John Gibson: Always in the pink for Dame Barbara

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Well read? Me? I’d never dare claim so. Barbara Cartland produced 723 novels and I’ve never read one. And I should be ashamed to say so. I must be the only living soul who hasn’t read Dame Barbara in a lifetime.

Translated into 38 languages. No wonder she was forever in the pink, her consistently publicised favourite colour. And yes, she was pink-garbed when we met.

Ever the romantic, Babs’ tales were never torrid, raunchy enough for me. Raunchy? The word never existed in her vocabulary. Come to think of it, how could she tolerate me for that interview?

Good news for her legions of fans. Over a hundred of her unpublished manuscripts are destined for publication, a sort of drip-feed, masterminded by her son, Ian McCorquodale.

Proud of his mum. Died in 2000 at 98. And eternally proud to inherit those manuscripts to remember her by, you’d imagine.

Cut the small talk

Vivaldi and Villa supporter Nigel Kennedy, painstakingly unshaven and dishevelled, is the star of Last Night of the Proms on telly this weekend. He cuts his own hair. Obviously. “Because it’s cheap and that way I don’t have to listen to some stupid small talk.”