North Londoners, beware: ITV political editor Robert Peston may be singing in a street near you soon. Peston debuted his new band Centrist Dad at a street party in York Rise in Camden yesterday, featuring ex-Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls on drums, with pals John Wilson and Chris Taylor playing bass and guitar.
The group were surprisingly punk, playing Seventies hits including One Way Or Another by Blondie, with Peston, inset above, channelling Debbie Harry, and Anarchy in the UK by The Sex Pistols, in which he crooned “I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist.” Really, Robert? They also played hits by The Clash and The Ramones. “Centrist dad” is shorthand for middle-aged men who yearn for a return to the Nineties. Balls has said they chose the name because all band members are “middle of the road” in their politics and they are all fathers.
The group got the approval of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer when he popped up on stage, left. Despite being something of a Centrist dad himself, Keir opted not to sing. Peston and Balls have become podcasting rivals: Peston presents The Rest Is Money while Balls and George Osborne have launched Political Currency. Could they split over musical similarities?
From sunshine to Sunset Boulevard
When Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger accepted a job on the London stage this autumn, she won’t have expected to do much sun-bathing. The former X Factor judge, who has a mansion in LA, is in rehearsals for Sunset Boulevard in the West End, and managed to make the most of our surprise heatwave.
The show, with musical numbers by Andrew Lloyd Webber, opens later this month at the Savoy Theatre. Scherzinger will be hoping to disprove departing National Theatre boss Rufus Norris, who said musical theatre is not taken as seriously in Britain as it is in the US. At a panel on Friday, he said Americans “understand the form and take it seriously”.
“Not me trying to squeeze in an hour of sun, wearing a bikini in the middle of these London parks out here y’all!” Scherzinger posted. Let’s hope she knows the weather isn’t so nice all the time.
As we saw last week, The Rolling Stones continue to defy the ageing process by flatly refusing to grow old. At their press conference at the Hackney Empire, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood were charming, erudite and extremely quick-witted. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for their long-standing PR boy, Bernard Doherty. Doherty is fast approaching his 75th birthday and appears to be losing the plot somewhat. In the run-up to the release of the Stones’ brilliant new record, “Angry”, he was caught approaching journalists for features who had long since changed jobs. He wrote to one hack suggesting an interview with Jagger, not knowing said journalist hadn’t been at the title for over two years. Oh dear. One wag suggested this would have gone down about as well as cold-calling Vogue and asking to speak with Alexandra Shulman. Could this be the Last Time?
It’s a year since King Charles came to the throne. To mark his coronation, the Standard created this NFT with Apollo Entertainment. It was made by crypto artist Trevor Jones, right, and broke records as it was shared thousands of times. This month, Jones headed to France for a three-day Castle Party at the Château de Vallery, near Paris, raising money for Maggie’s cancer charity. Entertainment came from Grammy-nominated BT and circus acts. Charles himself would approve.