Londoner's Diary: Queen Helenas dreaming of the old Europe | Diary | News

The Queen has spoken on Brexit well, at least star of The Royals Elizabeth Hurley has. The actress, model, designer and general party-hopper is currently preparing to return to her role as Queen Helena in the tongue-in-cheek series but shes taking a break to remind fans of the benefits of the old, pre-EU Britain. Will Lizs intervention change the tide? How lucky I consider myself to be English and live in England, she writes in a column for the 10th anniversary issue of Spears magazine. I was brought up to think God is an Englishman and Jesus Christ looked like Robert Powell. Ive never felt remotely European and see them as exotic and fabulously foreign. I yearn for the days when my (gorgeous navy blue) passport got stamped when I went anywhere in Europe, and I loved puzzling over fistfuls of Italian lire, French francs and Deutschemarks. It was glamorous and exciting.I have been asked by some important people who care passionately about Great Britain to weigh in on the EU debate. I cant imagine for a second that any voters would be remotely interested in what I have to say so Ive refused but I can tell you this: if it means we can go back to using decent lightbulbs (60-watt, peach-coloured, both bayonet and screw-in) and choose high-powered hairdryers and vacuum cleaners if we so wish, Im joining Brexit for sure.Earlier this year the European Commission paused on plans to ban super-strength appliances, fearing that our love of a good cuppa might cause us to rail against those who took away our kettles. Which should give Hurley a bit more time to consider her stance. And dry her hair.***The Londoner has long enjoyed Boris Johnsons dual role as both mop-haired jester and calculated Bullingdon boy but his man of the people persona has been so prevalent of late that we havent seen his intellectual chops. Not to worry: the Mayor was at Millbank Tower last night for the launch of Tory MEP Daniel Hannans book Why Vote Leave and even gave a speech. Alas, we cant quote him at length: he delivered it primarily in Latin. You can take the boy out of Eton...How could Obama resist Jezza's jam?Yesterdays Times reported that Jeremy Corbyn wasnt sure whether he wanted to meet President Obama on his visit to the UK, to which Jeremy Corbyns team replied that it was complete and total bollocks.Trying to be helpful, The Londoner got in touch with Stewart Wood, who worked with Ed Miliband when he met Obama, to ask for advice. Be yourself, he told us, and bring along a small, pleasant and memorable gift.Given Corbyns well-known anti-imperialist views were not sure telling him to be himself would help cross-Atlantic diplomacy. As for presents, theres an easy option the Labour leader is famous for making jam from fruit he grows on his allotment. And who doesnt love going organic?The Brit Factor is alive in NYCThe Tribeca Film Festival was in full swing in New York last night, with an artists dinner held by Chanel. The programme provides a chance for British talent across the pond to catch up and among those walking the red carpet were Homeland actor Rupert Friend, with fiance Aimee Mullins, and actress Emily Mortimer.The festival has screened more than 1,400 films from more than 80 countries since being establishedin 2002, attractingmore thanfour million attendees. No wonder our best and brightest are getting a bite of the Big Apple.Arty types' questionable behaviourThebattle raged sedately on last nights University Challenge final but there were livelier scenes atthe Arts Club in Mayfair, as heavyweights of the London art scene took part in its annual quiz. Last years event was famously raucous food was thrown and tempers ran high so the evening began with a disclaimer.Lets try to be civil, MC and arts patron Alia Al-Senussi jovially warned participants, pictured,including National Portrait Gallery director Nicholas Cullinan. Were all going to be working together in the future.The Art Quiz 2016 at The Arts Club, courtesy Luke A. WalkerThe questions were, as usual, tough, with one round asking http://Tory-Lane.blogtur.com - Tory Lane - quizzers to guess the favourite crisps of London artists Sarah Lucas likes smoky bacon, Roger Hiorns salt and pepper and Jeremy Deller Marmite while those deemed to be misbehaving were dragged into the naughty corner, in one case kicking and screaming.Christies auction house, meanwhile, was mocked for not competing: When they heard Sothebys were fielding a teamthey ran for the hills, saidSothebys Europes deputy chairman Oliver Barker.Curator Chris Dercon also missed out on the event: he did not return as host after his mischievous turn last year which, Barker joked, cost him his job at Tate Modern.It was all for a good cause, though, with the 2,700 raised going to London arts organisation Gasworks.***ToBrick Lane last night for the Kit Cat Clubstalk titled The Intelligent Womans Guide to Underwear. The panel included Coco de Mer founder Samantha Roddick and Edwina Ehrman, curator of the V&As underwear exhibition. The show includes Queen Victorias smalls but Ehrman said theyre ten a penny. The drawers worn by her mother are rarer and more valuable.Flower power and the EUBlooming Brexiteers have another reason to extol the benefits of leaving the EU: a cheap bouquet. Reports circulated this weekend that Baroness DSouza, Lord Speaker, spent 4,000 on posies for her office. In 2013, she fought to keep parliaments flower contractor Nora Wooll in business after the Government found a new, cheaper contract in accordance with EU restrictions. But judging by the 4,000 DSouza has spent on blooms, are we really getting a better deal?The Londoner called DSouzas office yesterday and asked exactly which type of flowers the Baroness favours. The Baroness chooses a variety of blooms depending on the season, a spokesperson said. And it is 4,000 spread out over five years. Thats probably a weeks worth of orchids for Elton John.Ode of the day from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who has announced that her next work will be dedicated to gas meters. Thou art more lovely and more temperate...