Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Metal ears

It's good to know that former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale was able to enjoy the good things of life in the run up to production of the BBC White Paper.

In the three months to the end of March, he enjoyed free tickets to the LSO, Cirque De Soleil, the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, a Russian Royal Gala, a Russian Ballet Icons performance, the Magic Flute, Cheltenham races, the Brit Awards, Motown the Musical, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Batman v Superman. Most times when he had two tickets, he was accompanied by "spouse, family member or friend"; at the Simon Bolivar performance, there were two tickets but presumably one was taken by someone John didn't really know.

He squeezed in lunches with Tom Brady and Allegra Stratton of ITN (separately); Sarah Baxter of the Sunday Times; Beth Rigby, then with The Times; Patrick Foster of The Telegraph; Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun; muso and arts consultant Rob Dickins; adviser and Getty Images boss Dawn Airey; and a dinner with BBC DG Lord Hall.

Iron Maiden's management gave Big John a branded set of Onkyo headphones, and because they were worth more than the permitted £140, John gave a donation for the balance to charity.

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