MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12
Sir Michael Parkinson threw a fun book launch tonight at Fortnum & Mason, for his new memoir about George Best. Parky, now 83, was on splendid form, proclaiming to a crowd including Sir Tim Rice, Tess Daly and Jamie Redknapp that flawed genius Best was ‘the greatest footballer of them all’.
That’s a matter of hot debate – I personally find it hard to believe anyone has ever played the game better than the world’s two current best players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – but George was indisputably the most fascinating, handsome, intelligent and charismatic of all those in the frame for the title.
Most people, including me, cancelled all social plans and stayed in. Dame Joan Collins is not most people
He was also the most tragic, bedevilled by his alcoholism until it finally killed him.
Unlike Gazza, so often compared to Best on and off the pitch, George never really wanted to be ‘cured’.
He just wanted to be left alone to get drunk.
I met him once, in a London bar at 11pm on New Year’s Eve a few years before he died, and we had a perfectly amiable conversation as I gushed away.
But despite being incredibly patient with all the many fans who came up to him through the night, he only really looked happy when just sitting with his large glass of wine, which he had refilled for hours on end.
That was the life George chose, and he didn’t seek our pity – though the real tragedy, as Parky concludes, is that Best might have been saved from himself by modern football’s far keener attention to players’ personal issues.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13
A survey by car rental firm Budget UK has apparently revealed I am the celebrity with whom people would LEAST like to share a road trip.
I’m so offended… that anyone would think I’d ever set foot in a budget car.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15
I’m in New York for a few days and the city was hit this afternoon by a massive storm that left it paralysed by six inches of snow, horrendous traffic chaos and the usual wall of furious horn-tooting noise that accompanies any such eventualities in the Big Apple.
Most people, including me, cancelled all social plans and stayed in.
Dame Joan Collins is not most people.
I was gently falling into unconsciousness when my hotel room phone rang at 10.45pm.
‘He-llo,’ I groaned, slowly.
‘PIERS! It’s Percy! I’m out with Joan and we want you to come drinking with us!’
‘I can’t,’ I spluttered, ‘I just took a sleeping pill…’
Percy relayed the bad news, which was met with raucous mockery. ‘Joan says you’re a pathetic lightweight!’ chuckled her husband.
The great Dame is 85 years old, and still out-partying me.
Oh the shame.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16
An email arrived from Sharon Osbourne, containing a video party invitation.
I clicked play and viewed a dramatic 60-second mini-movie announcing: ‘They travelled far and wide… over mountain, ocean and desert… in search of one man… to behold the Prince of Darkness… to celebrate Ozzy’s 70th birthday.’ Accompanying images for the bash in Los Angeles next month featured the birthday boy with a blood-soaked tongue, naked in a bath, screaming on stage and guzzling cocktails on the loo.
When the credits rolled, they said: ‘Ozzy Osbourne is 70. Edited by: I’M A IDIOT. Director of Photography: WORTHLESS CHUMP. Costume Designer: F*** OFF. Executive Producer: SOME BUM. Written by: YET ANOTHER IDIOT. Directed by WOTTA W****.’
If this is just the invite, I can’t even imagine what the party will be like.
Unfortunately, I have to present Good Morning Britain in London when it takes place. I’ve never been more upset to decline an invitation in my life.
Happy Birthday, Ozzy (for December 3) – you gloriously brilliant and hilarious lunatic.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17
I’ve been flying around for the past few weeks, so only caught up tonight with a recently aired episode of Have I Got News For You that featured a segment on Bellingcat, the investigative website that’s broken endless scoops about the nefarious activities of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Its founder, Eliot Higgins, showed a commendably laissez-faire attitude when asked if he now fears for his own life: ‘If a black van pulls up and four Russian guys leap out,’ he said, ‘there’s not a lot I can do about it, so I try not to worry about it too much.’
HIGNFY offered some hope to Higgins by explaining that Russian intelligence chiefs have admitted having ‘a problem with the professionalism of our recruits’.
Host Alexander Armstrong said: ‘So if there are any Russian hitmen watching, Eliot, we can reveal, looks like this…’
A photograph of me appeared on screen.
The audience roared, and the panel chortled, especially BBC Breakfast presenter Naga ‘marshmallows wouldn’t melt in my mouth’ Munchetty, who pleaded: ‘Do you want to leave that photograph up just a little bit longer in case anyone missed it?’
I know GMB’s surging ratings have severely rattled my BBC rivals, but wishing me to be ‘accidentally’ murdered by confused novichok-armed Russian agents seems a slight over-reaction.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Susanna Reid declared today that if Crystal Palace – whose chairman, Steve Parish, is her new boyfriend – win the Premier League she will pull a Lineker and present GMB in her underwear.
Palace are currently 1,000-1 to win the League, meaning they are five times more likely to do it than Leicester City were when they won the title two years ago.
And I think it’s safe to assume they will now have even more of the country rooting for them. Come on you Eagles!