” Gaga added to Clara Amfo in Leicester Square. Quite.

Pick of the parties – Star Wars and Superdry

Dave Benett

GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE and Riz Ahmed partied at a fundraiser for the Sarabande Foundation in King’s Cross last night, though Christie had to perch on a table to be snapped with Ahmed. In Oxford Street, Gene and Lennon Gallagher, Molly Moorish, and Brooklyn Beckham were joined at a Superdry bash by Emma Weymouth and Pixie Lott.

Viewers were left baffled after Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart removed his tie during the second-round debate.


RORY STEWART “thinks all the time” about a return to politics, and says he is tempted to run as an independent in Owen Paterson’s old seat. Stewart, who stood down as an MP in 2019, told a Reaction event last night that Westminster’s “depressing” culture of jeering and slavish loyalty puts him off.

WITH tales of MPs raking in wads of cash from second jobs, spare a thought for those not so in demand. Apart from leader Sir Ed Davey, who has three, the Lib Dems are lagging behind. Of their 11 other MPs, we count an extra income of just over £5,000 this Parliament. Moral or out of fashion?

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